Today we’re kicking off Evernote’s Creative Series, a collection of posts about creative uses for Evernote and the creative people behind them. Recently, we learned that lots of people use Evernote to create mood boards, which got us thinking…what the heck’s a mood board? Luckily, Julie Gomoll was kind enough to explain and show off her process.
|Name: Julie Gomoll
Profession: Designer, Entrepreneur, Marketing Strategist
Blog: Jules Says
When dealing with a client, how does one elicit the kind of presence they want to convey? Sure, there are plenty of questions you can ask to learn about their company, their products and services, and their culture. You can encourage them to point you to websites and brochures and business cards they find appealing. Even so, it’s really easy to head down the wrong path, and spend hours or days or weeks on some design work that falls flat with the client.
What exactly is a mood board?
Mood boards are a great way to get you and your client on the same page early on. They’re especially great when you’re starting from scratch on a design package for a new company, or reinventing the image of an existing one. The idea of a mood board is to create an emotional scenario that’s congruent with what your client wants — sort of an ambience collage. It’s photographs, illustrations, screenshots, color swatches, words, shapes: whatever conveys the feel of your design plan. There’s no “right” final presentation for a mood board. It can be a big poster, a .pdf or even a video (I’ve never actually seen a video mood board, but why not?).
Evernote and mood boards
For me, Evernote provided the perfect starting point for my most recent mood board. I’m working with Berkeley Bionics on a complete marketing package: everything from a new corporate ID and website to signage to social marketing. They’re a high tech company (they make exoskeletons — how cool is that?) based in Berkeley, and I’m in Austin, so everything I do for them needs to be presentable in digital form.
Basically, I was starting from scratch. I knew they wanted a new, cutting-edge image, but of course that means different things to different people. And it’s very easy to end up with a cliche design. So I started first with a mood board.
I started a new notebook in Evernote with the client’s name, and clipped everything I ran across that was relevant. Everything. Logos I liked, promising color schemes (included a few I created), creative website designs, stock photos, words. I immersed myself in their industry, looked at the competition, and examined their audience. And I looked outside their industry to other companies who were making people’s lives better. I didn’t edit myself at all. If something clicked, I put it in the notebook.
After a while, I had a pretty hefty notebook. Time to cull. I started thinking about the words and messaging we would be creating, and removed the clips that didn’t fit. I put all the competitor clips into a separate notebook for reference later. If I were presenting the mood board in person, I’d have printed everything out and made a giant poster. But they’re in California and I’m in Texas, so I made a big collage using Adobe Fireworks. I added the words myself. I then made a .pdf of the whole thing.
Even though you’re trying to create an overall sense of direction with a mood board, you’ll find your client is likely to like some parts of it and dislike others. This is absolutely fine. It’s great, in fact, because it helps you narrow down your direction. For example, your client might particularly like one of the website screenshots. There’s nothing wrong with taking that design and making it your own, providing it can accommodate your functionality plans.
The new Berkeley Bionics corporate ID and website is actually done, but isn’t public yet. Ultimately, I used quite a few elements from this board. I’m really eager to show it off:
For me, doing mood boards for big design/redesign projects isn’t an option. It’s a necessity. It’s part of doing the job right, a job made easier with the help of Evernote.