A User’s Manual For Your Logo

No matter who has designed your logo, at some point you will have to put it into someone else’s hands. This might be a staff member, a commercial printer, a web developer. How can you be sure the logo will appear as intended? Be sure you provide guidelines to the other party. When you’re concerned about developing your brand, the visual elements of that brand need to appear consistently across all your marketing platforms. If you use a variety of sources, say, one printer for your brochure, another printer for your trade show displays, you’ll need to establish a set of graphic standards.

 Every Branded Business and Organization Needs A Graphic Standards Manual

Most businesses need graphic standards. Unfortunately, most smaller businesses don’t have any. Graphic standards are written by the logo designer and communicate the parameters for how to use the logo properly. These are the basic ingredients in a graphic standards manual. You should discuss the breadth of applications with your designer at the beginning of the logo development project so that the standards manual will not require a lot of revision.

Primary Logo. The logo is shown accurately, as it is intended to appear. A verbal description discusses the logo components and how they relate to each other in terms of position and proportion.

Acceptable Variations. This section shows what variations of the logo may be used, in what situations they may be used. For example, a logo that is wide may need a tall version for use in some situations. Another example would be when a logo’s icon and type elements are used separately. If variations are necessary, the designer should create them. The number of variations should be limited.

Acceptable Display. This discusses the “free space” requirement for the logo… how close it can be placed to other elements in a design, if it can be presented in a different orientation or not (diagonally, vertically), in a grouping (lock up) with other elements, in a single color, such as white on black or a colored ground. Every possibility should be considered and represented.

Color Palette. The logo colors should be notated in RGB, CMYK, Pantone spot color and hexadecimal formulas, covering print, presentation and web applications.

Fonts. If the company uses specific type faces in its visual communications systems and logo, these will be identified and described. Styling guidelines would also be included.

These are the essentials. Be sure that whoever ends up working with your logo understands the importance of consistency up front. Your designer will develop the graphic standards and write the manual for you, but as the business owner or organizational director you are the one who is ultimately responsible for enforcement.

Alvalyn Lundgren

Alvalyn Lundgren is the founder and principal of Alvalyn Creative, an independent consultancy providing brand strategy design and bespoke illustration for more than 30 years. She is the creator of Freelance Road Trip — a business school and podcast for creative freelancers. She teaches design and design practice on the college level with design schools and programs.

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