In terms of design, the visual identity manual is a technical guide that presents the graphical standards and application specifications for the logo and the branding visual elements.
The guide includes technical information – color codes for print and web, recommended sizes, related symbols, letter characters and applications to help a designer create promotional materials according to brand guidelines.
We think design is defined by more than a set of rules, we focus on how we can create functional visual communication to create branding applications for the use and delight of real people.
The Visual Identity Manual is a technical guide designed to present compositional elements used in brand development.
These elements work together in a designated logical system to define application rules for different types of physical or virtual media.
An identity manual also presents the reasoning behind the use of certain elements of composition, so that design choices are justified by brand personality.
The technical guide is self-referential, it illustrates the construction of a graphical system within an applied graphic system.
The logo is the starting point to develop a graphical system.
Distinctively, a logo depicts a symbolic representation of brand philosophy using an icon designed according to strict geometric criteria, along with the name of a brand written in a particular typeface. In building a logo, the slogan defines the mission message, vision, and brand values, yet it is also a design element.
Considering the tripartite formula – icon, brand name, slogan – is the most common one, some brands can be represented by a single element, yet during brand development, new elements will come to work together.
Some companies own sub-brands associated with the principal brand which activate individually as brand satellites. The Google example is significant for modularity. Google has created an iconic language with its own visual identity for each service and an iconic language for each user interaction instance of the logo.
The purpose of modularity is to bring different elements on multiple sub-products and sub-services to work under one brand personality.
Along with best practices in brand development, the design manual also features examples with the wrong applications unrecommended for use. The use of wrong colors, wrong transparency, incorrect sizes of elements, incorrect permutation of compositional elements, omission of certain elements or the use of additional elements are not recommended.
The Technical Guide provides the reasons and shows examples of the most common mistakes that can be made in applying a logo or branding elements.
Color is an element of meaning. Perception wise, people associate colors with states of mind, attitudes, feelings.
Colors work within their own system – primary, secondary, tertiary, with various color associations based on complementarity, analogy, or disjunction. A brand can choose a monochromatic scheme, using different shades of the same color with tint, tone or shade variations.
Color theory is essential in designing a space for a brand to express itself using compositional elements based on color schemes designed to emphasize and enhance brand messages.
Along with the designation of a chromatic palette, the technical guide features the color codes for RGB (monitor), CMYK (print), HEX (online) and application rules depending on the specificity and destination of the elements.
Between form and content, textual communication showcases the messages expressed by the brand in the media. As a content element, the text is defined by writing style, tone of voice, semantics and syntax. As a formal element, the letters are geometric symbols that voice the personality of a brand using the graphical interface of the font body.
Fonts are organized into several categories – serif, sans serif, slab, weak, mono, etc., and font families function complementarily. A brand can use a specific font family for the title, another font family for body text or micro-copy.
Practical typography rules allow functional associations, but consistency in applying these rules adds importance to text formatting at a general level, in paragraphs, alignment, positioning, dimensions etc.
Choosing a font suite is based on both utility and aesthetics – ease of reading, style of expression, message type – to designate a textual personality for a brand.
The layout of a graphics application is structured within a grid of vertical and horizontal columns.
The purpose of this grid is to organize the layout space in hierarchy to designate textual content areas and images within a unitary system.
To apply a grid system to any type of material, of any size, allows you to maintain proportions and use branding elements in a consistent manner.
Branding elements should work in unison in regards to the artistic style approached in the illustrations as well as regarding the photographical images. The images of a brand inspire the values the brand represent. Nike uses action-focused, dynamic images, Unicef uses humanitarian imagery, Heineken images will show groups of friends who feel good together.
Photo, illustration, and video are visual identity elements that retain their specificity and outline the image of a brand on a variety of media.
If a brand would be a human person, it would have a certain style of expression, vocabulary and linguistic mannerisms when communicating. Brand messages follow a common copywriting style of expression – Nike’s style is motivational and imperative, Apple’s messages communicate about simplification of complexity, Unicef messages appeal to feelings and inspire humanitarian actions.
To maintain a tone of communication allows a brand to express its personality and social nature to its public.
Defining a graphical system is useful for branding applications. The design follows a unitary graphic style and works into context the particular elements of the brand to develop a range of multimedia materials – print, video and online, along with collateral.
Definirea unui sistem grafic este utilă pentru realizarea aplicațiilor de branding.