A blog by Caitlin Aitchison (Senior Graphic Designer at Trident Marketing)
Branding is in my DNA. It’s something I do regularly in my role, whether it’s designing a logo for a company from scratch or working up an aesthetic for a new home development. It’s an incredibly creative process, starting with name ideas. I go on the hunt for inspiration – which could be researching a local area and its history, simply looking at the world around me, or hitting up Dribbble and Behance for a dose of design genius.
From there the logo develops. I design various options, regularly checking their implementation on brochure covers. It’s so easy to get carried away, but making sure a logo works in situ is incredibly important. Next come the colours, then any associated graphic design elements that can help bring the brand to life – such as an eye-catching background pattern.
And yet… no matter how chuffed I am with what I design, it would all be fruitless without brand guidelines.
What Are Brand Guidelines?
Essentially, they’re a set of rules which can determine how a brand presents itself. They can be as in-depth or as simple as you like, as long as they work for your company. First and foremost, they showcase the correct logos and desired spacing, colours, fonts and design, but they can also go on to specify tone of voice, what the business symbolises, 3D accompaniments and much more.
Why Are Brand Guidelines Important?
These guidelines stabilise your brand’s integrity, consistency and recognisability. They also anchor what you’re all about, giving guidance to a potentially wide breadth of people. For example, you may do some tasks in-house and others with a marketing agency, but you need everyone singing from the same hymn sheet.
When Should You Update Brand Guidelines?
Don’t be afraid to update them if you need to. Naturally, you’ll have new ones created if you’re undergoing a full redesign, but you’ll also need to update them as your brand develops in smaller ways – perhaps you’ve launched a new website and the logo needs to be displayed in a different way, or maybe you’d like to introduce foiling to your print marketing. The number one rule? Make sure you rename them (i.e. Trident Marketing Brand Guidelines September 2023) and distribute to everyone that needs them.
At Trident Marketing, we can design your branding and the accompanying guidelines – whether you have an existing brand or you’ve got nothing but a blank sheet of paper. Our offering massively varies. For a new home developer such as Weston Homes, we’ve created guidelines for their main logo, along with countless guidelines for their developments. These can be short-lived, because once the properties have sold they’re no longer needed – but that doesn’t make them any less vital.
In addition to my recent project of creating brand guidelines for Finborough School, I delved into a comprehensive and meticulous process to ensure the school’s identity is consistently represented across various touchpoints. This encompassed selecting specific embroidery thread colours to adorn the school’s knitwear, crafting email footers to maintain a high level of professionalism in digital communications, and developing a suite of alternative logos tailored for distinct scenarios like compliment slips and promotional materials. It’s important to note that these guidelines are adaptable, with customisation options available to meet the unique needs of the brand in each case. This approach ensures a versatile and cohesive visual identity for Finborough School, enhancing its recognition and impact in diverse contexts.