Brand standards are a set of guidelines for the colors; photography and graphic elements; logo specs; fonts and messaging that comprise your brand. They’re the glue that holds your brand together and help to create and protect your firm’s brand identity.
Once they’re established, it’s imperative that all employees understand and uphold them. Many firms invest a considerable amount of both human and capital resources into developing a unique brand identity, only to see them diluted along the way. Here’s why brand standards are so important, and why you should implement them within everything that you do.
Consistent visual identity correlates with brand recognitionThe most powerful brands not only have a great visual identity, but that identity is methodically reinforced across every single touchpoint. Having a brand standards guide that is strictly enforced throughout the company helps to ensure consistency, which over time supports strong brand recognition amongst clients and prospects.
Standards help guide your employeesThe whole point of brand guidelines is to help every person in the organization understand your mission and uphold the integrity of the brand in everything that they do. Providing context for what the brand represents and how the various elements work together gives employees a common language and reinforces the importance of a consistent brand experience. Additionally, documented brand standards can help onboard new employees or external agency partners by serving as a reference for communication materials.
Defining logo usage and “lockups”Your logo is the cornerstone of your visual brand identity. Therefore, a logo specifications guide is one of the most important elements to document, providing strict instruction on how the logo can, and cannot, be used. No one should ever be able to adjust the look of your logo. Critical guidelines for size, positioning, margins and colors should be clearly outlined, as well as various “lockups” for all acceptable variations (color, black and white, horizontal, vertical, etc.) of the logo depending on placement and usage.
Specify colors and fontsThe brand guidelines should specify a primary set of Pantone colors to use for the majority of your communication materials. You may also have a secondary color palette to use as accents that enhance the design of marketing materials. It’s also important to specify your palette in RGB and HEX color formats for use in digital applications, such as your website, social media profiles and email.
In addition to specifying the color palette, it’s equally important to specify the corporate typefaces or fonts that represent your brand. You’ll first specify the names of the fonts (usually 2-3 different fonts are used), but you’ll also want to give guidance on weights (light, regular, bold, condensed, etc.), size specifications and other considerations such as rules for all caps, no caps, small caps, italics, etc.
New York City is now an epicenter of art, culture, and a booming economy amongst being one of the largest cities in America. Although, things have not always been this way. New York City also claims some of America’s richest history. Some struggling artists in today’s NYC may be having trouble paying for their outrageous rental costs and may be living on microwaveable noodles but if you dig a little deeper into the city’s history this is nothing in comparison to many of the city’s previous inhabitants who experienced many hardships and struggles in their lives.
In the early 1900’s, food was scarce, and life was hard, yet people all around the world were fleeing to America: hearing tales of oranges the size of baking potatoes; fields of grain waving under sunny skies; clean, dry houses with indoor plumbing and electricity. Most importantly, jobs were plentiful. Thousands of immigrants made way for Ellis Island with big dreams.
During this period many did not survive. There was a mass relocation of orphan children during this time. NYC is widely recognized as the beginning of documented foster care in America. It was estimated that 30,000 abandoned children were living on the streets. From 1854 to 1929 an estimated 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children were placed throughout the United States and Canada during the Orphan Train Movement.
Within this sea of immigrants, people had to figure out a way to survive starting at a young age. It was necessary to pick up a craft to survive. Instruments, shoemaking, tailoring, to name just a few. This was the birth of the what I call the “Original Creatives.” You had to be creative to stand out and provide for your family. This is a common thread between most of us, coming to America and building lives for our families. Look how far we’ve come!
Please share your stories on how your family came to America and found creative ways to survive, prosper and find love.
There’s something about the creative brainstorm process that requires you to be in a certain frame of mind, to feel inspired and focused so that you can create your best work. It’s especially frustrating when you’re moving along, trying to be your creative self–and, suddenly, nothing feels right. You’re struggling with a creative block.
A creative block is the last thing you need when your whole job is built on being inventive! But no worries, move on! Here are some tips from professional designers and famous artists on how to overcome the creative block and stay inspired.
It is different for everyone. When a creative block strikes, try some of these tips and see what sticks: get inspired by others around you… artists and creatives; do something completely different; try another approach to your work; or just take a break.
1. Try a digital break Walk away from the computer and draw. As a designer in the digital age we create most of our work digitally. But sometimes all you need to do is get back to basics. The act of drawing with an actual pen (or pencil or even paint) on actual paper will make you look at things differently and will give you a whole new perspective on whatever you’re working on.
2. You can’t force creativity. If nothing seems to be working, don’t force it. Forcing ourselves to ‘be creative’ is pointless. Everyone loses steam sometimes. It’s ok to walk away and try again later on, after you’ve given your brain a break. You may be pleasantly surprised to see what happens after a little recharge time. Do something else and maybe let the ideas float in the back of your head until you’re ready to make the work for real.
3. Find new sources of inspiration. Do something completely out of your comfort zone. Inspiration is everywhere. Looking at other designer’s work can be incredibly inspiring. You might learn something new while getting rid of your creative block.Inspiration can be found anywhere, not just in the visual arts. When in doubt, immerse yourself in a cultural experience outside of your work: go to a movie, a play or a concert. This is an opportunity to awaken your senses.
4. Take on a boring task. Go wash dishes! Whether it’s cleaning the house, going for a walk or sometimes you just need to do something to clear your head. A simple, methodical task is exactly what you need to give your mind a break and reboot.
5. Allow yourself to fail. Are you holding yourself back because you’re afraid your work won’t be good enough? It’s time to shake off your worries and push through. Taking risks will help you sharpen your skills. You may find yourself creating work you never dreamed possible. It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. Allowing ourselves to make mistakes is how we learn and challenge our creativity.
6. Take care of yourself Listen to your body. If you’re finding yourself tense with pressure, give yourself permission to abandon your struggle. Breathe, eat a snack, or do something else. Be kind to yourself. Sometimes taking care of yourself is all you need to recharge and trigger a breakthrough.
7. Break it down into manageable chunks. Sometimes a project or task can seem so big and overwhelming that we lose track of what really matters and we get stuck. Time to take a step back. Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. You can tackle them one at a time and the big picture will come together bit by bit.While pressure may not always be the solution, sometimes it’s just what you need to get over a creative slump. If there’s one thing that can get your adrenaline pumping, it’s a hard deadline.
8. Don’t be afraid to push boundaries Is it possible that you’re putting up your own creative barriers out of fear of pushing your skills?Creativity takes courage. Perhaps your creative block means that deep down you’re afraid to take the next step and do something new and different. It takes guts to be truly creative and put new ideas out there. Figure out what it is that you’re afraid of. What holds you back? Once you overcome that fear, you’ll overcome creative block.
Creative block happens to the best of us, but it doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks. With a little advice from the pros, you’ll be back on track in no time. Whenever your creativity hits a snag, go through this list of tips from expert designers and famous artists on overcoming that mental blockage.
With over a billion on social networks, consumers choose who to hear and who to ignore. A growing body of research is supporting the need for content to strike an emotional chord if it’s to go viral. With the alarming levels of content hitting the internet, it is clear that content marketers must find a way to distinguish themselves by emotionally amplifying their content. This will likely shift the bulk of content formats from one of instruction and information to one of entertainment and inspiration.
To be effective, brands and small firms have to show their true colors while surprising us with playful content, awe inspiring imagery, sentimental pleas or passionate performances. Add stories of generosity or triumph; and you may find the key to establishing emotional connections that get your content to go viral.
Marketers with the most social clout are often known for their inspiration appeal. You have to be able to drive conversations that literally spark a movement. One way to do this is to educate them. Our research showed no direct influence between entertainment and social influence, but it did show an indirect influence through inspirational motivation.
The suggestion here is to dress up your content with humor and visual storytelling as a way to inspire your audience.
Why is this important? Imagine a buyer in total control of the sales process (i.e. inbound marketing). Most of the buyer journey is done digitally, and 60% of the cycle is complete before they contact sales. With over 850 million websites equipped for blogging, everyone wants the buyer’s attention.
Let us know if you need help with Web, Branding Social Media and Digital Advertising.
Contrary to what many entrepreneurs may think, a product is not a brand. Many companies
launch products before creating a brand for themselves. Unfortunately, they start out wrong before they have even left the gates.
At Scully Creative we start at the starting line. We begin with brainstorming and formulate a brand strategy. You will investigate and discover your brand’s why. You’ll have a much clearer vision of your mission and what direction to take your business (not just your product).
While lots of people have different perceptions about what marketing should be, for us, good marketing is all about creating a powerful and compelling brand experience for customers.
Brands should be inspiring - that should be your ultimate goal! Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, create most of the jobs and empower our local communities. Innovation and creativity often come from the breakthrough, on-the-ground thinking of small businesses.
Clients may expect marketing and branding to be a never-ending job. We don’t treat it that way. We make the process fun, collaborative, educational and easy. It’s about you and your story. Why not make it authentic!
Challenge us – call us and find out how! 602-402-1824
Working in advertising throughout my life has led me down this path. My team makes brands stand out and helps companies move the needle on the bottom line.