Week 9: Paper and Graphic Standards
We will take a look at any of your new work which is ready to share.
For the menu and take-out box projects, we will discuss the following aspects of each:
- Overall strength of the designs
- Degree to which:
- the design pieces communicate the branding message
- the application of the logo within the designs is appropriate
- the design across all five pieces (including last week's) is consistent
- the designs can be used in practical applications (the menu is usable, the box can hold food, etc.)
- the files meet specifications
Graphic Standards Manual
The Anatomy of a 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.
- ACVIM (2MB)
- Absolute Software (3MB)
- easyGroup (2MB)
- Heinekin International (external site)
- Milliken & Co. (1MB)
- UCLA (1MB)
- University of Cambridge (8MB)
- USAID (10MB)
- Orchestrated Home (2MB) [Work in Progress]
Types of Papers/Printing Substrates
- The two main types of paper are coated and uncoated.
- Coated paper has a smoother surface which gives it a higher printing quality.
- Coated papers can be divided into four categories, depending on the amount of coating applied:
- lightly coated
- medium coated
- highly coated
- art paper
- Coated papers are typically used for:
- art books
- A coated paper can be matte or glossy.
- In glossy papers, often the surface of the paper has been calendered (run through hard-pressure rollers) to obtain a higher sheen.
- A coated texture called matte silk is smooth but non-reflective, resulting in prints with high image quality and readability.
- Most uncoated papers are surface-sized (covered in a protective substance) in order to ensure good surface bonding strength.
- Uncoated paper is not necessarily cheaper than coated paper.
- Uncoated papers are typically used for:
- paperback books
- Uncoated paper is good for books with lots of text because it aids in readability (it lacks shininess.)
- Uncoated paper can also be calendered.
Wood-free and Wood-pulp
- Paper made of wood-pulp (compared to "wood-free"):
- has a shorter lifespan
- has poorer surface strength
- is not very white
- has higher opacity
- has higher bulk
- Different countries have different standards for what is considered wood-free, so this distinction is not as commonly used today as is has in the past.
- If at least 25% of the paper pulp is comprised of cotton fibers, the resulting paper is called rag paper. Rag paper:
- is durable
- resembled fabric a bit
- is smooth
- is appropriate for special prints such as foiling
- Cardboard is a stiff paper product.
- Cardboard is usually defined as paper with a weight greater than 80 lbs.
- Cardboard produced in special cardboard machines is called graphic cardboard:
- Multi-layered board is made up of many layers of the different types of pulp.
- Solid board is made up of many layers of the same type of pulp.
- Sometimes you may want to print on plastic instead of paper.
- Plastic is:
- chemically stable
- insensitive to moisture and temperature
- easy to work with
- There are two kinds of plastic:
- Thermal plastic:
- is solid at room temperature but softens when heated, returning to its original state when cooled.
- can easily be applied to different surfaces (for example to packages which are already shrink-wrapped.)
- Hard plastic:
- is sensitive to heating—they melt and lose their shape when exposed to too-high temperatures.
- is often used for containers of different sorts.
- Thermal plastic:
- Paper is porous and absorbent, while plastic is not.
- The ink lies on top of the surface of the plastic, which means:
- it takes longer for ink to dry
- it is difficult to print several colors on top of each other
- there is a greater risk of smearing
- you use a different type of ink than you would for paper
- Throughout Europe, paper formats are standardized; A-format is most common.
- For example, A4 is approximately 8¼" by 11¾", but is actually measured in metric (210 x 297mm).
- In the U.S., stock paper size are less standardized.
- U.S. paper sizes are based on a combination of the most commonly-used presses and the most popular trim sizes for books and other publications.
- Some common U.S. paper sizes for the press:
|Letter||8½ x 11|
|Ledger, Tabloid||11 x 17|
|Demy||17½ x 22½|
|19 x 25||19 x 25|
|23 x 25||23 x 25|
|25 x 38||25 x 38|
Basis Weight, Density, and Bulk
- A paper's weight is called basis weight.
- In the U.S., weight is given in pounds per ream (500 sheets) of a basis size.
- Each type of paper has a basis size, for example 25" x 38".
- A 60# book paper is so called because 500 sheets of it at 25" x 38" weights 60 pounds.
- This measure is sometimes used sloppily to refer to indicate a paper's thickness.
- Density describes a paper's compactness, defined by the relationship between its thickness and weight.
- A paper with low density is light and thick (porous).
- A paper with high density is heavy and thin (compact.)
- Bulk is describing the same relationship, but in reverse.
- It is expressed in the U.S. as pages per inch (ppi).
- Paper with low ppi is thin, heavy and compact.
- paper with high ppi is lightweight, thick and porous.
- Higher-bulk paper is preferred when using glue binding, because the glue has to penetrate the paper.
- Surface smoothness is a description of the surface characteristics of the paper.
- Paper with high surface smoothness has a fine, sleek surface.
- Paper with low surface smoothness has a rough surface.
Brightness and Whiteness
- A paper's brightness is a measure of how much light it reflects.
- Whiteness refers to how large a part of the white light that falls on the paper is reflected by its surface.
- Text and images which need high contrast require paper with a lot of brightness.
- The brightness of a paper can be increased during manufacture by bleaching it and/or by adding special colors or pigments.
- Brightness is measured in luminance or Y-value.
- Whiteness is measured in CIELAB (related to the Lab color mode in Photoshop.)
- Opacity means non-transparency.
- It is a measure of how much light penetrates the paper.
- Paper with low opacity allows print on the other size to be visible.
- High opacity (completely non-transparent) paper is often preferred for printed matter.
- Printing ink contains an amount of oil which allows it to sinks into the paper and stick.
- This oil can negatively affect the opacity of the paper, making it more transparent.
- The opacity of printed paper is therefore lower than that of unprinted paper (keep this in mind when selecting paper.)
When paper is manufactured, most of its fibers orient themselves to the longitudinal direction of the paper web.
- This is referred to as the grain direction.
- Paper is about twice as stiff across the grain as along it.
- Paper is easier folded across the grain.
- If it is difficult for the paper to bend and follow the intended path through the printing press, there is a greater risk that problems will occur.
- Typically, press operators load paper with the grain direction against the printing direction.
- If you fold paper against the grain direction, the fibers are broken down and it can appear that the paper is cracking.
- If you fold paper along the grain, you get a fine, smooth crease.
- When reading a paper's dimensions, understand that the first number is the side against the grain direction.
- A paper measured as 25" x 38" has a grain direction against its short side.
- A paper measured as 38" x 25" has a grain direction opposite its long side.
- Paper takes on the characteristics of the dimensional characteristics of its fibers.
- Wet paper fibers shrink and bond less lengthwise as they dry.
- When paper fibers shrink at the same time as they dry, the paper web tightens and causes tension.
- Then tension is higher in the fiber direction.
- This kind of paper has low dimensional stability and can change shape when run through the wet offset press.
- This means a higher risk of misregistration.
- A paper with good dimensional stability maintains its shape well throughout the print run, reducing risk of misregistration.
- A paper's age resistance is its tendency to:
- withstand yellowing
- withstand fading
- retain its strength over time
- Age resistance is affected by:
- what type of pulp it's made of
- what ingredients it contains
- The natural break-down of paper can be slowed by:
- creating a neutral Ph value (acid-free)
- using calcium carbonate as filler
- proper handling
- proper storage temperature, moisture and light
- Paper made from chemical pulp (wood-free) tends to be highly age-resistant.
- Newsprint, made from mechanical pulp, yellows rapidly and decays faster.
Choosing the Right Paper
There are many factors involved in determining which of the hundreds of different paper grades and varieties to use for your printing project.
Feel and Appearance of the Printed Product
- Your choice of paper is important in creating the feel you want your printed product to have.
- The quality of paper can have a large influence on what a printed product communicates to users.
- It's a good idea to look at other printed material that has been done.
- You can contact paper distributors and ask them for paper samples.
- The feel and appearance of paper are affected mainly by:
- paper surface—a distinction between coated/uncoated or matte/glossy
- color—colored, transparent, or patterned papers can be more expensive and can affect how printed colors and images will be affected
- thickness—affects how it feels to hold and leaf through
Life Span and Uses of the Printed Product
Costs and Print Runs
Readability vs. Image Quality
Finishing and Binding of the Printed product
Distribution and Weight
Last week you created menu and take-out box designs for your restaurant.
This week, you will create a first draft for your Graphic Standards Manual, as described to the left and below.
Graphic Standards Manual
Create a Graphic Standards Manual for the restaurant marketing team. You will begin with a first draft for this document this week.
- Create the manual in Adobe InDesign
- All images converted to CMYK
- Letter size paper
- Page numbers at the bottom of each page
- ¼" bleed and ¼" safety zone (no text at edge of pages)
- Title page
- "Graphic Standards Manual"
- Company/Restaurant name
- On each of the remaining pages:
- a page heading identifying the page topic
- images of the logo, branding, color palettes and examples from your designs
- captions for each image or display (e.g. "Corporate Color Palette")
- Include at a minimum:
- Logo & Variations
- Color Palette
- Taglines and Modifying Copy
We will showcase your first drafts at the beginning of the first class in Week 10, which will give you an opportunity to make creative improvements and other revisions as necessary before the end of our final class.
Note: This manual was completed for a real company which was not a restaurant. It was created by a student in a Digital Identity Design course.
Upload the following to Week 9 Lesson:
- Graphic Standards Manual first draft (PDF)