Scott Gladd, MFA
4 min readMar 26, 2019

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Project Brief | Style Guide

The last two weeks of the term will be spent expanding one of your identities into collateral materials and a set of brand guidelines.

Brand Guidelines

Most often, brand guideline publications are published and dispersed in a digital PDF form, with a limited number being printed for in house use and as a physical record for company posterity. Due to time constraints, your brand guidelines may take on one of the following formats:

Publication: a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 10 spreads that will be presented in print form. How will you bind?

Poster: 16"x20" or larger (see Red Cross example)

Digital/Portfolio Presentation: You may develop and layout your guidelines in a way that is meant specifically for viewing on screen in conjunction with the logo, identity system and collateral items.

I encourage each of you to continue to develop your brand/style guides after the course comes to a close. Showcasing your branding knowledge is an important aspect to a graduating portfolio!

Common Brand Style Guide Content

Brand Messaging/Company Mission Statement
Logo — b&w/color
Clearspace/lock up
Orientation — horizontal, vertical, secondary marks
Logo Don’ts
Color Palette — Pantone, CMYK, RGB
Typography — Custom, display, body copy
Photography — Style, Usage
Stationery — Letterhead, business card, envelope
Collateral Materials

Brand Guideline Examples

Restaurant Style Guide
Science Museum

Mohawk
Scout
Macaroni Grill
Santa
Optus Rebrand
KAE
Boy Scouts (horrible design, but tons of relevant content)
Centric
Chempoint
Red Cross

Letterhead

You are to create a business letterhead based on typical print specs, i.e. 8.5"x11". Design factors to think of, corporate typeface, logo orientation, watermarks, business info & placement, usability, and of course, paper. All design is up to you but remember; each piece of collateral should follow in line with the brand development and feel cohesive from one to the next. Do you print front and back? Are there interesting and small die cuts? Can someone write or type a letter on it? All questions you need to answer.

Typical info to include:

  • Logo
  • Address
  • Phone (cell, landline, fax) (Optional on which to include but a phone number is required)
  • Website
  • Social media handles

Business Card

Similar to the letterhead, the look and feel should remain consistent. Typical business card dimensions are 3.5"x2" but size will be up to you. You may choose a square card, a thin card, or something entirely creative. Business cards are to capture someones attention. They are sometimes the very first thing anyone is exposed to. A unique and well-designed card is more likely to be held on to rather than a dull, thin, boring one. Similar paper choices to the letterhead can be made but the thicker and more luxurious feeling the better. Would you rather receive a thick letterpressed business card or a think cover stock one printed at a cheap online retailer? Business cards show that you care about your brand and how it’s perceived by the public.

Typical info to include:

  • Logo
  • Name & title
  • Maybe address, but a rule of thumb is you don’t want your business address falling into the wrong hands
  • Phone (cell, landline, fax)
  • Website
  • Social media handles
  • Remember, Business cards are small and shouldn’t be crammed with info but the info should also be legible. PRINT them out and press check them for issues while designing.

You may choose to produce these by hand but your craft should be impeccable. If you manage your time well, you may be able to have them professionally printed which bodes well for your portfolio. You may choose to do this later, but for right now hand-made ones will suffice.

NO MATTER WHICH PROJECT YOU CHOOSE, APPLY CHANGES TO YOUR LOGOS NOW. DO NOT SUBMIT ANYTHING WITHOUT FIXING YOUR LOGOS IF NEED BE!

DUE MONDAY 4/22:

  • Choose between museum, olympics or restaurant for your final project.
  • 10 letterhead explorations
  • 10 business card explorations
  • 3 discussable questions for the class to answer. Non-negotiable.

DUE WEDNESDAY 4/24:

  • Lecture on basics of a style guide + group crit afterwards.
  • First finish of letterhead & business card should be completed by this date to stay on track

DUE MONDAY 4/29:

  • Final letterhead & business card layout.
  • First finish of style guide layout

FINAL DUE DATES:

ALL final work will be due to me in the annex next to my office by 3pm Wednesday, May 1

  • Final business card, letterhead, and style guide due. Last day anything will be accepted.

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Scott Gladd, MFA

Unequal parts creative director, writer, educator, type designer, father figure, Labrador Retriever. Have laptop, will travel. www.tessellate.vcfa.work