Five Simple Ways to Maintain Your Brand Standards
Whenever we work with a client on their brand, at the end of the process we hand them their “brand standards,” the rules and guidelines around the proper usage and presentation of their brand to the world. These standards ensure consistency in sizing, positioning, and in how and when to utilize color, maximizing the recognizability and the impact of the brand.
Most folks take a quick look at these guidelines and file them away, never to be referred to again. We see this happen all too often. Over time, they unwittingly dilute the power of their brand by making little changes here and there, ignoring the boundaries set by the designer. It’s understandable, but it’s always a mistake.
Below are some simple ways to ensure that you stay true to your brand standards and stay consistent.
1. Stick to your color palette. There are generally a couple of primary colors that define your look. These are often accompanied by suggested supplementary colors. Stay away from these supplementary colors unless you’re already using the primary colors. Color is one of the most recognizable elements of any brand. Think Coca Cola red, Mapco green and orange, AT&T blue.
2. Be careful with your logo. It should always be easy to see. For example, your logo might get lost on a busy background, so don’t use it there. You may have to use a one-color or a black & white version of your logo in order for it to be clearly seen. That’s okay, as long as the logo is easily visible and readable.
3. Tagline – If your company has an established tagline, use it exclusively. Don’t water down your brand by creating additional catchy phrases. We once worked with a client who came to us with three separate taglines. This blurs your focus and confuses potential customers. Stick to one clear message, one distinctive tagline.
4. Many logos feature an icon or “mark” that has been designed to work in proportion to the rest of the logo. That positioning has been carefully thought out, so you should never change that mark’s position in relation to the typographical part of the logo. They have been specifically designed to work together.
5. Typography – Your brand standards include things like typefaces and type families, specific font sizes, and the hierarchy and positioning of the fonts your brand uses. When designing promotional materials, ads, brochures, etc., be sure to utilize fonts that are appropriate to the nature of your brand and the message you want to convey. For example, if you’re a trucking company, a formal-and-elaborate script font would probably be out of place.
These are just a few tips to help ensure that you stay consistent with every element of your established brand. Without these guidelines, it’s very difficult to maintain that all-important consistency over time. Ignore those brand standards at your peril!