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Part Five of Creating a Brand Style Guide

The 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 Three: Establishing Consistent Brand Colors Across Media
  • Part Four: Defining Brand Typography

Photography and video are important brand elements. A brand style guide must guide their use as well as set forth procedures and rules for obtaining properly licensed and released stock imagery, and how to future proof the brand against copyright infringement claims.

In the Previous Installment

Part 4, “Defining Your Brand Typography,” was the largest installment in the Creating a Brand Style Guide series. In it you learned about the importance of typefaces to your brand, including how many companies have commissioned custom fonts to give their brands something no other has; choosing type families over individual typefaces for maximum flexibility in your written communications and designs; selecting special-use fonts to augment your main brand type families; how to select and define font usage for digital documents such as websites, ebooks, PDFs, and more; controlling the licenses and uses of fonts to keep your organization on the right side of the law; how to share and distribute brand fonts to your team, both in-house and external entities such as freelancers, vendors, and print service providers, and; how to communicate to all the agents who may work with your brand the guidelines and rules of using type and fonts to the maximum benefit of the brand.

Images and Video in the Brand Style Guide

Increasingly common is the practice of defining brand-appropriate use of images and video without style guides. With the rise of the Visual Web, a landscape dominated by photos and videos shared through social media, as well as almost universally growing Internet speeds and bandwidth, photographs and video clips have become important elements of even formerly text-only websites as well as every other aspect of a brand’s online presence.

Defining image and video usage when representing the brand varies in its spirt and depth depending on the brand. A children’s clothing designer, for example, will define very different imagery guidelines than would a B2B SaaS provider.

Daysee Dae Fashions might include in its brand style guide directives regarding the use of images and video such as those in Figure 1.

Using photography and video

Figure 1: Guidelines to using photography and video footage.

The B2B software-as-a-service developer, serving a broader audience and being more concerned with abstract concepts and feelings conveyed by imagery than by the representation of specific products, might include more generalized guidelines in its brand style guide. It may declare moods to focus on in photography, emotions to elicit, or intellectual and emotional concepts to convey via imagery.

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I left my Blackberry smart phone at home this morning. I was nearly into the office by the time I realized what I had done, making it futile to double-back for a rescue. It’s now more than an hour later and I still feel lost, even though I’m fully plugged in and have phone, email and internet access here at my desk.

We all seem to have our vices in this electronic age, it could be an MP3 player, a Wii, or perhaps a digital camera. My sister for example has a constant blue blinking light attached to her ear. I can’t recall a time I’ve seen her in the last three years without her Bluetooth.

What about software? Do you have software on your system that you find indispensible? Digital photography and computer photo illustration guru, Jim DiVitale has two:

“If you told me I could have only two software programs on my computer, I would give up everything I have except Adobe Photoshop and Extensis Portfolio. They are the only two programs I can’t live without.”

Jim DiVitale uses Extensis PortfolioJim’s photography has been featured in all the leading photography/creative publications from Professional Photographer to Print Magazine. He is also a favorite lecturer and presenter at events including Photoshop World, Seybold, PhotoPlus Expo, HOW Design Conference and American Society of Media Photographers.

If you are interested in hearing what Jim has to say about digital imaging (and perhaps how he uses Extensis Portfolio), you can attend his 3-day workshop in Atlanta at the end of this month. He will also be conducting a multi-city, Adobe sponsored tour across Canada this August. It would be worth your while to check him out if you have the opportunity.