Visual Identity and Site Design

We find one of the best ways to tease out the visual identity of your site is through a process called moodboarding. A mood board is a collage of text, images, and multimedia used to convey a particular mood, attitude, and culture that lends to the design of a product. Your team and chosen designer will use the technique of moodboarding to create a design for your site. The process is a fun discovery of what makes your scene and your city unique, and how you want that uniqueness to define your site’s aesthetics. 

Mood Boarding Process

Start this process by considering these questions:
  • What places, people, and objects immediately come to mind as representative of your city and its scene? 
  • What stuff do you believe is at the core of your audience? 
  • With what does your target market most strongly identify? 
Before you dive into your search for items to fill your collage, we suggest that you take some time to brainstorm and plan your search. We have a template you can copy that uses the following four categories to organize your search:
  1. Attributes
  2. Visual cues
  3. Don’ts
With your team, fill in what makes sense for each category given the above questions. Here are example brainstorms done by Chicago, Austin, and DoStuff before starting the process. They highlighted the terms with which they most strongly identified to prioritize finding corresponding multimedia.

After you've spent some time brainstorming, begin your search for images, words, video clips, and sound clips to post to your mood board. 

Here are a few examples (password is “moodboard”):

Your Mood Board Setup

We would love for you to use the Tumblr we have created for this process when running through it with other cities. Please read the instructions carefully so as not to lose your work!

Login Info:
P: moodboard

  1. On top right, click on "New Stuff from DoStuff" and change your selected blog to "DoStuff Mood Board"
  2. On top menu, choose the type of content you'd like to post ("Text" / "Photo" / "Quote" / etc.)
  3. Add/upload content
  4. Make sure the "Post to" field in the top right corner is set to "DoStuff MoodBoard"
  5. Type "CITY NAME" into the "tags" field in the right-hand column
  6. Enter a caption describing your upload (and why it's significant, if you think people won't know)
  7. Click "Create Post" on the bottom left corner

Get Designing!

Get your designer and your team to sit down with your roughly complete mood board. Start with your logo and color scheme as these are hugely definitive of your site’s visual identity. You’ll work your way through searching for appropriate fonts and finally images that will fit into your site.

Along the way, be sure to check out this additional guidance for logo design as well as reference our other site logos and designs

A note about your site: There are not a huge number of elements you are responsible for designing. Our layout favors simplicity in order to highlight the information and actions most important to your user’s experience. Given that, the design that you do control has a huge impact on how you distinguish yourself as a brand and connect to your audience. So take your time and enjoy the process of making design decisions!
Subpages (1): Finding Your Designer