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Designing and developing unique and memorable brand identities and marketing material.

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5 guidelines for creating brand guidelines

You’ve probably heard stories of companies paying good money for the design of a new corporate identity, or some product branding, to see it deteriorate further down the road, through lack of understanding, commitment, budget or some other reason. The following won’t guarantee success. But it’ll help.

1. Keep it simple

Not everyone understands the business of branding. And the equity that arises through consistency. So design brand guidelines that are practical and easy to follow.

2. Show examples of use

Consider where the branding will be used. If there’s an up-and-coming need to design a new brochure, capitalise by demonstrating how your proposed identity will work on it.

3. Send with a full set of branding assets

Marketing departments, graphic designers and printers will need:

  • Illustrator AI or EPS files in pantone and CMYK
  • JPEGs in RGB at 72dpi and CMYK at 300dpi
  • PNGs for anything with transparency, such as a white-out logo that needs to appear on a coloured background in PowerPoint

4. Establish a guardian

You can have the best branding in the world, but unless there’s someone at the helm, making sure that design guidelines are followed and your identity is consistent (and with the authority to police it), you run the risk of diluting your brand. So make sure someone’s responsible for it.

5. Prepare to evolve

Over time, all branding can become a little tired. So keep it fresh. Build in review periods. Benchmark against your competitors, or companies you aspire to. But try to resist ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ when making design changes, unless it’s absolutely necessary. Often, a slight change in colour palette or typeface can be enough. Or the addition, or improvement, of a single element. After all, what’s in vogue today, may not be ‘flavour of the month’ tomorrow. So allow your brand to grow and develop.

About the author:
Phil Armstrong is an award-winning Art Director and Designer with over 25 years experience in brand design, marketing and advertising. He works directly or through design and advertising agencies for clients and brands throughout the world and can be reached or commissioned by clicking here.

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