A step-by-step guide to creating an advertising mood board and why you need it

September 2, 2022 Written by Abby Kury

Image: Freepik

It would be an understatement to say advertising is a competitive industry. Everyone is out there trying to push the most creative and most impressionable advertisement to grab attention.

It is especially unhelpful that we live in an era where the attention span of an average person is less than 30 seconds. When you are in such a race, a good strategy is crucial – and this is where advertising mood boards come in.

What is an advertising mood board?

An advertising mood board is a collage of visual elements which include images, typography, and colours that sets a creative direction (which can be the centrepiece of a successful advertising campaign).

In theory, it all sounds great, but actually coming up with a mood board can be a messy affair – more so if you want your advertising mood board to fit all kinds of ad campaigns across various platforms. Moreover, an advertising mood board helps to keep the brand direction consistent while staying focused on the advertising objectives.

There are two ways to go about creating your advertising board:

  • You can go old-school (literally) by going through some magazines, newspapers and other physical visuals that you can cut and paste on your mood board. In fact, you could also Google some images and print them out to stick them on a physical poster board.
  • Put together a digital mood board using Canva, PowerPoint or Pinterest, as these platforms have a wide library of images to inspire your creativity and even some templates to help you get started.

The advertising mood board should essentially be easy to understand across a variety of stakeholders (i.e. your team, the other agency or even the client). A well-known industry rule when it comes to creating any kind of presentation material is that it should be understood within 8 seconds. At a glance, people should be able to understand the look, feel and essence that brings the advertising campaign to life.

Using Canva to create an advertising mood board

To get started, here are a few templates that you can use from Canva.

●      Grey Minimalist Photo Collage

image 2If earthy hues fit the aesthetic of your jewelry, make-up or skincare brand then you definitely want to try this template.

●      Beige Minimalist Candle Decoration Mood Board Instagram Story

image 3Now, this is an advertising mood board with important details such as the Hex Colour Code and keywords to help establish the vibe of the advertising mood board.

●      Beige Minimalist Mood Board Instagram Story

image 4You can also use the advertising mood board to establish the textures that add to the feel of the advertisement. This is a template to let your imagination run wild but still stay on a clear course.

Using Pinterest to create an advertising mood board

Pinterest is an image-sharing and social media service that offers a user-friendly interface that is perfect for creating any kind of advertising mood board. To get started, you will need to create an account.

Once an account is created, you can use the search feature on the top of the website to search for relevant images by using keywords.

image 5 A screenshot image of a keyword search for “beach” on Pinterest

You can then create boards to specify the name and direction of each advertising board. The benefit of using Pinterest is that the page margins will not limit you in putting in as many inspiring images, typography, vectors, etc as compared to PowerPoint or Canva.

image 6 A screenshot of the Pinterest interface

What’s more, you can even choose to share the board or invite collaborators.

Strategising your advertising mood board

●     Define your audience

There are a lot of questions to be asked in determining the important keywords, the emotion and the tone of the advertisement based on the profiling of the audience. Here are some helpful questions that can serve as a guideline:

  • What are the three words best associated with your target audience?
  • What are their desires and interests?
  • What do they value most?

●     Decide on your advertising mood board format

Based on the answers you have regarding your target audience, it’s important to establish an organised format for your advertising mood board. Whether your audience engages in simple fonts and loud colour hues or a focus on texture over photography elements, format your advertising mood board accordingly.

How do you find what you need for your advertising mood board?

●     Fonts and typography

Typewolf - The website contains typefaces from all types of foundries. You can discover the most popular font in a wide variety of categories.

Typeinspiration - Besides access to fonts, the website also offers colour palette combinations that you can freely use in your own design.

Type Hunting - If you are looking for something focused on a more vintage theme then Type Hunting is the site for you. All the typography is personally curated and photographed by Jonathan Lawrence.

●     Colour Palette

Coolors - The website offers thousands of beautiful colour schemes and you can even upload pictures so the website can generate the colour palettes from there.

Colorhunt - Explore a vast library of colour schemes and choose the best combination for your advertising mood board.

Picular - If you have specific elements such as coffee, beach or space to describe your advertising mood board, this website helps you save some time in figuring out the colour codes relating to the keywords.

●     Images

Unsplash - With an impressive library of hundreds of thousands of images which are contributed from a worldwide community, it’s a powerful tool to use to find visual elements to add to your advertising mood board.

StockSnap.io - Whether it is business, travel, beach, people, summer, etc, StockSnap has plenty of images which are added daily. Plus, it’s free from copyright restrictions which gives your advertising mood board more mileage.

Pexels -  Access thousands of beautiful images that can invoke emotion to your advertising mood board on Pexels.

●     Other great resources

Magic Mock-ups - Expand on your advertising mood board by experimenting with the look and feel across multiple devices or materials based on your advertising needs.

Designinspiration - Trigger your creativity by exploring creative designs from global designers.

Behance - Get your dose of digital art inspiration from the most globally recognised creative website.

Advertising mood board samples

image 7 Image: Creative Bloq

“Proud, authentic and warm” are the words used to describe Glenfiddich’s ad campaign which is aimed at a very specific whisky drinker. This is a comprehensive mood board with colours, imagery, typography and copy which helps create a clear direction for the advertising campaign.

image 8 Image: Dribble

The theme of this ad mood board focuses on minimalism and a straightforward creative direction. The ad mood board mainly focuses on digital platforms (website and app)

Why should you go through all the hassle of making an advertising mood board?

  1. Safeguard your time and effort

Trying to navigate an advertising campaign without an advertising mood board will be like going to the jungle without a compass. You will spend a lot of time in redundant discussions and revisions, and end up still unhappy about the end result.

  1. Everyone is clear about the design process

Advertising mood boards are a great way to describe your idea and arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing way. It helps in making sure everyone is aligned to produce consistent advertisements even if they are repurposed for different materials or platforms.

  1. Build a relationship with the client

When dealing with the subjectivity of design, an advertising mood board is a great help in aligning your vision with the clients’.

An advertising mood board is also a smart way of showcasing your understanding of the client's needs and objectives.

  1. You can let your imagination go wild

 When you populate your advertising mood board, you are also accounting for creating something unique that is still on brand. By using the advertising mood board as a discussion point, you can expand on your concept and discuss with your client if it meets the main objective of the advertising campaign.

Although, there is a better way…

Of course, an advertising mood board is great if you have a few weeks to spare to figure it out and go through many alignment discussions.

If you do not have the time to spare and want to focus on what you specialise in, you can leave it to the experts at Brandripe whose experience with thousands of advertising designs will save you all the hassle.

You don’t even have to commit to a binding contract and just pay as you use. With fixed monthly pricing and scope of work, you will be making the best financial decision for your company.

We have partnered with brands like Allianz, Zalora, GSC, BOH, MR DIY and at least 100 SMEs, agencies, marketing teams and startups. After processing over 10,000 designs, it’s safe to say that your creative needs will be in safe hands.

If you are interested in hearing more about what Brandripe can do for your brand – such as creating an advertising mood board for you – you can contact us by setting a 15-minute VIP Demo Call with us.

During the call, we will discuss your business needs and our process on how we can make that happen for you. If you have questions, feel free to email us at hi@brandripe.com or ping us via the Chat toggle on our main page to speak to us today!


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