Part 7: Setting the Brand Standard
Once the logo is developed and approved by the client, that doesn’t mean that the designer’s work is done. There are two critical tasks that remain before you can call it a wrap on any logo development project. The first is relatively obvious…
Create a logo master disk
Prepare one or more master disks of the logo in various formats to give to the client.
The master disk is an essential part of enforcing a brand standard because it provides the customer with a hands-on resource that he can use to access the logo for any purpose needed. What I’ve unfortunately seen is that designers will only provide customers with one or two formats of their logo; or worse, only provide the client with a printout of the logo and retain the logo files for themselves (forcing the customer to request the logo files from the designer). The result is that the customer ends up scanning a printed version of the logo (rather than pay the designer his fee for formatting the logo) and provides that reproduction to any vendor needing the file. Not only does this provide a less-than-ideal copy of the logo, but it also diminishes the color integrity of the brand.
When I prepare a logo disk, I give the client high-resolution files in at least 10 different file formats. I’ve learned to anticipate how and when a certain format will be used and I provide those formats to the client – along with a briefing of which file is good for what purpose – so that they have the resources they need to protect and build their own brand identity.
I give them vector versions of the logo for professional applications (AI, EPS, PDF, WMF and CDR), I give them high-resolution raster versions of the logo – a minimum 5″ x 5″ @ 300 ppi) for more general use (PSD, GIF, PNG, JPEG, BMP and TIFF). If they have specific needs other than those formats (for example SVG or SWF files), I make sure to provide those as well.
What I don’t want is for the client to be stuck looking for, or requesting someone else to make a format conversion of their logo. I’ve learned that it’s unwise to trust other designers to faithfully and accurately work with the files I create. Don’t get me wrong, there are many talented, wonderful graphic designers out there, but for every good designer, there are a hundred bad designers — designers who aren’t up to snuff on the latest programs or techniques; designers who are cheaper than I am, but also far less talented and not as attentive to detail.
As a design and marketing professional, I (and you) will want to make sure that I build in as many control mechanisms into the logo creation process as possible so I can help the customer help himself (and others) maintain brand consistency.
Logo and Brand Usage Guide
The second and final obligation a designer has to the logo creation process is the development of a logo and brand usage guide (LBU).
Quite often, logo development doesn’t come as a standalone project; it’s usually tied to a corporate identity package with envelopes, business cards and letterhead. The LBU serves as written documentation for the accurate and effective use of the logo, colors and fonts. All of which are critical components to building a company’s brand.
The LBU is designed to be a thorough document and account for as many uses and applications of the brand as possible. Below is a breakdown of the many areas the LBU covers:
- Specifies the minimum size and proportions of a logo
- Dictates how much white space must be given around the logo to separate it from competing elements
- Covers how the logos is to be displayed when used with other logos
- Specifies the spot and process color breakdowns of the inks used in the logo
- Provides complementary colors/schemes that can be used in conjunction with the logo
- Dictates how a logo (and which version) is to be used in black & white, spot, full-color and reverse layout situations.
- Details, with samples, the fonts used in the logo and those typefaces to be used for any corporate branding, marketing or online purpose.
- Provides size restrictions on how small or in what proportion any one font can be used in conjunction with another
- Specifies what styles of fonts (italic, bold, black, semibold, display, etc.) can be used for branding, marketing, and online purposes.
- Provides samples of any alternate images or icons that can be used to supplement or enhance the brand presentation (this may be a separate image like a dingbat or design element).
- Dictates proportion of those elements in respect to the logo and other elements so as to not overshadow the brand.
Want an example of what a Logo and Brand Usage Guide looks like? Just click the link at the end of this paragraph to view Allegra’s LBU. You can use it as a reference for when you are developing your own corporate branding standards. Allegra Branding Guide
Both of the above components serve as a critical piece toward ensuring effective and long-lasting reinforcement and use of your logo. Clients, publications and designers alike won’t understand the proper use of their logo unless it is spelled out and that you instruct them as to the importance of consistency when it comes to building a ‘Brand with Bite.’ Most savvy clients understand the importance of brand stability, but some don’t. The best you can do is to enforce it as long as you’re attached to the account and to give them the tools and information they need to do it themselves.