I get often asked what makes a mood board a strategic tool, and I’d like to share today three key assets for strategic moodboarding. Let me start by saying that the technique is used more intuitively most of the time, which is great to get your creative juices flowing. And there is nothing I want to change about that. However, many years of teaching and presenting mood boards myself have shown that working additionally with a first analysis and a proper translation work wonders when delivering projects and engaging with clients.
Mood board created for Grohe to show elements of their Essence faucet line. Sanctum Sanctorum corresponds to a tailor-made trend report we developed previously for the client.
So let me put the strategic part in a few bullet points starting with a mindset shift:
1// Think of a mood board as a haptic tool that starts and guides a dialogue
We live in a moment where creating experiences is the best way to engage memorably. Stay away from more ppt presentations; your client sees enough already. To have a fruitful conversation about the work you present on your board, it should be
appealing (visually impactful and/or balanced)
crystal clear in its message
The best that can happen to you is when your audience starts touching the elements on your board to feel the texture. This is reason number 1 why you are doing a haptic and not a digital board. The sensory stimulation is different, and so is the viewer’s answer who will be grateful for a more thoughtful presentation.
2// Know what your client needs you to solve
Your board gives a visual impression of a non-produced collection or any project that is yet to come. You are selling a vision. Many mistakes are made when the mood board creator believes this is a pretty presentation of color and materials to show off their creativity.
Instead, think of how you can solve your clients’ issues; what do they need to see on the board? What challenges are you answering to? And in the first place, did you understand the briefing and connect with their concerns?”- Gudy Herder
This is also an excellent method to answer the fact that not everybody has the ability to visualize a project before it is done.
2D or 3D visualizations are great though the haptic part missing. It can be interesting to include a plan or map on your mood board with extra information on the scale, etc.
3// Translate your clients’ issues
Once you have a clear perception of point 2. , think about the solution you can offer. And only then, and not before, translate these solutions in images, textures, colors, and text.
By sticking to this process, you will always have an answer to your client’s questions or arguments because the entire process is well-thought and studied. That doesn’t mean that you will still get the visual part right from the beginning, but the structure behind it is solid, and you have arguments why you chose this or that material.
You want to avoid answering the question of ‘why did you pick these textures’, with “I thought they looked good on the board and fit in the overall composition.”
If you’ve done the first part of the analysis, you are much better off than starting from the gut feeling and stay only there. There are always exceptions to the rule, but if you want to feel more confident during your mood board presentation, I recommend this process.
The mood board masterclass I teach in Barcelona has been translated into a complete online course based on six years of working with creative individuals who come from a wide array of disciplines and with design and marketing teams in corporate environments. If you’d like to learn more about the program, please have a look.