How to build a personal brand mood board in five steps

Some of you may be asking yourselves, what is a mood board? It is a mosaic of images, words, graphics, and objects that project what you want your brand position to be. In developing your personal brand, think of a mood board as a snapshot of where you want to be. It is a destination postcard. Designers have used them for years to gain an overall feel for where their product is going to fit in the market. You can use them to identify your personal brand position and why it’s important to you.

5 Easy Steps to building your mood board.

  1. The Gathering. Find magazines, pictures, books, stickies, etc. that represent the feeling or “mood” you want you personal brand to evoke. Be inclusive and pull together anything you may want to use. We’ll pare it down later.
  2. The Arrangementt. Take all of the stuff you’ve acquired and arrange it, collage-style (remember elementary school?) on a board, poster, or wall. I usually like to group things together that are similar in emotion or ideal. You’ll see why later. As your board is forming up, take notes of common themes that begin to pop in your head. The idea here is to gain insight and inspiration for what your true personal brand is. Don’t affix things until after step three, which is…
  3. The Purge. Before you solidify the mood board you need to refine it. Eliminate anything that doesn’t align with your personal brand position. You are looking to clearly communicate who you are and where you are going. If a graphic or color doesn’t represent that, then it has to go. Also, keep it to three-to-five words that define your characteristics, ideals, and emotions. Too many will add complexity to the visual.
  4. The Test. Now that you have trimmed the fat, it is time to test your personal brand mood board. Take a picture of your board and send it to a friend or mentor. Have them tell you what they see. It should be consistent with your vision of your brand. If not, revisit steps one, two, and or three.
  5. The Finish. The final step is to write summaries of your mood board’s themes. Each one should validate the visuals on your board.

I recommend you put your board up where you can see it. Look at it regularly. Compare your work, attitude, and associations with the images you fastened to your mood board? Is it consistent? The board will serve as a beacon for your personal brand. Last thing, have fun with it. Enjoy the process of discovering your personal brand position.

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