We will begin today’s class by sharing your Logo System Analysis. This is an opportunity to receive feedback before the assignment deadline at midnight. If your work is not ready to share, that’s okay.
Logo Implementation Slideshow
Rollout: Process and Best Practices
Now that the logo is created, an identity system is designed, and everything is approved by the client, the next step is rollout. Rollout means actually putting the logo in use in real-world scenarios. In order to prepare for these various applications of the logo, designers create identity/graphic standards manuals. This allows the original designer to visualize all the information needed to implement the logo successfully. It requires thinking through every possible use of the logo, and providing specific guidelines for those uses.
A comprehensive yet concise list of directions will save time, forestall bad design, and result in an effective message, even when designers new to the business are added. To paraphrase Milton Glaser, design which has been given minimal thought will have little value in the long run. Since the word design means to formulate a plan, creating a road map in the form of a standards manual is a key step in the process of designing a logo.
Standards manuals or guidelines allow identity systems to be managed properly—because they serve as the ultimate resource for consistent application of the logo throughout all communication and visual materials required by the client. Manuals function to ensure that the standards and ideas developed by the original designers are systematically and consistently reproduced in the same manner every time.
It is vital that the logo be used properly over its lifetime, not only for the first six months of a rollout when the original designer creates the first round of materials. Designers who take these extra steps are invaluable to their clients. This is one of the primary reasons that major corporate clients work repeatedly with design consultants who understand implementation and the role of identity guidelines. Informed clients, for example, understand the confusion and disorganization their brand images will suffer when something as simple as inconsistent color is used in the printing of their business cards.
Manuals must be created to be useful to the widest possible group of logo users. Often, in larger companies, there is an identity or branding coordinator who assures continuity and accurate use of the identity by following the graphic standards manual. In-house design departments are often the primary users of a graphic standards manual, but not all clients are large enough organizations to have such groups. All outsourced designers will use the manual. Other in-house departments and related consultants that need the manual include:
- public relations
- investor relations
- package manufacturers
- signage fabricators
- vehicle and uniform supply companies
- all purchasing departments responsible for any of the above.
Getting all creatives and related consultants to use the standards manual will be of primary importance. A CEO who supports the new identity system is critical. Many manuals begin with a CEO letter. This letter states the support of the CEO, briefly explains the need for the identity, and directs employees to support and correctly use the identity. This, in effect, makes brand stewards of the employees. If a designer has been able to lay the groundwork for acceptance, success is attainable.
The Politics of a Rollout
Get buy-in for the identity early in the process. Seeds of discontent are sewn early, usually in the designer’s failure to allow involvement from the people who will actually be using the logo day to day. When the logo is finished and ready for rollout, these users may find subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) ways to sabotage the new program. It is important to allow for participation and consensus-building during the creative process. Try to make sure that every stakeholder is heard from (typically this is done by requesting that they answer the briefing questions) even if it is only a small team or one individual who actually interfaces with the design consultants.
Here is a strategy for successfully negotiating the politics of a rollout:
- Allow everyone who has input into the development, approval, or implementation of the logo to voice their opinions up front—ideally in a structured manner.
- Present the logo at appropriate development stages to all relevant individuals so that they do not see only a finished logo at the end of the process.
- Empower the client coordinator with all relevant, as well as irrelevant, thinking, information, and rationale regarding the logo so that they can be an advocate for the new design.
- Create a user-friendly manual that is complete, concise, and flexible so that other creatives will enjoy working with the system.
- Provide technically refined identity elements in a central, well-known location so that users can work with the logo.
- Ask the CEO or department head to publicly endorse, explain, and validate the identity system.
- Stay in touch with the client, be available for questions, additional work, and periodic identity reviews/audits.
The Anatomy of a Graphic Standards Manual
Identity guidelines are the key to consistent use of a logo. As a point of reference, it is suggested you include any/all of these things in a graphic standards manual:
- CEO Letter
- Brand Image Message
- How to Use this Manual
Primary Identity Elements
- Brand Overview
- The Mark: Symbol & Logotype (Can the logo be separated into a wordmark and symbol? Should it always remain connected?)
- Color Palette
- Imagery/Iconography (Do you use color, black-and-white, or special duotone images? Do you use illustration? If so, what type?)
- Staging Requirements
- Acceptable Usage
Selected Identity Applications
- Business Cards
- Business Forms (Fax form, invoice, transmittal, etc.)
- Signage: Interior & Exterior
- Advertising (How is it used on a billboard, full-page ad, or direct mail piece?)
- Promotions (Is it okay to put the logo on a backpack, cup, or toilet plunger?)
- Marketing Materials
- Corporate Communications
- Online (How does the logo work online? Does it animate?)
- Contact person & information (Who should someone call when they are confused about usage?)
The Form of a Standards Manual
A standards manual can be as small as a one-page PDF file showing the logo, type, and color palette, or as large as a 300-page printed and bound book with a companion CD full of the same information in digital form. It can be printed with limited edition laser printouts or four-color process offset. The idea is to design a set of guidelines that serves the needs of both the identity system and the client. After the logo designing process, a designer will understand the work process and personality of their client. This information will help decide which format will be most successful.
Having a printed manual, or printing one on demand, allows the client to have a physical object which makes the guidelines seem more real to most users. Additionally, putting the entire manual, or appropriate segments, on the client’s intranet or extranet is a smart idea for large, multi-user enterprises. Consider that the implementation of the logo will grow and possibly change, so creating a three-ring binder style manual that allows for additional pages to be added in the future is also a good idea.
The exact length of the manual will be determined by the specific needs of the client, but it should contain representative pieces illustrating how the logo has been applied. The size and scope of a graphic standards manual is also heavily impacted by budget considerations. Designers need to understand what these parameters are, and develop a manual that works within these limits. The goal here is to be thorough yet flexible.
Standards Manual Examples
(See slideshow for images.)
Metropolitan Market is a collection of neighborhood grocery stores originally known as Thriftway. When the business model changed from a discount provider to a gourmet destination, SamataMason was asked to capture and project the organization’s growing and unique character.
The client needed an identity that was a quick read with fresh graphic appeal, a visual language that would speak to the active, urban, and upscale customer in a distinctive contemporary fashion. It was important that the branded personality said to its young, adventure-shopper customer base, “this is your place.”
The Metropolitan Market in-store visual experience is colorful and active, providing almost too much visual stimulation. To counteract the busy atmosphere, SamataMason chose a muted olive color with an accompanying neutral palette, and designed clean, modern, fashion-driven graphic elements that would appeal to the younger high-end urban customers.
The graphic standards manual contains both a letter from the CEO endorsing the program and a statement explaining the importance of
The new Metropolitan Market logo (or “circle m”) represents a sense of organized artisanship that is meaningful and rich in texture. The strict mathematical relationship of the “circle m” logo elements may not be altered or modified—it is a precise and unchanging ratio.
A page such as “Brand Mark and Signature Display” helps users understand the relationship between the identity elements, and illustrates preferred and secondary usage options. “The Signature” manual page explains the rationale behind the staging and visual balance of the identity elements. It shows three configurations, all of which are simple, precise, and flexible enough to meet most spatial applications. The Metropolitan Market graphic standards includes a “Brand Mark Color Usage” page, which provides a quick reference to the approved colors, not only by listing the Pantone numbers, but by showing an example of what the logo looks like in each color version.
The entire “Brand Elements” section of the manual contains very detailed information on:
- Staging Requirements
- Acceptable and Unacceptable Usage Variations
- Positioning Methodology
- Color Systems
- Signature Applications
- Design Motifs
- Photographic Themes
- Grid Systems
City of Rotterdam
Rotterdam is considered to be one of the cultural capitals of Europe, and the city’s mayor sought to utilize this association. The goal was to promote the cultural aspects of the city and enhance the perception of the city’s attractiveness, both to citizens and visitors.
At the heart of the design problem was the need to develop an identity that would connect all the various cultural activities in Rotterdam. The identity had to function as a logo system, and it needed to be flexible enough to allow other designers to use it. Users needed to receive clear guidelines in order to be able to “play” with the system.
Nickelodeon, a children’s entertainment company owned by Viacom, had been growing organically over fifteen years to become a multifaceted global brand. In the process, however, it had become disjointed and was losing some of its cohesion. The original logo, designed by Tom Corey, needed an update and expansion.
AdamsMorioka was brought in as identity consultants with a goal of bringing together Nickelodeon’s brand extensions, as well as unifying the company’s messages and visual vocabulary across all media. Overall, the brand needed to be more accessible and less oblique to Nickelodeon’s external, as well as internal, audience. AdamsMorioka designed a simple identity toolkit based on the original logo. The identity system was intended to refocus Nick’s internal creative departments on the core promises and messages of the brand, and encourage creative thinking and execution.
AdamsMorioka designed the Nickelodeon Visual System Basics as an explanation of the new visual system. The thirty-eight page book is a 10″ x 10″ spiral bound booklet with several short sheets and a gatefold. It contains a CD with digital files for the system. The manual reflects the identity and message, is lively and nontraditional, and focuses on positive inspiration.
A list of the creative sources that may inform some of the system’s ideas is provided in the manual. This encourages the Nickelodeon creative services department to look at new sources, from Paul Rand and Alvin Lustig to Andy Warhol and Alexander Calder. Rather than using these sources as forms to slavishly copy, they provide insight into basic ideas of modernism. The manual is bright, fun, concise, and easy to follow.