Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Misusing Mood Boards

It seems there is no design tool that cannot be misused. I don't recall calling them them "mood boards" in school, but I've used things like this over time., Five Reasons to Design With Moodboards see hundreds of other examples Instead of describing this myself, I'll quote someone else:
...You create a bunch of logo ideas in Illustrator. You print them out on your fancy high-resolution color printer and then show the client. Although the print-outs are just rough examples of what a design could be, the inherent precision of your computer and printer will always make your work seem “finished.” No matter how rough, the client can’t help but think, “ok, what I see is what I’ll get.” So, instead of the broader concepts, the client will zero-in on the details. During early explorations, you can short circuit time-wasting debate about blue versus purple or Times New Roman versus Comic Sans by using mood boards... ...So what do they look like? Just think back to kindergarten. Like your first art projects, mood boards are collages that center around an idea, concept, or feeling. You can create them on the computer, but it’s more fun to literally to gather and paste photos, magazine cut-outs, and objects on a board... Read the whole article
So, I'm getting presented this nascent new... thing here at my day job, and the agency which will remain nameless says they came up with the final message style by running a half dozen mood boards in front of some focus groups. I want to see the mood boards, and finally realize I am seeing them. Obviously I cannot show them, so go to a magazine, pick any shiny ad, and tear it out. That's it. Not clustered with others, not cut apart, just one concept ad. Huh? That's not a moodboard. In fact, its not a valid test of any sort, even if the focus group is well-run. And frankly, the high concepts aren't that reflected in each of the comps. So? Why do I care? Well, aside from being bad process, its a clear way to get nothing out of it. At this point we might as well just have let the designers at the agency pick their favorite.

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