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How to create your brand mood board in Photoshop and Illustrator

By March 27, 2019September 6th, 2019Branding, Design

In today’s post, I’m going to share with you my mood board creation process. First, you’re going to learn about the steps I do to choose the right images for my mood boards. Next come 2 videos, where I’m going to show you how to build your brand mood board in Photoshop or Illustrator. 

This post also comes with a set of mood board templates (in both Photoshop and Illustrator versions). These will help you in case you want to save time and use my tried and fine-tuned mood board setups. You’ll only have to insert your own images – which steps I also show in the video tutorials. So let’s dive in! 

How to create your brand mood board using Photoshop or Illustrator


I create mood boards for two different type of projects. The first one is when I work on a custom branding for a client. The second one is when I design a new product collection for my Creative Market shop

This means that you’ll also be able to apply mood boards multiple times in your work, not just when you design your brand identity. Mood boards can also help you when you work on a new physical or digital product or even a service. In a nutshell: mood boards are always helpful when you want to define a specific mood for what you are launching because they will help you to stay consistently in that mood and style. 


The first thing you must do is to review your creative brief – or any project starting document that defines your objectives.  

You must have this information to start your mood board: 

  • Your core business valuese.g. honesty, high-quality, etc. 
  • All the adjectives that refers to your envisioned brande.g. sustainable, luxurious, elegant, smart, empowering 
  • All the design preferences you might have already definede.g. specific colors and fonts you’d like to use or would like to avoid 
  • Other brands that you admireI prefer to stay away from competitor brands because you don’t want to look exactly like them. Look at brands from other industries instead 
  • How you envision your ideal customerif you haven’t defined her yet, here’s a free workbook that helps you do so 
  • The positive effects that your brand / product / project brings into our world: we’ll try to find images that reflect these effects 


Next up, I usually go to Pinterest and create a secret board for my design project. This is where I collect all the images that fits the above information collected from the creative brief. 

I collect the images based on the 8 key categories I defined in my previous post: 

  • Images that inspire my color palette 
  • Images that inspire my logo style (if you are creating the mood board for a product development project, then any images that inspire the look of that product) 
  • Images that inspire the graphic elements of the brand (illustrations, patterns, photography) 
  • Images that inspire the typography 
  • Images that reflect the core values of the brand 
  • Images that reflect the ideal customer 
  • Images that reflect the effect the brand or product will bring 
  • Images that inspire how the brand will be present in different environments: on packaging, in stores, on the website, on social media, etc. 

Leave enough time for collecting inspiration for your mood board. This isn’t a process that you can do within a day – at least not in a way that will be useful for the long run. 

Instead, keep your eyes open, visit some inspiring places (I usually go to my favorite craft and home décor stores) and build up your Pinterest board gradually.  

For me it takes a week to build one for client branding projects. And leave more time when I plan the mood and design of my product collections. For example, if I plan to launch a product in the summer, I collect mood board and design assets during the winter and create the product during spring.  

This is something that I learnt in my corporate jobs, where August was the last time to send packaging designs to the manufacturer for our holiday product line. Which also meant that I had to get into full Christmas mood during the midst of summer – I was grateful for the combination of pine scented candles, Christmas carols and some amazing holiday themed Pinterest boards. 


Soon, you’ll likely have hundreds of images on your Pinterest board. Now you have to collect the best ones to go on your final mood board. 

Try to choose those images that fit well color wise. You don’t need too many of them. I usually include 8-12 images on my mood boards.  





As I showed in the video, you can export to many different formats, but jpeg and png are the best. Then it’s up to you where you want to share your mood board: social media, inside your team or print it and frame it for your office wall. 

Next up we are going to learn about logos and discover if there are cheap ways to get your first logo when you have just started your business – so stay tuned! 😉 

How to create your brand mood board using Photoshop or Illustrator

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