Design brand guidelines: Annoying, but vital

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You've been asked to speak at an industry event tomorrow and you put together a few slides on the latest industry trends to try to develop solid leads and establish a greater industry presence.


Not ten minutes later, you get a call from your graphics department or branding guru telling you it’s all wrong, screaming words like "typeface!", "white space!" and "identity" down the phone at you. What a drag.

Necessary evil

While the document you put together might have looked great on its own, the need for a consistent brand tone and voice does, and should, trump all other concerns.

To put it bluntly, there's no better way for a company to say "look, we have our s*** together here, OK?!" than having consistent branding across all of its collateral, whether it be as important as a landing page on a website, or as small as a business card.

Just think about it: we've all been in that position where we have a peek at a client's, or perhaps a rival's, website and notice that their social media page hasn't updated to its new ultra-expensive logo.

Sure, this might be a small error, but it just screams sloppiness and in competitive markets can create a first impression poor enough to scare away a valuable.

An admission of guilt

At Axonn, we're not afraid to admit that we haven't got this stuff right in the past. Previous changes in branding took months to push through and were implemented inconsistently.

But while our branding took longer than we would have liked to put together, the five-page PDF instructing staff on how they should present any outbound document has become something of a bible.

No longer do we get people asking "what's that font we use called again?" or "is this red red enough?" - saving our branding guys time while getting everyone on the same page regarding our collateral.

Flexibility

However, while consistency is key, it's important that branding documents retain some degree of flexibility and not completely squash any creativity.

Far too often we see other companies focus on two or three colours and not allow anything else to be used on infographics, presentations or logos. This kind of approach doesn't serve anyone well and can cause things to look overly corporate. Put simply, to have an agile, approachable brand, your colours (in both quantity and shade) need to have the diversity to reflect this.

We decided to have four main brand colours - a red, a green, a blue and a yellow - with black and white as secondary colours. This allows a huge amount of creativity, but still retains an "Axonn" feel so that all of our collateral is consistent.

We hope this will allow us to access more potential clients down the line, but, if nothing else, at least it looks really, really cool.

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Axonn Media's graphics team now offers the creation of brand guideline PDFs for clients looking to streamline their graphical identity.

For more information, contact 020 7517 2297 and ask to speak to Matt.

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