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How to StartOnce you have the perfect logo, it is important to maintain the integrity of it across platforms. This includes how the logo is to be used, from placement to acceptable alterations. Adobe’s 2010 Brand Guidelines do a great job of defining exactly how the logo can be used, outlining placement, size and surrounding white space. Remember, your logo is the simplest thing people have to identify your brand, make sure you maintain a consistent use of that image.
TypographyThere should be a defined style for every bit of type used for a brand, for both print and digital applications. Rules for how to use typography should be clear and distinct, from what typefaces are acceptable, how each is used, and guidelines for additional styling, size and use of color. Select a few typefaces that will be used in design projects. This may include one set of rules for print projects and another for digital applications. But make sure the typefaces have some common links.
A defined color palette can be one of the most important aspects of the brand bible. Consider the Golden Arches and color the represent McDonald’s, for example. Would you as clearly recognize this company if the giant M was another color? The brand bible should outline each color and how it should be used. This includes colors that appear only in a logo to colors that are used for backgrounds, text and other design elements. The numbers of colors in a palette should be kept to a minimum and can include fully saturated versions and tints.
ImagesGuidelines for images are about more than just whether you will rely on photography or illustrations or other types of graphics. The brand bible should detail how images will be gathered, edited and used. Nike, for example, relies on large, tight, high-contrast images to draw you in. The I Love NY campaign above uses location-based images from photos that are restyled as drawings to capture attention and create a feel.
Brand MessagingWrite down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes. Finally, you want to make sure the things you say fall in line with the brand image. This applies to everything from the headlines in an ad, to the tone of a press release, to the way blog posts are structured. Outline the type of acceptable language that will be used. Is the context wordy, or simple and compact? Should the tone be formal, or more conversational? Who is the audience you plan to target? Write for them.
"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity"
- Charles Mingus