The Brand Police Are Your Friends
Working as a graphic designer, I often hear the term “brand police” bandied about by my fellow designers. And when it comes to creating, explaining, and/or enforcing brand standards, I am fully capable of being the bad cop. The elements around any brand – from the logo to the fonts to the chosen colors – were chosen and applied for specific reasons. All work in concert to express the qualities that distinguish you and your business.
Putting those pieces together takes time, effort and expertise, but without effective follow up, all of that work can go to waste. The best way to ensure that your brand stays strong is to create brand standards that lay out exactly how your brand should be used. Then, of course, you have to stick to them.
So, what are brand standards exactly? Brand standards are instructions your designer leaves with you to maintain and use your brand in different situations over various media. It enables you and your team to stay totally on brand while creating cohesiveness across all platforms. Creating brand standards not only reinforces your company’s visual identity, it brings clarity to every touch point, every customer encounter. For clients, brand standards provide reassurance that your brand is authentic and reliable over time. Carefully curated brand standards eliminate confusion and foster customer loyalty.
Too often, after finishing up a branding project for a business, a few months go by and we’ll see that someone has retooled or restructured the company logo or played fast and loose with the prescribed company colors. No, no, and no. You really do not want to do that. Not only because it drives your designer nuts, but because it really does water down your brand and make all of your marketing less than optimally successful.
Be thankful if you work with a graphic designer that will chase you down and correct you when you veer from the standards created specifically for your brand. As Steve Forbes, Editor in Chief of Forbes magazine, once said, “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” Like any major investment, if you nurture and protect it, it will serve you well for years to come.