Here at Boxcar Creative, we use Brand Tiles (or style tiles) to convey the design direction for any website or digital collateral we plan to build. Our clients often mistake a Brand Tile for website layouts. But as we usually have to emphasize, they are NOT layouts. 🙂


Brand Tiles are a design deliverable in the form of a digital mood board that consist of fonts, colors, photo treatments, buttons and other interface elements that communicate the visual essence of a brand for the digital space. They assist with forming a common visual language between our designers and our clients and provide a stimulant for discussions around the design preferences of the client.

oilogic brand tile

The best analogy for Brand Tiles is that they’re similar to an interior designer’s finish palette or mood board. The paint chips and fabric swatches an interior designer presents must be approved before going all in and designing a room.
 The same idea applies to our process in designing websites. Our Web designer will not design three different webpage mock ups for a client at the first design kick-off meeting. It simply is not efficient or cost effective for either parties.

What is the Brand Tile process?

I. We Listen

It seems simple to come out and just tell your client what you think they need for their website, but your clients hold an invaluable amount of information about their industry that can intelligently inform the design of their website. So what we do is stop and listen by initiating a design kickoff meeting. During this meeting, our design team becomes acquainted with our client and we discuss the answers to their website design survey (completed before the meeting).

II. We Decode

During this phase, our designers individually interpret how the insight communicated during our meeting translates into design principles. With the meeting notes in hand, our designers are able to make choices about how to use the elements of design in their brand tile. Ultimately, the designer’s goal is to provide the perfect visual cues that will guide client’s subconscious assumptions towards the communicated desired adjectives and themes.

III. We Create

This is the step of our process in which the designer creates the Brand Tile. They determine themes from the aggregated feedback and begin to match those ideas up with styling techniques. The Brand Tiles give our client a point of reference to determine if their vision is aligned with the designer’s.

IV. We Repeat

To be as efficient as possible, we present multiple tiles to give our client information to work with that can influence the evolution of a final brand tile. We often see that our client’s opt to combine Brand Tile options; combining Brand Tiles fosters a process that allows for a natural evolution of stylistic elements without losing sight of the established design goals. Making revisions to Brand Tiles is a simpler and more objective manner of refining a visual design without being too vague or precise.

Like our process? We’d love to work with you! Feel free to drop us line on our contact page, if you’re interested in some killer web design.