In this post I would like to talk about the different boards used in design production. The idea for this post comes from a recent project experience. At one point I noticed that people I worked with use really freely art/design terms like mood board. Later during the weeks it led to a massive confusion, at least from my part. Everything I say here is mostly from my own experience, though it can also contain some basic useful information.
In the project you can basically use 3 different boards/aspects for the different purposes. We need to remember, that usage of board depends also on the IP. If the project is well established, the general direction can be find on in the internet. On the other hand, if the IP is brand new it really requires proper planning from the very beginning. Here are the boards:
1. Reference Board:
Contains references or useful elements for the piece or the project. This board can be created by an art director or created by the artist. The board is usually used for one task or location. If the board is provided by the art director, it highlights certain elements to include in the design.
2. Design Board:
Contains the visual style in question, visual language, design solutions, color scheme etc. The purpose of this board is to hold visual side on track. The board can be created by an artist (highly unlikely usually), but it should be refined by a person who is in charge and familiar with the general art direction. The board usually serves as a style reference for everyone involved with the visual production.
3. Mood Board:
Contains the general idea of a topic. It can provide the general visual direction, cool references, exiting ideas or pretty much anything that doesn't directly impact the piece, but it sets the general feels. Usually this board is also used by everyone in the project. That's how people can give feedbacks to each other. Because everyone can speak about feeling that a mood creates. That's why the mood board also should be at everyone's reach.
One thing I need to note is: boards without a design brief are of little use. I would say, that a proper design brief holds 2/3 of the vital information that can be filled with the pictures by an artist. On the contrary, it is way more difficult to figure out the purpose of the design on the grand scale of the project, basing everything just on one sheet of pictures.
I'm not saying that everything must be set in stone, nono, flexibility is important. Everything can change. Some pictures can be used in all of the boards and some are stuck just in one. Also the artist can borrow pictures from every board to their own task boards. No matter how you call that board, everyone must know what it contains and the board must serve the IP.