When Is It Necessary?
Generally speaking, mood boarding mostly pertains to projects involving new branding or a brand refresh, where a brand or style guides don’t yet exist.
If there are any existing visual assets (logos, iconography, fonts, photography, brand or style guides, etc.) they should be sent to you (or your designer) ahead of time. What is staying vs. what can be updated should be discussed, not assumed, and clearly defined in the creative brief. This will inform the scope of work for generating any new design assets. If you’re setting out on a complete rebranding overhaul, for instance, and require all new assets from scratch, mood boarding from carte blanche is highly recommended.
If there are strict brand guidelines already in place, there will be much less need to develop the feel or mood of the project. However, if there are no web-specific brand guidelines to follow, you’ll still need to produce a style guide outlining elements such as colour palette, typography, buttons, forms, etc.