Creative Branding Tools: The Mood Board

A Valuable Communication and Decision-Making Aid

At Wanderlust we’ve developed a clearly defined process for marketing destinations, resorts and attractions. One of the tools we use when developing a new position is the brand “mood board.”

The mood board is a combination of photographs, graphics and words on a single panel that reflect the desired brand position (rather than the current position). Together these elements provide an illustrated example of the brand position, imparting the energy, mood and spirit of a destination, resort or attraction.

Mood Board for Howe Caverns rebranding project

Elements of a brand mood board:

• Photos that convey a destination’s spirit or energy, and reflect visual content likely to appear in marketing communications.

• Text that helps express mood and personality: usually limited to 3 to 6 carefully chosen words that define a feeling, a way of behaving, or a characteristic attitude of the destination.

• Graphic elements, including iconography, color palettes and typography, that foreshadow the brand image and formal brand identity program.

Mood boards are very helpful in defining, explaining and building out a new brand position: for getting buy-in and approval of positioning initiatives; to help communicate the brand to frontline staff; and as decision-support tools.

Mood boards offer a visual measuring stick that can be help up against creative executions to decide whether communications are on-brand or off-brand. Does a new ad or brochure capture the look and feel of the mood board? Does it support the position and promise of value?

In a world of subjective opinions about design and communication, the mood board can provide an objective tool to help you make important marketing decisions.