How to Make A Mood Board Using Canva

How to Make A Mood Board Using Canva

Mood boards can be used for so many different purposes from styling a room or styling an outfit.  In relation to small business, creating a mood board is a great place to start to develop your brand story.  I believe we should take cues from the visual images that inspire us to create our branding components.  If your business is built around what you love and what inspires you, you will feel a stronger connection to what you project towards your potential customers or clients.

 

In this blog I will show you a step by step on how to create your own Mood Board using Canva.  But first, if you are not already getting all the blog information, new releases and special offers, then take a moment to jump on board and join my email list.

How to Create a Mood Board in Canva

 

What is A Mood Board?

  

If you examine the Oxford Dictionary definition, a mood board is:

 

“An arrangement of images, materials, pieces of text etc intended to provoke or inject a particular style or concept

 

Your mood board can be printed out and pinned up in your home study or office.  Alternatively you can keep it digital and use it as a reference.  Spend the time on creating your board as it sets the framework for building your brand components that tell your brand story:

  • brand colours
  • brand “voice”
  • logo
  • patterns
  • textures
  • personality

  

5 reasons you need a mood board for your business

 

5 Reasons You Should Create a Mood Board For Your Business

 

Remember in the definition we learnt about invoking moods and vibes – that is precisely what we want to do when creating a mood board as the context of our new small business.  We want to convey, through pictures and words, what our business is all about.  What is the mood?  What is the personality?  Is our brand about casual elegance or sophisticated and sleek style?

1 brainstorm your business identity

2 select brand colours and imagery

3 show others what your brand is about

4 engage your Target Audience

5 reach your goals.

 

 1. Brainstorm your Business Identity

 The first step is for you as the business owner to have clarity on what your business identity is, and what you want to convey about your business to the outside world.  This is relevant to businesses of any size.  You don’t have to be a large corporation to focus on brand awareness.  If you don’t understand your own branding, how do you expect your customers or clients to do the same?

 

2. Select your brand colours and imagery

 

 This is the fun part.  In the next part of this blog I show you how you go about this creative but important step.  This is a key part of your brand message.  I have talked in other blogs about the importance and the power of the visual image.  This blog discusses choosing images for your website: www.kdigitaldesign.com/choosing-website-brand-images/

 

3. Show Others What Your Brand is About 

 

Through your brand collateral – your logo, business documents, website, social media posts and comments, your brand identity is on display for potential clients or customers. It gives a glimpse of the personality and context of the brand and the people behind the brand.

 

4. Helps engage your target audience

 Done right, your marketing content which is built on your original mood board, is attracting your target audience.  Your words and images should reach those who align with your brand and want to be associated with it – either as customers, clients, consumers collaborators or influencers.

 

5. Reach your goals.

This might seem a stretch, but hear me out. 

You have taken the time to analyse your what and why of your business.  You have then symbolised it through a creating a mood board.  Next you gave life to your brand personality by developing your business brand collateral – your logo, brand colours, brand imagery, brand messaging.

You engaged with your target audience because you were on message – your brand conveyed the authentic “you” in your business and your customers could see that you were on brand and had a clear business brand and clear business goals. 

 WHY?

Because you created a mood board which describes the who, what and why of your business in words and pictures.  It is THAT simple.  And it is also THAT important.  You achieved your goals and you will continue to kick goals.

 

Now that you are convinced as to why you need a mood board, besides being a creative outlet and the opportunity for some home office artwork, it is time to create a mood board for your business, blog or even your Etsy shop.

 

Here is a simple Canva mood board template that I have created that you can grab for free by signing up to the link below.  There is no right or wrong way to create your board – make it as simple or creative as you like.

 

Mood Board template in canva.  Sign up to K Digital Design to get free template

Step 1: Create a New Design

Save the template I have made as your own Canva document.  It doesn’t matter what size your moodboard is, what matters is that you make one.   The one I have designed has the dimensions of 1920x1080px.     

 

Step 2: Personality Words

Brainstorm some words that you would like to use to convey your business brand to the community.  It could be casual or formal, fun or corporate. Luxury, natural, urban, classy, sophistocated etc.   If you get stuck you can always do a web search for brand personality keywords, but try not to overthink it.  You really want a few words that readily come to your mind that you want to inject into your business branding.

 

Write these words in the space provided on my template Mood Board that you have downloaded.

 

Step 3: Images

Search images on Canva or Pinterest to find ideas of things that you love.  Just remember when using Pinterest that you are collecting these images for your own use, so it is okay to use them on your moodboard for personal use.  If you are looking for brand images to use in your business, then photos you have access to on Canva are fine for you to use.  Alternatively, Unsplash is a great source of free stock images.

 

By way of example, let’s pretend that the keywords you choose are:

  • Fun
  • Natural
  • Calm
  • Discerning

Type these words individually or as phrases into Canva or Pinterest and find images that you like based on these keywords.  Place the images onto your moodboard.  You can use as many as you want.  Try not to have so many as you still want to be able to read a cohesive mood or vibe from your selection.  They don’t have to be images related to your business but they can be.

 

Below is the example of my ‘Coolum Homewares’ mood board.   It shows some homewares in natural materials and discerning items, but it also shows calm and fun through the beach scene.  Have fun playing around with options and settle on 4 to 8 images to reflect your vision or brand mood.

Create a colour palette from your moodboard

Step 4: Colour Palette

Next we can use our images to select a colour palette.  From my photos, I can readily identify natural “raffia” fibre colour, white and blue tones.   To find the right tones that blend with the images, you can select one of the blank colour palette rectangles in the template.  This brings up the Canva colour options and when you look at those you will see that photo colour options are shown for the photos in the mood board.   These colours are shown as they are complementary to your image colours, or close matches.

 

there is another cool way within Canva itself to generate colour palettes for your brand.  For some reason, not many people seem to know about this feature.  Head on over to www.canva.com/colors/color-palette-generator/.  Next upload single images or your image collage and the Canva generator will pop up with a colour selection.  You can get lost for hours researching the combinations available.

 

If you want to colour match an exact colour in your photo go to Image Color Picker (imagecolorpicker.com).  Upload your photo and it will select colour matches as well as colour combinations.  The great feature about this website is that it allows you to choose how many colours you want in your colour palette, and also lets you zoom in to refine a colour match.

 

Summary

Now you have a mood board that has been inspired by you and your vision for your business.  In turn, your mood board will also inspire your business growth as you move through the different stages of your setting up and launching your business.

 

It is also relevant from time to time to revist your vision board and see if your business goals and direction still align with your original mood board.  Have you drifted away from your original direction?  Or has your business evolved so that you may need to update your mood board.

 

I would love for you to share the mood boards you make using either my template or your own vision board template.  Share them below and let me know how you are progressing.

 

K Digital Design
Choosing the Right Website Images for your Brand

Choosing the Right Website Images for your Brand

Staying on brand and within your brand color palette isn’t always easy.   Likewise, choosing website brand images can be tricky business.

Scenario

Recently I was asked to review and provide feedback for a new company website that was preparing for launch.   Apart from tweaking some wording and headings here and there, the number one thing that stood out to me was how important images are for a brand. 

 The images were all wrong.

 On their own the images were f-i-n-e.  Cool, and some quirky even.  But, in the context of the business, many of them were clearly “off brand” or “off message”.

 The company was a new start up.  Their business was all about offering easy step by step solutions for online customers in a business finance sector.  Whilst their colours were slick and stylish, the front page image of a glass lying on its side and an empty glass beside it to me messaged:

 

               disorganised, messy, not sure what we are doing.’ 

 

On another page which described the streamlined business processes, there was an image of densely planted forest that had been filtered with a colour gradient matching the brand colours (not green I might ad).  The image itself was great and edgy, but not in the right place on the website. 

It said nothing whatsoever about how the business was going to help me achieve my goals and aspirations.   I didn’t want to be lost in thick jungle.  Instead, I suggested a lifestyle image such as a carefree couple on the beach, or a family boating outing, or wining and dining at a restaurant.  To me these new suggested images would convey the fun and relaxed lifestyle people could have if they used this business service.

So, this got me thinking.   

 Not only about the images I use for my brand, but what you might want to consider for your brand.  It might seem like a relatively small and insignificant aspect in the scale of the many, many things you need to do to launch your business, but it is the first impression you leave on visitors to your website. 

AND here’s the crunch – it is therefore also the first impression you leave for potential customers or clients.

You really only get a few seconds to grab the attention of your website visitor.   If you missed my first Blog about WHY branding matters – you can check it now here: https://kdigitaldesign.com/business-branding-matters/

What is the best way for new businesses to choose their website images? Here are my 7 tips for choosing the right brand images for your website.  There is no 100% right or wrong answers, but giving some thought to your style, your business, your audience, will help keep your visual brand totally connected to your written brand. 

 

1. Who is Your Ideal Client or Target Audience? 

It is often said that ‘a picture tells a thousand words’, but what words are you trying to say with your images on your website?

Aesthetics and design are so subjective.  What is liked by one person, may not be endearing to the next.  Let’s face it, life would be pretty b-o-r-i-n-g if we all liked the same things.  Life would be pretty boring if we all designed the same things.  AND life would be no fun if all websites looked the same.

Whilst that is true, staying on brand matters, and the images you choose for your brand on your website matter too.

If your business provides personal wealth strategies, targeting self-funded retirees, you are not going to want to use tattoos and nose piercings in your imagery.  What if you are a fitness coach, showing images of your chocolate and ice-cream binges is not going to bring in faithful followers.  It’s not about YOU, it’s about THEM.  You may laugh, but I have seen this done time and time again.

 

AND that right there is one of the key secrets to a successful website.  Let me say it again – it’s not about you, it’s about your ideal client.  Sure you need to say and show what you can do, but it needs to be described in a way that puts the emphasis on the client and how you can help them.  

Your visual identity through your brand and brand images serves the same purpose.  If your customers or clients can see that you are consistent and relevant, then they are more likely to trust in you and your business service or products. 

Write down who your ideal client is.  What is their age group, gender, pain points, business type.  Knowing the answer to these questions will help you choose images that are appropriate to your business and the people you want to provide a service to.  The people you want to come and buy from your online shop.

 

2. what brand message do you want to send?

Having a connection with your customers or your potential clients is important for attracting business as well as keeping your business growing.  You can have a fun and vibrant brand, whilst still being professional. 

If your brand images are mis-matched and not relevant, it’s going to be hard to keep your customers interested.  You may have the cutest dog in the world.  But photos of your cute dog are not going to tell your next customer what jewellery items you stock.  Likewise they are not going to help a business coach decide whether you have the right social media marketing skills they need to grow their business. 

Jot down some key words to describe your message.

3. staying on brand – image “personality”

Inject some personality into your brand images.  Whilst the type of images you choose will be relevant to your ideal client or customers and your business niche, let some of your personality shine through in the type of images you choose. 

It’s all part of your brand story that you are telling people who visit your site.

4. choose your images

 Finally!  Choosing the visuals.  A mood board or even your branding board is a great way to place some images so you can see what suits your: 

  • Message; and
  • Your business or brand personality

 Pinterest is ideal for this.  Being a visual search engine it is a great place to source images to help describe your brand.  Please keep in mind that when using Pinterest for visual images, you can only use these for your personal use.  They cannot be shared or posted or anything without the permission of the owner of the material.  And that’s totally fair.

 

Alternatively you can use Canva [https://www.canva.com/} or Unsplash [https://unsplash.com/] to source your images.  There are millions to choose from, especially in the Pro version of Canva.

Paid favourites that I love, are Ivory Mix and Haute Stock.  I am in no way affiliated with these brands but they provide so much value, free stock images, plus there are paid stock subscriptions to save you time sourcing relevant images for your own business.  Ivory Mix can be found here: https://ivorymix.com/  and Haute Stock here:   https://hautestock.co/  Honestly you will find very swoon-worthy images on those sites.

Simply type in some keywords and see what images come up.  Try different combinations of keywords and see what impact they have on the type of images, colors and moods.

  

5. set yourself a timeline

 

This ‘rule’ or checklist item is more for me than you.  Seriously!  I can spend days on end researching any topic imaginable, and sourcing photos and images is no exception.  As important as images are to your branding, there comes a time when you need to draw a line and move on.   

 

6. you can always change your images

 

Trust me when I say you can always change your website images.  I have been there, as I haven’t always followed my own advice and have spent many an hour researching and looking, and swapping and changing.  I even changed my brand color palette before I launched, so anything is possible!  This was what helped me lock in a better process for developing your brand story.

 

Better still is to have a selection of brand images.  You may not use them all on your brand board or mood board, but if you take the time in the beginning to find images that are relevant, it will save you a lot of time down the track when you are writing blogs, pinning to Pinterest or posting on social media and LinkedIn.

 

Every now and then, go for an update of your images, following the same steps set out in this blog.

  

7. have fun creating and branding

You have made it this far in the step by step process and it is time to pull it all together.  Some strategically placed images on your website, with the right content, will convey clear messages to your readers and visitors.

 

You will want your home page or landing page to be the ‘ultimate’ in terms of your visual branding, as that will determine who stays and who goes.  Then work your way through designing each of your website pages with a consistent thread of color, imagery and branding.

conclusion

 

So, let’s re-cap:

 1. Who is your ideal client or target audience?

 2.What brand message do you want to send?

 3. Staying on brand – image “personality”?

 4. Choose a theme or key words to find suitable images.

 5. Set yourself a time limit so you are not agonising for days.

 6. You can always change your images.

 7. Have fun creating and branding.

 

The same approach applies to your Facebook page, Instagram feed and Pinterest pins.  You need to be on brand and relevant with your brand imagery. I cover this in a lot more detail in an upcoming blog post.  So make sure you sign up to my email list to receive the latest tips and blog notifications. 

 

Grab my free brand board template from my website [https://kdigitaldesign.com/) and start playing around with your brand images.  It is like shopping and trying on clothes without having to part with any hard earned cash!

 

Yours in Design,

Kerri

Free Canva Brand Board

Brand Board Template
Business Branding Matters

Business Branding Matters

So what is branding anyway?  It can be so easy to assume that only large corporations and companies with multiple employees need to worry about branding.

 

I’m busting this myth for you right now, then you will see how your small business can prosper and profit.

 

In a world where online businesses are booming and new businesses are starting up all the time, it has never been more important to think about your brand.  How else are you going to stand out from the crowd?

 

Branding is not just about being different. In fact, it’s about being DIFFERENT from your competitors, but CONSISTENT within your business.  So that means same, same but different, right?

 

By this I mean all your marketing material, website, email marketing, Pinterest Pins, social media posts, business stationery needs to show your brand.  The more often someone sees something, the more likely they are to remember it and associate your brand + your key messages.

 

Think of some famous brands and their consistent messages.  Coca Cola is all about having fun and is consistently branded in red, with a particular font style and colour.  Even when they branched out to offering different flavours, the same base branding, colour, font styles are there.

 

Consistency is Key 

Being consistent doesn’t mean being boring.  It means that your business is recognised by its unifying and identifiable elements.  These brand elements include –

 

  • business name
  • logo
  • typography/fonts
  • colours
  • elements – eg lines, artwork associated with your branding
  • patterns and textures
  • Images – depicting your brand mood and vibe

 

 It’s also about consistent personality.   These are things like – 

  • The services your business provides
  • Your business systems and processes
  • How and where you connect

 

Branding by Example

 

Let’s look at an example.  Company A is a family photography business.  They advertise in their own Facebook group, in other local Facebook groups in their area, and in flyers.  Here is an example of what they have posted in a marketing graphic.

 

Brand Example A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Company B is also a family photography business.  They use similar marketing approaches and materials.  Here is what they have posted in a marketing graphic.

 

Brand Example B

Which one do you prefer?  Which company are you drawn to?  Which one stands out as a business you want to engage with, and want to click through to their website and learn more?

 

In the first example, there is no consistency of colours between the images or the title and the individual images.  Apart from one family photo, the other images are food related, or obscure to what the business is actually about.

 

Now let’s look at the  second example.  If I am looking for a family photographer to hire, I am drawn to this visual.  It is on brand, it is clear, and it shows that the photographer offers studio and outdoor photos.  It also shows that the photographer either sells framed prints, or cares about how the photos are going to look when framed.  Or both.

 

I get that imagery and colours can be subjective.  Wouldn’t the world be boring if all designs were the same and based on the same template?  Do you know what the key is?  It is to look at it from the customers perspective – it’s about the MESSAGE.  The subtle message as well as the obvious message.

 

The subtle message refers to the impression you are setting.  It’s telling your website visitors (aka your potential future customers or clients) that you:

  • are professional
  • follow a process
  • have taken the time to set up your brand content
  • show that you care about the details of style and cohesiveness
  • show that you pay attention to detail.

 

Does A Picture Really Tell A Thousand Words?

 

Some of you may be thinking would someone really get that much information from a few pictures?  You would be surprised.  Remember the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” – well it is true.  Having worked in the corporate world for almost 20 years, I know first hand that impressions count.  In the fast paced world of online business where visuals are king, a potential client or customer is going to be making decisions on the visuals they see before they read the words.

 

Let this sink in a little.

 

It doesn’t mean that ‘glossy’ and ‘shiny’ is all that matters.  It’s not.  What matters is that the visual brand consistency is there, as well as the quality content to back it up.

 

So that’s the “subtle” brand message, but what about the “obvious” brand message?  This is more about the actual content – the words and pictures, the headings and their relevance to your brand.  The relevance of your business name and logo to your brand.  That’s a whole other blog post topic.

 

So What Does This All Mean?

 

Of course, not having coordinated branded Pinterest pins and social media posts doesn’t mean you are going to fail.  But it can make a difference as whether the next visitor to your website or Instagram account is going to want to engage with you and take the next step.  It can make a difference.

 

How are they going to feel about your brand?

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this branding matters topic.  Leave a comment below, and share your experiences on the subtle and not so subtle messaging in brand story.