They say you can never have too much of a good thing, but we all know there are exceptions. Like how too much dessert makes you sick. Or, how too many options make it hard to choose. Now, with Instagram, Pinterest, and digital marketing everywhere you look, it can feel a bit overwhelming to zero in on imagery that reflects your specific brand. So, how do you create an organized mood board that represents your brand? In this post, I’ll share my favorite places to find inspiration for branding, plus a few ways to narrow down your ideas.
When you book your photo session for your brand or products, I will probably ask you for an inspiration/mood board and shot list. Pulling together some cohesive ideas and a list of the types of photos you need will ensure you get the most out of your budget.
I often get clients who just want me to “do the magic!” but that magic looks different for every person and brand. I need a hint as to what that magic looks like for you. Try personifying your brand: I need to know its personality, style, colors, and values so I can capture those elements during the shoot and create images you love.
Here are a few of my favorite places to draw inspiration for branding:
Save Imagery of Brands You Admire.
When you’re out and about, take photos or screenshots of marketing imagery or ads that stick out to you. What types of images speak to you? It’s good to do it in the moment because you’ll be more in tune with what grabs your attention.
If an ad or image captivates your attention while you’re skimming the web, walking to work, or going about your daily business, it’s probably pretty solid. It’s also a great way to see what you’re subconsciously attracted to. We tend to go over-tag images while researching and gathering ideas. Everything starts looking the same, and it’s hard to prioritize your favorites. Doing it in the moment is a great way to find spontaneous inspiration.
Search Pinterest with a Plan.
Another way to narrow it down is to—narrow it down. If Pinterest has more ideas than you know what to do with, try applying filters or narrowing your search terms. Instead of typing in “branding ideas,” try searching for “classic color palettes” or “bold color palettes” to start with a color scheme. Then, search for fonts you like by style. Next, you might search for “retro logo ideas,” or “masculine logos,” or “elegant logos.” Then, a more definite theme or look will emerge when you pull your board together. You can fine-tune from there if need be.
Look at Architecture.
Believe it or not, not all inspiration is found online. As a marketing creative, I like to move away from all the noise and explore the work of other artists and other mediums. Arts and architecture have a longstanding relationship, and I often find myself in awe of how architects incorporate materials, lines, and composition into constructions. Statues, paintings and murals, structures, sculptures, and industrial designs can lend a hand in forming ideas, thinking out of the box, and serving as a creative muse. Check out this article with examples by ArchDaily to see what I mean.
Go to Art Museums + Art Shows.
On that note, art museums and art shows provide similar inspiration. (Check before you take photos, though. Some do not allow photography.) As a bonus, I find it a relaxing way to pull away from technology and reset. The arts can do wonders for our mental health.
Immerse Yourself in Nature.
Get some sun, fresh air, and inspiration all in one. I enjoy incorporating botanical, floral, water, and earthy elements into compilations when possible (even in food photography!). A stroll through the public gardens or a hike may help you organize your thoughts and stimulate your imagination.
Check Out Vintage Advertisements.
As a final unexpected source of inspiration for branding, check out vintage advertisements. Many of them will make you giggle, and laughter is good for the soul! (Jell-O had an ad that said, “America’s Most Famous Dessert: Even if you can’t cook, you can make a Jell-O dessert!”) But, you may also find some colors, designs, fonts, and wording that spark ideas for your brand.