When you’re suddenly staring down a Canva template and scrolling through a bunch of photos of people smiling into their coffee, the whole process can get a little questionable and downright hopeless.
The proof is in these actual comments I’ve gotten from other creatives and entrepreneurs who were fighting their way through a brand refresh and making mood boards.
If you’re doing a DIY brand refresh or sourcing new content for your website and social accounts, try creating a concept board where you intentionally lay out the strategy behind each design choice you’re facing – colors, fonts, photos, and design.
Below is a concept board I created for a client this year. I developed it following an extensive branding process, but it can still be used to transform ideas into meaningful design choices at any stage.
The clients were creating a virtual therapy service focused on cultivating a deeper understanding of the human experience. The catch? They said they didn’t want any pictures of people, technology, wellness, or feeling better. Honestly, I had no idea how I was going to pull that off. Cue, the concept board.
Once I teased out a few key values – being raw and unfiltered and providing a safe space – balance began to develop as the underlying theme. Balancing light and dark, calm and edgy, and professional and relatable.
That translated into the following theories:
With these theories outlined and spelled out, sourcing photos and choosing fonts became easier. Instead of scrolling endlessly through stock photo sites looking for something random to jump off from, I had a guide that led me to source black and white and neutral-toned photos of blurry subjects and clean spaces.
So if your mood board isn’t working for you. Try these steps to gain more clarity about your refresh:
Whether you’re sourcing photos for an existing brand or starting from scratch, this exercise can bring clarity to the process and will help ensure consistency no matter where people meet the brand. Whether it’s on Instagram, through Google, or on the sidewalk, the brand will look and feel familiar. And we trust familiar.
Want the exact template I use for all my projects? Get it here and be sure to let me know how it works out for your next project!
recently on the journal
Your free guide to timeless and universal strategy, story, and style.