October, 2015

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The Importance of Branding Guidelines

They are known by various monikers, brand guidelines, style guides, brand standard or brand books, however their purpose is simple and focused. They help guide how your business communicates with its target audience and customer. Branding guidelines help establish the basic rules about the logo, colour, palette, imagery, photography, visual device, typography etc. It sets out a concrete list of do’s and don’ts for those using the brand’s logo or other communication material and provides symmetry to the brand’s visual communication with the people. This helps as a guide in maintaining a strong brand personality and projecting a uniform face to its target demographic.

Your brand is one of the most valuable assets you have. To ensure that it is projected in the right way across the board is of prime interest. Branding guidelines provide the users of the logo, its colour palette etc. set rules for what can and cannot be done. They also help explain why and how the employees, distributors or other agencies and vendors should use the brand to achieve their objectives and provides guidelines to do the same.

The most important goal of branding guidelines is to make sure that all the concerned individuals and agencies using the brand, use the brand elements as intended and consistently so. These guidelines provide crucial information and set standards of using logos, typefaces, brand names and other design elements in ads and other marketing and promotional material. These guidelines give a brand the control over the visual aspect of their promotion and make it consistent across the board.

These guidelines are also crucial time savers as they help those concerned understand rapidly how the brand needs to be projected and/or used. Agencies often waste time on redoing their designs because of a logo used unlike how explained in the branding guidelines, something which is anathema to any creative agency. It might be okay for a small business to not have branding guidelines, but sooner or later as the business grows these guidelines become important. Increasing opportunities to market your brand have made branding guidelines crucial for businesses. Branding guidelines give your brand a sheen of professionalism and provide you a consistent projection of the company’s values and ethics while laying down the rules for communication.

Branding guidelines can contain the following items:

About the business – This may or may not form a part of your branding guidelines, but including it just makes the whole process a lot simpler. It explains how the company functions, its ethics and standards. This can also included a vision statement or a mission statement of the company which is in sync with the guidelines and work-ethic expressed.

Tone – Each company has a particular voice in the branding sphere, branding guidelines help the user identify key words and phrases that the brand identifies with and helps them better express and showcase the brand. Keeping the voice of the brand consistent is crucial to keep the attention of the audience focused.

Logo – The use of the logo identifies how the brand is being promoted. Different sizes can do various things to the logo and its clarity. Branding guidelines help you identify size restrictions, space restrictions, colours to be used, and how it works with different backgrounds.

Typeface – The logo of the company may be written in a particular font which is used by the brand across the board. The branding guidelines help identify fonts used for the logo, headings, sub-headings etc. and help make it look visually appealing and symmetrical.

Images – If any images are to be used around the brand these guidelines provide you an understanding of what kind of images must be used and the feel they should project.

Branding guidelines can also contain templates for visiting cards, brochures, letterheads etc. which help the user understand how the brand can be used for various collaterals. These guidelines are crucial to the survival of a brand and help it be identified easily and effectively by its target customers.

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The Importance of Colour and Typography in Design

Designing, unlike what most people think, involves a great deal of strategy. Understanding all the necessary elements that need to be considered, making sure they are seamlessly melded with others which highlight the message intended. Be it product designing, package designing, or even designing a simple brochure or logo, making sure you have your color and typography in order is half the battle won.

Designing something is the act of creating a product that will be appealing to not only the client, and the group of individuals that are familiar with it, but also attract those that have had no past association with it. This involves a keen sense of color and proportion on the part of the designer because a shade lighter or darker can make all the difference in the world to the end result.

Understanding the importance of color and typography in design also has a lot to do with understanding the psychology of the consumer you are dealing with. For example, using dark shades of brown and yellow won’t go down too well when designing for a bathroom fixture catalog. In the same way typography can make or break the message the design is hoping to convey. Finding the correct fonts and size is the difference between a good logo and bad. You can be the most serious of consulting companies but a funky font in the logo may just be killing your vibe for prospective clients.

Consider the design a live interaction with the user. At the heart of it, that is all that needs to be understood. The idea is to make sure that the message intended is conveyed and without any gaps in the translation. These two aspects, color and typeface, make sure that the product stands out among the clutter for any prospective customer. For a regular, these elements become associated with the brand and cause a regular recall.

The biggest challenge for any designer is to find a color and font that suits the personality of the brand. Making sure you have the right one can involve many a day worth of discussions with the client, or in some cases one decisive minute. The only point is to be able to find the perfect combination that helps your product achieve the kind of visibility it deserves. However, having said that, many a brand has been brought low because of an over-adherence to complicated designing or frequent changes in branding colors and fonts. This can lead to the client getting confused and often mistake a new brand for an old one. There is great merit in consistency, in this more so than anything else. As important as it might be to find the right color and typographical representation for your client, it is just as important to stick by the ones finally decided upon.

Take the most recent instance of Google. A new CEO ushered in a subtle change in logo. While they had settled in on a final color scheme back in 1999, there have been little tweaks in this iconic word mark for ages. However, the latest change has brought about a massive burst of commentary on its elegance and adaptability to various screen sizes. One of the biggest figures being quoted around is ‘305 bytes as compared to 14,000 bytes’, and it is an important figure at that. In a single swoop Google not only changed their brand mark for the better but also announced their future intentions – bringing internet to areas of the world still without access to it.

The power of a strong typeface and color scheme, that represents a brand best, is not to be underestimated. Having said that, there should be no hesitations towards periodic change so as to better adapt and evolve through the changing market. A constant evolution in an effort to adapt is the only true reality of design.