How to make a mood board for your salon brand (for free in Canva!)
A visual brand is the best way for your salon to stand out online among your competitors, and show the world who you are. When you create a consistent brand and use it faithfully, people come to recognize you by your colors and designs alone.
The more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
Paul Rand said “Design is the silent ambassador of your business”, and it’s completely true. Your brand speaks volumes about your own personality, your vibe, and the type of client you want to attract.
So don’t take your brand for granted!
In this blog post, I'll show you step by step exactly how to create a mood board in Canva that will help you define your salon brand and apply it consistently.
Plus it's actually really easy and fun to create a mood board! Let's get started...
What's a mood board and why do I need one?
A mood board (or a branding board) is like a visual rulebook for how your brand should look. It’s an easy way for you to remember your exact color codes, fonts and image style, and then faithfully apply it everywhere.
Next time you have to write an email newsletter, redesign your website, or post on social media, pull up your mood board! It will tell you exactly how these things should look, and it will help keep you consistent.
Remember, consistency is key! If you find it hard to keep all your designs “on brand”, because you can’t decide whether you prefer blue or green, maybe it’s time to step back.
Think about your salon’s personality first and most important, create a brand that is meaningful. If your brand speaks from your heart, you’ll find it much easier to stay consistent. Because you’re not a slave to trends and fashions and which colors are cool at the moment.
So let’s start out by thinking about your salon’s personality.
Step 1: Understand your salon personality
Before you go forward and create a kick ass color palette, matching fonts and branding board, you want to step back and make sure that you’re crystal clear about your business personality.
If you create a brand without it expressing your personality, it will fall flat. You’ll get tired of it. And it will clash with the rest of your business.
So my first advice is to think about your personality. First, read my blog post about defining your salon personality here.
You’ll want to answer these questions about your business:
How would you define your own personality, and what qualities of yours come through in your business?
If you salon were a person, how would she dress, act, and talk with people?
What traits do your ideal clients have that are consistent with your salon personality?
What are the 3 words you’d use to describe your business?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to move onto the next step!
Step 2: Create an inspiration board on Pinterest
Pinterest is my secret weapon for getting branding inspiration. You can use it to collect photos, color palettes, and designs that you’re in love with. Then when you step back and look at your board, you’ll start noticing patterns of things you’re attracted to.
Here’s how to create an inspiration board on Pinterest for your beauty business:
Start a private board and name it whatever you like - for example “Pink Sugar Design Inspiration”
Then, look back at the answers you gave in the last section about your salon personality and search them on Pinterest. For example, if one of your personality traits was “edgy”, search “edgy design”.
If your salon personality is earthy and natural, you can search “earthy and natural” on Pinterest:
Or if you already have an idea about some colors you like (even though we haven’t gotten there yet!) search them. For example “Forest green”.
Pin all of the images that inspire you. Don’t think too hard about it, but just start pinning images and designs that speak to you.
Look back at your Pinterest board and see if you can find patterns. Do you see any color palettes that stick out? Types of photos or styles that keep appearing? You may be several steps closer to defining your visual brand!
Step 3: Create a blank mood board template on Canvas
I love Canva for designing, because it’s so easy for even non-designers to use, and it’s FREE!
Here’s what my blank branding board looks like on Canva:
To create your own board, follow these steps:
1. Log into Canva or create a free Canva account
2. Go to “Create a design” and in the top right choose “custom dimensions”. Make them 1000 x 1500 pixels:
3. Once you’ve got your blank canvas open, upload and insert your logo at the top and put in two lines underneath to divide up your board (I like to use light grey):
4. Go into “text” and drag over the heading, subheading, and body text onto your board, under the first line. Don’t worry about picking your fonts right now, we’re just putting everything in place!
5. Go into Elements > Shapes and select the first white square in the list.
6. Drag the square over onto your board. Make it smaller and change its color to something neutral (so it doesn’t stand out too much). Duplicate the square 4 times and line them up under the text you've just dropped in:
7. Under these 5 squares, add a little piece of text. We’re going to write your color codes here (once we’ve chosen a color palette).
8. Under Elements > Grids, select the first photo grid and drag it over to the bottom of your board. Make it smaller and duplicate it twice to get 3 small rectangles. This is where we’re going to put your photo inspiration:
You now have a blank branding board! It may look rather dull right now, but soon it’ll be bursting with color and personality!
Step 4: Choose your colors
Now that you have your blank branding board, the next step is to choose your colors!
I personally like to have a color palette of 5 colors, but you can even have 2 or 3 colors if you prefer.
Here’s how to choose brand colors that look great together and reflect your personality:
1. Pick one or two main colors to start with
This is the most crucial part of a color palette. The easiest way to build a full color palette is to start off with one or two main colors. Maybe you’ve already identified your main color or colors on your Pinterest inspiration board. If you still need some ideas, go through this list:
Choose colors related to your name or values
For example, if you have a salon Mystic Moon, maybe you want to look at a color palette that is light grey for the moon, and dark purple for night time and magic:
Pick colors that reflect your salon’s personality
You’ve already got a nice summary of WHO your salon is. How about starting with two colors that express that? For example, if your salon personality is youthful, fun and all about celebration, how about a bright duo like this:
Choose colors that stand out from competitors
For example, if all of your competitors are going for light pink, why not choose a bright bold color that is the complete opposite?
Choose colors that complement your existing color
If you’ve already got a logo and a business, chances are you’ve already got a primary color. If you’d like to stick with it, why not choose a second color that complements it?
Choose colors that your clients or target audience identify with
It’s so important to pick colors that your ideal clients will be attracted to as well. So think some more about their personality and which colors reflect that.
2. Use the Coolors tool to choose the rest of your color palette
I love the Coolors app for creating a vibrant color palette. And it’s so much fun!
If you already have a main color or two picked out, select them in the color picker:
Then lock them with the lock icon and keep pressing the space bar until you find a color palette you like.
You can also try pressing the space bar until you find one more color you like, lock it and continue doing this until you’ve got a whole beautiful palette:
3. Copy the color codes (HEX codes) and put them into your branding board
See those hashtag codes underneath the colors I choose? Those are the HEX codes. They identify your colors out of the millions of others. Copy one of the HEX codes and get back into Canva.
In the color section of your branding board, double click one of your grey rectangles, select the color palette in the top left and paste your Hex code there:
Then do the same thing for all of your chosen colors and insert the HEX code into the text below, so it’s easy for you to use it later on:
You’ve now got your color palette in!
If you want to learn more about choosing beautiful brand colors for your salon, read my blog post here.
Step 5: Choose your fonts
Fonts are a huge but often overlooked part of branding! You want to make sure that you have a heading, subheading and body paragraph font that you can use everywhere.
Fonts speak so many words on their own, so you want to make sure that you choose ones that say the right things about your business.
Fortunately, Canva has so many fonts built right in, so you can get started right away.
1. Choose a heading font that has a ton of personality and is the most “dramatic” of your fonts
You want it to stand out because your heading will be used at the top or main focal point of your designs.
So if you’re in love with a really particular font with lots of personality, use it as your heading!
2. Choose a contrasting font for your subheading
Subheading fonts should be a little less dramatic, but more importantly, they should pair well with your heading. The best way to pair fonts is to make them contrasting. So if you’ve got a swirly, fun heading, try a more simple and modern subheading. If you’ve got a thick, bold heading, try a light airy subheading.
3. Choose an easy to read paragraph (body) font
Your paragraph font will be used for the large paragraphs on your website, your email newsletters etc. So the most important point here is that it’s very easy to read. No fancy fonts here! But you can definitely choose a simple font that has personality.
And now you have your font palette in Canva!
Step 6: Choose your “inspiration” images
The final step of creating a beautiful mood board in Canva is to include photos and images that are inspiring and reflect your salon personality.
Go back to your Pinterest board and pick out three photos that express your colors, your vibe, and your personality.
Also, keep in mind that any photos you use in your marketing, you must have the right to use! Either use a free photo site like pexels.com or purchase stock photos.
Upload your photos into Canva and drag them over and into the photo frames you already put at the bottom of your board:
Step 7: Use your branding board!
You now have a bunch of beautiful colors, fonts and images to inspire and guide you whenever you need to do marketing or design for your salon.
Here are some examples of some of the branding boards I’ve made (for pretend brands) in Canva. Maybe they will inspire you!
I hope that you now feel ready to take on the world and brand your salon online with your own mood board! It's actually super easy to make one in Canva, and it is a huge help in creating a consistent visual identity.
If you want a more detailed guide to branding, I've got just the thing for you! I've written a totally FREE eBook just for salon owners called "The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Beautiful Salon Brand". Download it below!