When to follow the rules…
(Especially when it comes to branding)
As creatives we generally like to think of ourselves, as Steve Jobs so eloquently put it, “crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules…”. But when it comes to certain elements, particularly those in the world of design, we will confess that we are sticklers for a particular set of laws. Not merely perfectionists, we are law abiding to the point of annoyance. And, geek alert, we get maybe a little too excited when we see others following them too.
We know you are wondering, “what on God’s green earth are you crazy people talking about? What are these rules and why do they evoke such enthusiastic adherence?”
Queue drum roll… introducing the blessed… Brand Guidelines!!!
Don’t get all judgey this “bible for brands” is, simply put… beautiful, and a sure way of ensuring that your brand is communicated consistently and with the same pizzazz that it was initially intended.
There is nothing more disheartening than spending hours, days, weeks and even months finalising a beautiful new logo and brand for a client, only to see it a few days later slapped on the on back of a mini van with a random typeface and ugly 1997 embossed effect smacked on top! Come on people! *hidesface*
A brand guideline/booklet/bible/whatever you want to call it is a rulebook of sorts for your company stationary. Covering colours, fonts, logo do’s and don’ts and some general how to’s, it is one of those imperative little documents that should be passed on to anyone who dares touch your beautiful branding. We are talking to you Aunty Sue over there in the corner… sorry but your 5-minute “tutorial” from Johnny (who works in a completely unrelated industry) does not make you a design expert and, news flash, owning an illegal version of Photoshop does not make you a pro!
Ok, enough with the rant! Did you pick up that this is something we are REALLY passionate about?
It’s pretty simple though, follow your brand guidelines and you can be sure that 99.9% of the time you will always ensure that your brand looks beautiful, even 20 years from now! Unless you used a horrible designer…!
So, what should your Brand Bible cover?
Some brands get beautifully specific with their guidelines covering tonality and photography style as well as what iconography can and can’t be used.
If you don’t have the time or budget to develop something so complex all we suggest is that you make sure the basics are covered. Don’t get caught looking at your company branding 10 years from now wondering how your red turned to burnt orange and how you suddenly found yourself using a mix of 36 different fonts across different mediums.
A basic brand guideline should include:
- Colour palette (RGB, CMYK, Pantones)
- Font/type style
- Logo do’s and don’ts
- Layouts and grids
- Web specific elements