Why You Should Create a Mood Board for Your Design Brief


When launching a new premium spirit into the competitive market, the impact of its packaging cannot be overstated. It’s the first thing consumers see and the main thing they remember. That’s where a mood board comes into play in the design process. It’s not just about colors and images—it’s about capturing the spirit of the brand in a way that resonates on the shelf.

What is a Mood Board?


A mood board is a collection of images, textures, and colors that together show the style and feel that the brand wants to achieve. This is especially important for high-end spirits, where the packaging has to look good and reflect the quality of what’s inside.

Creating a mood board is very useful because it helps everyone involved understand what the final product should look like. It turns vague ideas into something you can see. This makes sure that the designers and the brand managers are on the same page, helping them create a package that really fits the brand.

Let’s explore why mood boards are important in making a design brief, how they help in making sure the design shows what the brand is really about and why they’re a must-have in designing top-notch spirits packaging.

The Power of Visual Communication in Branding

In the development of premium spirits packaging, clear communication between the client and the design agency is crucial. Here, visual communication through mood boards becomes an invaluable tool, ensuring that everyone involved understands and agrees on the brand’s vision.

Text-based briefs can often lead to different interpretations. A term like “rustic elegance” might bring up an array of images in different people’s minds, ranging from old-world charm to minimalist modern designs with a raw finish. This variation can lead designers away from what the brand owner actually envisions.

Mood boards cut through the ambiguity of words by providing a concrete visual reference. They combine elements like colors, textures, typefaces, and images that embody the brand’s desired aesthetic and emotional impact. This not only helps in establishing a common understanding but also serves as a constant reference throughout the design process, ensuring that the essence of the brand is captured accurately.

The use of mood boards highlights the limitations of relying solely on written descriptions to convey a brand’s personality and target audience. Visuals are more direct; they show rather than tell, bringing the brand’s personality to life in a way that words might struggle to achieve. They allow the Brand Manager to communicate nuances of emotion and character that are essential for the brand but difficult to articulate in writing.

Introducing the concept of visual language in this context refers to the specific set of visual elements selected to represent the brand’s identity. It plays a critical role in branding, as it translates abstract qualities and values into tangible visual cues that are immediately understandable.

By utilizing this approach in mood boards, design agencies can more effectively develop packaging that resonates with the target audience and enhances the brand’s market presence.

Understanding Mood Boards

Mood boards are essential tools in the design process, especially in the context of creating impactful packaging for premium spirits. Essentially, a mood board is a collage consisting of images, color palettes, textures, and sometimes even words or phrases. These elements are carefully curated to evoke the intended style, feeling, and essence of the brand they represent.

Typically, mood boards might include photographs that capture the mood or theme the brand wishes to convey, swatches of colors that define the brand’s visual identity, and textures that reflect the tactile experience of the product. They can also feature typography that aligns with the brand’s personality, as well as other inspirational imagery that helps solidify the overall aesthetic direction.

The objective of using mood boards is twofold. First, they serve as a source of inspiration for the design team, sparking creativity and ideas that align with the brand’s vision. Mood boards act as a springboard for all subsequent design decisions, ensuring that every choice, from the shape of the bottle to the style of the label, contributes cohesively to the overarching brand narrative.

Second, mood boards provide clear direction. They help ensure everyone involved—from Brand Managers to designers—shares a common understanding of the project’s goals. This alignment is crucial for maintaining a unified vision throughout the design process, reducing miscommunications and revisions, and ultimately creating a package that truly resonates with consumers. By visually representing the brand’s ethos, mood boards facilitate a more efficient and effective approach to design, transforming abstract concepts into tangible outcomes.

Brand mood board via Hoot Design Company

Brand Mood Board via Hoot Design Company

The Role of Mood Boards in the Design Brief

In the design brief process, mood boards play an important role by serving as a visual translation of the brand’s ethos and aspirations. This function is particularly critical because it helps ensure that the vision for the product aligns precisely with the final design outcomes.

When included in a design brief, mood boards help to clearly outline the aesthetic direction for the project. This clarity is vital for preventing the common pitfalls of subjective interpretation that can occur with text-based briefs alone. Designers receive a visual summary of what is expected, which guides their creative decisions and keeps their concepts aligned with the brand’s goals.

Mood boards contribute to more targeted and effective design iterations. By establishing a clear visual starting point, they reduce the time and resources spent on exploratory designs that may not align with the brand’s identity. This efficiency is crucial in fast-paced market environments where time to market can be a key competitive advantage.

Additionally, mood boards facilitate a more collaborative and iterative design process. They allow for easier feedback loops between the brand managers and designers because both parties have a common visual reference point. Adjustments and refinements can be made more dynamically, ensuring that the evolving design continues to align with the brand’s vision as expressed in the initial mood board.

This targeted approach ensures that the final packaging design not only meets but exceeds the brand’s expectations, effectively capturing the intended audience’s attention and conveying the brand’s unique story.

How Mood Boards Foster Collaboration Between the Client and the Agency

Mood boards are crucial tools for design agencies because they help set a clear visual foundation for a project, making the entire design process more efficient and collaborative. They act as a shared visual language between the brand owner and the design agency, ensuring everyone is aligned from the start.

Here’s how mood boards streamline the collaboration and design process:

  1. Clear Understanding of the Brand: Mood boards allow designers to quickly grasp the brand’s aesthetic and emotional goals. By providing a collage of images, textures, and colors that represent the brand, designers can immediately see and feel the brand’s vibe. This reduces misunderstandings and helps the design team start their work with a clear direction.

  2. Targeted Design Development: Mood boards are invaluable for developing designs that resonate with the brand’s target audience. They include elements that reflect the preferences and lifestyles of potential customers, guiding designers in creating visuals that not only attract but also engage the brand’s demographic. This focused approach helps ensure the final designs are effective and appealing to those who matter most.

  3. Efficient Presentation and Feedback: Presenting initial design concepts becomes more straightforward with mood boards. They provide a backdrop that supports the designers’ proposals, making it easier for clients to visualize the end product. This clarity helps in accelerating the feedback loop, as clients can refer back to the mood board to see how the designs align with the established visual language.

  4. Streamlined Revisions and Approvals: Having a mood board as a reference point speeds up the revision process. It serves as a benchmark for both the design team and the client, simplifying discussions about changes and adjustments. This common visual reference reduces the time spent on revisions and facilitates quicker approvals, keeping the project on schedule.


Overall, mood boards not only enhance creativity but also foster a spirit of cooperation. They ensure that everyone involved in the project shares the same vision, which is key to creating a successful and cohesive design that effectively embodies the brand’s identity. This collaborative tool is essential for translating abstract ideas into compelling visual stories that captivate and connect with audiences.

Mood board for packaging design project, Tierra Noble Tequila 

Practical Tips for Creating Effective Mood Boards

Creating an effective mood board is key to communicating your brand’s vision clearly to the design team. Here are some practical tips and common pitfalls to avoid, ensuring your mood board is both useful and inspiring:

  1. Start with a Clear Objective: Before you begin, know what you want your mood board to achieve. Are you trying to capture a feeling, a color scheme, or a style? Having a clear goal will guide your selections and keep your mood board focused.


  2. Choose Images Carefully: Each image on your mood board should serve a purpose. Avoid the common mistake of including too many unrelated images. This can confuse rather than clarify your vision. Make sure each image directly relates to your brand and the message you want to convey.


  3. Use High-Quality Images: The quality of the images on your mood board can influence how they’re perceived. Low-resolution images can make your design look unprofessional. Always opt for high-quality images that reflect the high standards of your brand.


  4. Maintain a Cohesive Color Palette: Colors can evoke emotions and set the tone for your brand. Select a cohesive color palette that aligns with the feelings you want your brand to evoke. This will help ensure that the mood board accurately reflects the emotional appeal of your product.


  5. Include Textures and Materials: Especially for tangible products like spirits, the feel of the material can be as important as the look. Include samples or images of textures and materials that you plan to use in your packaging to give a more comprehensive sensory experience.


  6. Organize for Impact: How you arrange the elements on your mood board can affect its impact. Group similar ideas together to create a flow that’s easy to understand. This organization will help others see your vision more clearly.


  1. Use Online Tools and Resources: There are many online tools and resources available to help you create mood boards. Pinterest is great for collecting and organizing ideas. Behance and World Brand Design offer professional and high-quality design examples that can inspire your own. For packaging-specific inspiration, check out Packaging of the World. Additionally, exploring design award websites like Pentawards or The Spirits Business awards can provide examples of industry-recognized designs that could spark ideas.


  2. Avoid Overcrowding: A common mistake is to overcrowd the mood board with too much information. While it’s important to give a full picture, too many elements can be overwhelming. Aim for a balance that provides enough inspiration without diluting the main message.

By following these tips and utilizing resources wisely, brand managers can create mood boards that effectively guide the design process, making it easier for everyone involved to align on a creative vision that truly represents the brand.


Mood boards are a key tool in the packaging design process, especially for premium spirits. They help everyone involved—from brand managers to designers—get a clear picture of what the final product should look and feel like. This clarity is crucial in creating packaging that not only looks good but also connects with the target audience and represents the brand effectively.

Throughout the design process, mood boards serve several important functions. They ensure that everyone’s ideas align, reducing misunderstandings and unnecessary revisions. By providing a visual representation of the brand’s goals, mood boards help designers understand the brand’s vision and create designs that resonate with the intended consumers.

Additionally, mood boards streamline communication between the brand and the design agency. They make it easier to discuss and refine concepts, speeding up the approval process and helping to keep the project on track. This efficiency is vital in competitive markets where timing and brand presentation can determine a product’s success.

By effectively using mood boards, brands can ensure that their packaging not only attracts attention but also tells a compelling story that appeals to consumers. This strategic use of visual elements can make the difference in a crowded market, helping premium spirits stand out on the shelves.

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