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Part Three of Creating a Brand Style Guide

Creating a Brand Style Guide Series is written by Pariah Burke, consultant and trainer for creative, publishing, and editorial professionals.

  • Part One: “Why You Need a Media-Comprehensive Brand Style Guide.”
  • Part Two: “Defining and Creating Your Logo Uses”
  • Part Four: (coming soon)


In the Previous Installment

In the previous installment, Part 2: “Defining and Communicating Your Logo Uses,” you learned to think of your logo in terms of an asset that must be protected through strict usage and placement rules. You created different versions, color spaces, and formats to account for its use in any situation and medium, including print, on the Web, in ePUB and fixed-layout ePUB, video, and other media. You learned how to manage and organize your different logo editions for easy access by any teammate, partner, or client, as well as how to communicate logo usage guidelines and proper treatment for each rendition of the logo right within the logo file itself. You learned to document through text and visuals rules required sizes, placements, and spacing around the logo, alignment of the logo relevant to specific surrounding elements, and other common brand style guide requirements for consistent logo application.


Equating Color with Your Brand

Depending on your business, what it does, what it stands for, color may be an important visual element of your brand or the most vital.

Coca-Cola owns several truly iconic trademarks such as the flowy script of its logo, the shape of the classic Coke bottles. As valuable as those pieces of intellectual property are, none is more so than the color Coca-Cola Red. It’s a registered trademark color vigorously protected in every country in the world. Few people on Earth don’t instantly connect and equate that unique and almost ubiquitous shade of crimson with Coca-Cola, even when the color is far removed from a can, bottle, or white swoosh.

Where would Barbie be without her signature pink? Mary Kay and T-Mobile are also identified by their own unique, trademarked hues of pink. What could brown do for you if it wasn’t so intrinsic to the UPS brand? Millions of people start their days with the signature green aprons, cups, and wrappers of Starbucks. More aprons, this time in orange, even more readily identify the Home Depot brand. The list of brand-crucial colors stretches on, across all industries.
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Google ChromeScreenSnapz001The past few days I’ve spent learning more than I ever thought I could about color at the Printing Industries of America’s Color 2015 conference.

Yes, I said it, color. Having accurate, consistent color when creating or printing anything physical has been a consistent problem throughout the ages. Add to that how the digital representation onscreen correlates to anything in the world, and the topic is far more complex. Heck, you might not even know that what type of material that you’re printing on can affect the color of final printed products – paper, vinyl, plastic, wood, canvas, etc.

Fortunately there are many smart people who have been working for years to bring consistency through standards, practices and techniques that ensure the best results.

One interesting thing that I learned was that how color displays across multiple different lighting sources can be affected by paying close attention to the grey scale of an image. There’s even a standard specification called G7 that helps printers achieve high quality consistent output.

If you’ve ever been stymied by getting the out put results of a project back and felt unsure about how to achieve better results, I highly recommend attending the Color 2016 conference next year in Phoenix. There’s definitely much to learn.