The #1 thing you must do before you brand

#1 thing your brand needs now

Before you start taking photos, before you plan products & before you have a logo, you need to develop a brand mood board.  

...Ok, maybe this is actually the 2nd step.  First you need to brainstorm what your brand is about, have a niche & idea, and know your brand's function (but these aren't visual...yet).  

What you're thinking: So... you want me to collage some things in Photoshop?  YES! But not so much collage as curate!  A mood board is the lifeline of your brand.  It will help you build visual strategies to convey your brand's attitude & style.  Every other part of your branding process will be a reflection or adaptation of your board.  So let's look at HOW to make this essential piece of your brand identity.


The first step is to build a large collection of images that have personality & colors that resonate with the attitude you want your brand to have.  Just because you love chocolate ice cream & a good latte doesn't mean you need to include images of them... follow the attitude, not always the subject matter.  


Distill this list into a CURATED collection of images.  You can change the background of your board if it helps you feel the right attitude.  Crop images in to mute distractions.  Consider if you want to use organic shapes for trimming your images or geometric, angular shapes.  

UMMMM... You don't need to do this in Photoshop or some fancy program.  Get out the damn scissors & start flipping though magazines, print images from the computer & buy a foam board like it's the science fair at school.  You got this.  


Once your board feels complete, stand back & look at it as a whole.  Ask yourself: Does is have personality?  Does it have a personality disorder?  Split personality?  Take a day & walk away. Revisit your board again & ask yourself the same questions.  

Feel good about your brand attitude?  YAY!  Let's keep going! 


Squint your eyes & look for repetitions.  Look at shapes, colors, patters.  Are there shades of blues or pinks that are present in several images?  Make notes of the overall feel of the colors- light & bright, muted, airy, moody, or perhaps rich.

Look up close for details.  As I mentioned before, not all of the subjects in the photos will be important.  In the branding for FLOR, you can see a chair.  Obviously a floral company gives no fucks about furniture, but they are interested in the vintage detailing, luxurious feel of velvets & the dark charcoal against the metallic gold.  


BOOM!   Once you notice these details, you are starting to build a brand style.  In a notebook write down your observations.  These will help you develop your overall visual identity.  Your gut chose these images because they resonated with your brand's personality.  Now you need to decide How these elements are responding to each other, how they make a personality & how you can replicate it.  


Make better design choices & build your brand, business or blog.  I'd love to see your mood boards!  Link them below :)


MOOD board template!

Want more advice for building your brand in a meaningful & stunning way?  Ready to stop being frustrated & attract your dream audience.  Join other brand & blog bosses in the DIY Design Studio.


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