• Fox & Forth

Are Your Brand Guidelines Limiting Brand Growth?

In an ever-expressive world, corporate brand guidelines may be restricting the creative application of logos and brand messaging. This restriction can therefore create a loss in audience engagement. Not to mention, strict guidelines can be frustrating and often unnecessary.

In essence, brand guidelines provide standards and rules for corporate art, to ensure the company’s brand is shown in a united way across different company channels and communications. These are developed by a designer or a team, to embody the company's values and identity. This can include the company colors, typeface, images, etc. that can be used.

Yet, when working to expand an audience, inspiration may be found from all kinds of sources: travel photos from around the world, other brands, social media, and innovative designers. Looking to other sources and taking the time to develop new ideas and interpretations can allow existing brands to keep up with current trends, while still adhering to company values; they may also reach a new demographic whose potential has not yet been fully tapped-into.

Creative insight and expertise from designers is a great resource for those who are less creative when it comes to design, as well as those less familiar with the many possibilities of multi-media branding. But when creating original artwork and trying to branch out to new designs, it is important to keep in mind who and what it is for; what works for one project and client may not be applicable to another. For example, a design for a practical worker’s uniform will be completely different than an apparel product for an online store or promotional gift.

Ultimately, corporate buyers may shy away from creative approaches in favor of safe and traditional applications; keeping with the example of branded clothing, a company may often choose to fall back on the standard application of a simple logo on the left chest. The trouble is that a typical uniform application has little appeal outside of the workplace; when branching out to a design that is more retail-oriented, branded clothing is more-likely to be worn in other spaces, and consequently leave impressions with a larger audience. Thus, keeping in mind the practical applications (including factors such as comfort, quality, branding, and visual appeal) of branded apparel and items can be a rewarding endeavor.

Sometimes the adventurousness of a client can be easy to determine based on their industry or current target demographic. It can also be a big commitment to try and venture outside of the box: material costs, quantities, sizing, and setup fees for different designs and styles all impact the budget of a venture. This is why hiring a marketing and design specialist to guide decision-making can be all the more beneficial in helping to make smarter decisions to maximize results.

At the end of the day, some companies are starting to have more fun in their branding. In making smart, creative decisions, and using quality products and designs, branding may find a wider audience that was previously overlooked. While this may come with some cost and flexibility with brand guidelines, it should come as no surprise that individuals are more likely to use and wear products that both look good and feel good on a regular basis, leading to more real-world impressions. Therefore, the risks of going beyond restrictive guidelines for more fashionable brand presentations may ultimately be worth the rewards.


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