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Part Two 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 Three: “Establishing Consistent Brand Colors Across Media” (coming soon)

Your logo, the harbinger of your brand and without a doubt the most crucial of your brand assets, must be protected through strict usage rules. What are those rules? Where and when do they apply? How do you best communicate those rules for consistent, controlled representation of your brand herald? You’ll answer these questions—and more in Creating a Brand Style Guide, Part 2: “Defining and Communicating Your Logo Uses.”

In the Previous Installment

In Part 1 we defined what brand means and how important it is to define a framework for the consistent, controlled representation of that brand in all media.

Protect Your Logo

Few assets are as important to your business as your logo. Creating the mark that will be the harbinger of your brand goes far beyond having a great design. Ensure it’s protectable by investigating its uniqueness as an identifying mark in your area of business. Original logo artwork may be protected through copyright, but when a design identifies a brand, as your logo does, trademark protection is far more important that copyright. Your logo must be unique and dissimilar from any other trademark or service mark used within the same class or classes of businesses. If it isn’t, you will be infringing on another trademark or service mark. Copyright allows owners to go after infringers and to license some or all rights to the copyright protected material to be used by, or become representative of, other entitles. Trademark law, however, obligates mark holders to aggressively defend the uniqueness and unapportionable nature of their logos and other marks. Failing to properly vet your logo in the marketplace could cause you to lose all rights to it—and worse.

Learn more about protecting your digital assets. Download our free digital asset management best practices guide.

Before you build a brand style guide for a new or recently changed brand, engage an intellectual property to ensure the originality of your logo and other protectable brand elements. Trademark law falls under the domain of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As such you’ll usually find attorneys who specialize in trademarks listed under “patent law.”

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It’s that time of the year. The season during which your college basketball friends are nowhere to be seen, and you have to field 1,000 questions a day at work about your nonexistent bracket. Hello, March Madness.

March Madness: The Best & Worst Logos

The 2016 March Madless Final Four logo: yikes.

 

Flash back to the Super Bowl, and we are again reminded that the people yelling at the TV and those of us that identify as creatives have a hard time finding common ground in March. So, in the spirit of splitting the difference, we decided to dissect college basketball logos. (Can you tell we’re opinionated?) We’ll be rustling up some ruckus on twitter with #MarchMadness if you feel so inclined to chime in.

Rewind: it’s hard to skip over the NCAA logo itself before we crap-talk the busy, messy logos that are sprinkled about the road to the title.

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It’s no secret that there’s a stereotypical disjunction between die-hard American football fans and graphic designers. That’s just the type of human variety that keeps the world turning. What we didn’t realize, however, is this disjunction is more like a gaping, massive chasm when it comes to Super Bowl logos.

We don’t at all mean to offend any designer that has ever tread near a football field. We just intend to raise a pointed eyebrow at those responsible for the Super Bowl logos over the years—and we do this by first dissecting the makings of a good logo, or rather an effective logo.

  1. It’s unique
  2. It’s timeless
  3. It’s appropriate
  4. It’s simple
  5. It’s functional

It would be a race to the bottom if these logos were scoring touchdowns based on typography and graphic design merit.

Amidst the joking and poking fun, however, a welcome reprieve came with our discovery of the evolution of the AFC, NFC and NFL logos over the years. After 40 years, updates were made to all three not more than a decade ago.

 

The Evolution of the AFC, NFC, & NFL Logos

The History of Crappy Super Bowl Logos
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Part II of a Series

Part I of this series of suckage outlined the core essentials of a creative brief, and the information one needs to gather before beginning design—a critical step, especially when the brief sucks. Part II looks at the elements of the brand. 

If you read Part 1, your brief should at least be in order. The client has provided the information you need to proceed (less likely), and/or you’ve filled in the gaps on the client’s behalf (more likely).

This post takes a look at your client’s brand. Does it suck, too, or is it just OK? Is your job to work with the brand elements they’ve got going as a requirement (more likely)? Or do you have license to finesse or refine it with this new assignment (less likely)?

Either way, just like when the brief sucks, it’s still your job to deliver. To do so requires knowing not just the elements of a solid brand, but how to compensate when those elements are lacking.

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QuickMatch™—Find similar fonts

Meet our powerful font comparison tool: QuickMatch™

Welcome to the first edition of Let Creativity Flourish! This series serves up tips, tricks, and tools of the design trade that allow your work to run smoother so you can focus on the important things—like making the world more beautiful. Check back every month for insider information devoted to honing your skills and utilizing resources to the fullest so your design can flourish.

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