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Moodboard, Brand Board, Brand Guidelines: What's the Difference and What Do You Need?

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One of the most common questions I get asked when designing a brand identity is what is it the client actually gets? The deliverables can be a variety of documents, each suited to a specific sort of branding need.


You’ve probably come across many many terms like this when it comes to brand development and design: mood board, brand board, brand guidelines, style guide, etc. etc.


But what’s the real difference between all of these document types and which ones do you need for your business? I'll break them down for you.


Moodboard A Moodboard, also known as an inspiration board, is the first deliverable to come out of the discovery process in creating your brand. Once we've delved deep into finding out what the style and aesthetic your brand needs to be, we'll collect and create a collage of images designed to express the the intended mood of your brand. This will be used as an inspirational tool to guide the brand design process.



Brand Identity


Your Brand Identity is the most valuable asset you own. It’s the first impression you make to

consumers, clients, associates or employers and it’s how you express your purpose and values to the world. A strong brand identity ensures that your story is cohesive throughout all platforms, and that your internal culture is united and strong.



Brand Board A Brand Board is the essential first-step for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses

looking to get a feel for what their brand is, and an understanding of how to present it in the

best possible light. You’ll get a crucial one-page reference document that showcases all of your brand’s key aesthetic features, and which serves as a basic guideline for designers to create anything from websites, to internal documents, or posts for social.



Style Guide A Style Guide is usually a component of a Brand book or Brand Guidelines; and is usually used to refer to the visual style guidelines for a brand.



Brand Guidelines A Brand Style Guide is the ultimate branding document that establishes distinct guidelines

which create a unified and identifiable presence for your brand across all channels, both

internally and externally. It documents everything from your brand purpose, to voice, as well

as visual elements, which include at the very least the logo (* optional), proper logo usage and implementation, identity systems (colors, fonts, patterns), as well as applications of the brand identity across various common areas.


Think of a Brand Style Guide as a “blueprint” for everything that needs to be designed.

Because of this, what’s included isn’t limited to the stated deliverables. For example, one brand may need design guidelines for billboards and OOH advertising - while another may need them for illustration or the creation of infographics. The options span as wide as the uniqueness of your brand itself.



Got a branding project you need help with?


Check out some of my branding services, specifically designed for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small-businesses.


We can create a full brand identity delivered as a Brand Board, or Brand Guidelines, or design stationary, collateral, and any other branded business and marketing documents.

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