Web Design Newsletter Archives
05/28/2008 - Your Visual Identity & Standards Manual
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Vol. 1 No. 10 - May 28, 2008
In This Issue
- Your Visual Identity & Standards Manual
- Logo & Logotype
- Color Palette
Welcome to the May 28th edition of Scribbles!. In the May 14th issue we covered the basic steps needed to create and distribute a press release. In this issue let's take a look at another bit of simple marketing, your company's visual identity.
Your Visual Identity
A strong visual identity is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal to create a unique and consistent image for your company. A solid Visual Identity Standards Manual & Kit will guide you and the members of your company when you prepare print ads, web site content, collateral material (pamphlets, tearsheets and handouts), trade show signage and any other visuals that you use to communicate with your prospects, your customers and with the general public.
The main elements of your visual identity are your logo (and/or logotype), your typefaces and your color palette. How you use these elements should be described in your Standards Manual. This Manual, whether hard-copy or digital, should contain various specimens of your logo, logotype, typefaces and color palette. It should also contain fairly explicit directions on how and when to use them.
Instead of a weak or diffuse image of what your company stands for, a cohesive visual identity will help to position your company and to differentiate it from your competitors.
Logo & Logotype
- Your Logo
One of the strongest visual elements of your marketing is your logo. It makes sense to have several different camera-ready and/or digital specimens of it on hand so that you can quickly and accurately put together printed pieces and other items for distribution.
Your Standards Manual will ideally contain several different sizes of the logo, as well as instructions on where and when they should be used. You may, for example, have a two-color representation of the logo for use on black & white communications such as faxes and newspaper or trade journal ads. Your standards manual will also contains full-color specimens for use in glossy magazine ads, web banners and signage.
The Standards Manual will also guide you when you are preparing layouts that incorporate your logo. For example, it will tell you and the members of your organization where to place the logo on an printed or digital piece.
- Looking Good in Print
Once you or your graphic designer have picked a typeface, the Standards Manual will remind you of what it is and of how and when to use it.
If your typefaces are, for example, Garamond Light Condensed for headlines and Myriad Pro for body type, then there should not be any communications layed out in Courier or Comic Sans coming out of your organization.
The Standards Manual will also guide members of your organization on what sizes and weights should be used in different applications. Company correspondence, for example, should be in 10- or 12-pt. Book (normal weight), not 14-pt. Black (bold).
- Cool blue, vibrant yellow, manic orange
Your company's color palette is determined by several things: your logo colors, the image you wish to project and your target audience. Once you and your graphic designer have settled on a color palette, the Standards Manual will assist you in keeping that palette the same across all of your different visual communications media.
Coca-Cola red is the same worldwide. It's a different red than, say, Office Depot red or Target red. How do these companies do this? In order to maintain a business's color standards, a print shop will ask for the colors to be represented as either percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK), or spot colors and process colors (for example, Pantone, Toyo, DIC and ANPA). Web and onscreen colors are traditionally defined by percentages of red, green and blue (RGB), with applications available to convert from CMYK and process colors to the hexadecimal color sets used online.
By having these values readily available in your Standards Manual you can quickly and efficiently share them with a new print shop, graphic designer or web developer.
In order to project a strong and dynamic image your business should have an unambiguous visual identity. Once the visual identity is defined via your logo, typefaces and color palette, it is simply a matter of codifying it in a Company Standards Manual and accompanying sample Kit so that you and members of your comapny can refer to it whenever you are preparing visual communication pieces.
Next time we'll discuss how to get big returns even if you have a low-budget for your marketing plan.
Big Returns on a Low Budget Marketing Plan
- Word of Mouth (Referrals)
- Co-op Advertising