Have you noticed that, wherever you look, a big-name corporate
logo always looks exactly the same? There is no variation
in color, proportion, and spacing above and below it. This
is because that company has taken the time to create a handbook
of allowable usage of that logo or logotype: it is extremely
important corporate policy that is strictly enforced.
You don't need to be a big company to set and enforce your
corporate identity package. You just need to care about your
corporate image and respect the time and effort (and $$) that
you invested to develop your unique look in the first place.
The following guide was assembled to help you identify what
needs to be addressed while developing and maintaining your
corporate identity package.
As you start to read over this guide, you will probably start
thinking that anyone who puts something together with this
much detail and precision surely must have some control issues.
You're right. Anyone who spends the time and effort assembling
a complete corporate identity package is genuinely concerned
about maintaining their clean, professional-looking corporate
image. You have control over your corporate image¾whether
you choose to take on the challenge of maintaining it is entirely
up to you.
Design adds value.
The purpose of designing
a corporate identity is to use brand strategy to guide all
the decisions that shape every encounter with the customer,
user, or stakeholder. Often these “encounters” are subtle¾but they come into play whenever your logo appears. There needs to
be harmonious and consistent messaging for everything¾from
your logo, to product design, press kits and printed collateral,
business plans and presentations to venture capitalists, advertising,
instructional materials, Web sites, and even billing statements.
Design makes language visual and amplifies its meaning. It
is a composite of content and presentation, articulating your
company’s purpose and vision. In today’s market, a company
needs to articulate who you are, communicate it and differentiate
yourself quickly to help your business rise above the clutter.
Consistency in messaging has an impact on the bottom line.
Good design and good business are synonymous.
What is Branding?
Determining whom you are, whom you serve and influence;
Determining whom you want and need to be, serve
Defining the attributes that communicate these qualities
to various, defined audiences;
Creating and managing a communications plan that is true
to these attributes;
Branding reinforces your long-term strategic business
Cirquel Design has several alliances and partnerships if
your company needs to build a long-term strategic business
us for details.
What is Corporate Identity?
A strategy for conveying what the company is about and
what it offers customers
A definition of the qualities that the customer and public
identify and care about as the essence of the company
Consistent visual and verbal messaging that is a compelling
statement of your company's intent and differentiation.
Corporate Identity is the visualization of your branding.
Overview: Your Corporate Identity Package
Cirquel Design will help your company build your corporate
identity by creating:
Saved in various
file formats for future usage
Specifications for usage in web and print
Details: Your Corporate Identity Package
The standard corporate identity package should cover the
Logo & Logotype
It is crucial to define what your logo/logotype will
look like when appearing in full color, spot color, grayscale,
and black-and-white. The last two are extremely important
if you are considering having any work printed on newsprint
(relatively low resolution, can tend to look grainy if
you're not careful).
These are usually defined by Pantone color (PMS), RGB,
and CMYK color systems. Different systems have different
applications and uses, so it is crucial that you define
your colors in all of these color systems.
This is important, especially for anyone who has a logo
and logotype. Do you want the logo to always be immediately
to the left of the company name? To the right? Centered
above it? Can the logo appear alone? What about your slogan
- is it always there?
You'll want to decide if you want your logo to appear
as a printed watermark, and if so, where, how, what exact
colors, and what exact size.
Nothing looks as bad as a crowded logo. We've seen them,
usually at the bottom of an ad, perhaps in a list of sponsors
for a given event. Your logo is a physical representation
of your business, and it needs room to breathe!
You need to set down rules about how close text can
be to your logo -- can there be text beside it (eg. the
date of a letter appearing on your corporate letterhead)
or does it have to go below, and if so, how much space
We know that this one is particularly difficult to enforce,
but it is well worth the effort.
Let's face it, how great will your complex logo look
if it reproduced only 1/4" tall? You need to set
minimum limits to the size of your logo and logotype,
if you want to maintain its legibility.
Electronic versions also need to be regulated, or you
may end up with your logo only 10 pixels tall. The easiest
way to ensure that your corporate identity isn't messed
with is to develop electronic versions of your logo/logotype
and authorize the use of those versions - ONLY.
As part of how your logotype and logo appear together,
you must determine what size logo appears with what size
logotype, and ensure that those decisions are adhered
You need to define several things about the papers you
use: the company name, the name of the paper, the weight(s)
you use, and the exact color name.
Don't laugh here, but make sure you specify that the
watermark of the paper is to appear right-side-up and
facing front. Of course, this isn't a concern when using
The Right Paper for the Job
Speckled or lightly patterned papers are extremely popular,
and they do look good. They stand out in a sea of white-
and cream-colored sheets and business cards. However,
they are not designed to be faxed. If you choose a really
nice corporate paper for your communications needs, make
sure you have chosen a different paper that can be used
for circulating internal or informal information, and
faxes. Conveniently, many 'designer' papers also have
a plain version available.
Be sure to clearly differentiate between occasions calling
for the best look possible and those where a less formal
presentation is appropriate. You wouldn't circulate an
important corporate memo on 3-ring binder paper, nor would
you put the memo about cleaning the coffee pot on your
$2 per sheet textured heavyweight 4-colour printed letterhead.
Most papers come in a variety of weights, so you can
go with a thinner paper for most correspondence, and use
a thicker version for the really important stuff, like
contracts and proposals.
You must set down, in writing, exactly which paper will
be used when. Never assume that someone knows what to
do when -- it just doesn't happen.
You need to figure out what size(s) of envelope you
will be using. Will you be using standard #10 envelopes?
Will you want a window? Most papers have matching envelopes
in the smaller sizes; some have a window option, most
If you need to use larger-sized envelopes, you must
specify the color, size, appearance, and orientation of
each envelope type.
Regardless of the envelope size, you must decide if
you are going to use return-address labels or pre-printed
envelopes. You must also determine how the envelopes will
be addressed: printed white or clear labels? Typed on
It is important to keep your business cards looking
professional, and extremely important to have all current
cards resemble each other. If you change your corporate
look, replace all of your employees' cards at the same
You must decide if all cards, from the CEO on down,
will have the same design, or whether the sales department's
cards will be a bit different than those of management
(but, even if they are, they should resemble each other).
You have to maintain a certain amount of corporate identity
on each card, or you risk losing the connection between
person and business. Consult with your designer, and trust
what he or she suggests.
Choose Your Corporate Font
Choose one, and stick with it. Define it by design house,
full name, and (if possible) original source of that font.
From then on, all corporate communications shall use it,
and nothing else.
Be precise: 'Times' is not 'Times Roman' is not 'Times
If you need to use typewriters or line printers, choose
which font(s) will be used on each, and do not change
Choose a size for body text, a size for headlines, and
perhaps two sizes in between. Maintain these decisions,
and your communications will be more consistent, easier
to read, and, believe it or not, easier to proofread.
You should determine how the basic paragraph text should
look. Will your paragraphs' first line be indented (if
so, by how much)? How much space should be between lines
in a paragraph? How much space between paragraphs? Be
aware that what is appropriate for a press release might
not be appropriate for your year-end investors' report.
Again, it is suggested that you consult with your designer
on this topic.
Set Your Margins
If you use pre-printed letterhead, it was designed to
look best when the text on the page has a certain amount
of white space around it. Heed your designer's advice,
and stick to the margins that were designed to be there.
For regular communications, use common sense. Leave
enough white space around the edges to allow someone to
hold the page and not block the text.
Cramming more information on any given page just makes
you look cheap or rushed or plain not able to plan effectively.
It reflects badly on your business. Make sure that everyone
who is responsible for corporate communications understands
this. If you are ever tempted to 'just squeeze
it in', get a professional to edit down the text. If your
ideas are important enough to be written down and communicated,
give them the respect (and space) they deserve.
Using Your Corporate Identity Package
In your office: Each and every person involved in corporate
communications should have their own copy of your corporate
policy. At the minimum, there should be one copy per workstation.
Your graphic artist or designer should have a current
version of your corporate identity package at all times.
You should create a smaller version of your package,
designed especially for people designing advertisements
for you. They don't need to know about your letterhead
margins or paper, but they do need to know everything
about your logo.
It is always a good idea to have printed samples of
'acceptable use' as part of the basic policy kit.
Set up software templates for your basic communications.
Use common sense: don't put unwanted fonts where people
might be tempted to use them.
Collect and destroy old or out-of-date paper and business
Communicate with your employees. If something new is
to be implemented, let them know, or, even better, ask
for their input.
Well, frankly, how you deal with your employees is up
to you. If there's a problem, discuss how important a
consistent corporate identity is to your business.
Do not ever accept less-than-satisfactory printing.
If the color is off, demand to have it redone correctly.
And keep doing it until it is right.
Make sure that you check your proofs carefully - it's
no longer the printer's (or designer's) fault if you sign
off on something that is incorrect.
If you would like to find out how Cirquel Design can develop
a corporate identity for your business, contact
us to schedule a consultation.
Cirquel Design & Development LLC :: Linda C. Schenk