Designing a logo is like having a child. It is necessary to think that we need to educate him in the best possible way, lest he, at some point, want to venture out into this world alone and lose his identity. We want him to keep all the values we instilled in him and that, if he returns home, he will bring his integrity intact!
When a customer comes to us and asks us to create a logo, whether for a company, product or event, it is up to us to get to know in depth that same service or product:
- the customer himself and his business
- his values and goals
- as well as its positioning in the market and what it wants to achieve. What difference does it make within the market compared to the competition, and what sets it apart so that we can communicate it clearly and unequivocally? We can make several logos for the same line of business. Still, none will be the same or similar to another because each will grow from a concept developed through such differentiating characteristics.
How can we guarantee that this child, that belongs to the client, but with some of our genes, does not lose identity and remains a reference to the target audience?
We can and must prepare a Style Guide. All logos must have this written document, which must be respected and carefully complied with by the designer who uses it, whether inside or outside the company that developed it. Therefore, the client must understand its importance and make it available with the logo whenever it is necessary to use it by someone other than the designer who created it.
In the Style Guide, we must present the logo and specify how accurate used. Usually, the manuals show the wrong ways to apply the image. Still, there are so many variations that it seems more beneficial to indicate the correct ways to do it, eliminating from the outset all those that come out of the proposals in the document. However, as companies grow, evolve, dynamize events, create new products and promote new services, constantly needing new advertising material, a situation may arise that has not been thought of in the standards manual. We should update the manual with this specification when this is the case, seeking to maintain visual/graphical coherence and not leave situations open.
Since practically all companies have a website, usually horizontal, it is essential to have at least two variations of the logo, one with a horizontal frame to be used on the website, for example, and another vertical or square. Although we must define the primary logo, we can choose the one that best fits the support.
For all variations, it is necessary to define the minimum reproduction size, to avoid the logo printing in such a small size losing legibility, especially when there is a tagline whose letters are usually already small. The lower the quality of a given printing system, the more care we must take not to approach the dimensions designated as a minimum.
We also have the defence area, which is nothing more than the space that defines the safety margins around the logo, which will protect it from other graphic elements and maintain an effective reading. We must represent these minimum allowed safety margins in the manual.
We also need to define the colours that make up our logo and indicate them in different colour systems, such as:
- Pantone (offset printing)
- CMYK (offset and digital printing)
- RGB (screen)
- Hex (HTML) and Grayscale.
It is also essential to show the behaviour of the logo in its institutional colours, in lighter and darker colours, in unique colours such as gold and silver, as well as the positive and negative variants. In certain situations, we will need to use the logo in a single colour, as happens, for example, on stamps, or when we have to use it over a specific colour or photograph on which it's not readable, and the solution is to use the positive or negative options. All these situations must be foreseen in the manual, always bearing in mind that the most important thing is to provide good legibility and easy recognition of the logo.
Regarding typography, it is common for the logo to consist of the name and a tagline, which are two different fonts. The first may not work well in plain text as it does not allow for proper reading, as it has an overworked format—becoming tiresome when used in a block of text or has limited characters. So, if while in the title we only need the characters, we should choose for the tagline a complete font family and that, in addition to including at least the regular, bold and italic, also have accented characters, punctuation marks, numbers, uppercase and lowercase, allowing us to write without limitations. In addition, use the font in the tagline; this font should be used in the body of the stationary text, in brochures or in other publications where is used blocks of text.
It is also advisable to indicate the fonts that are as similar as possible to those that make up our logo and are available on Google Fonts. So that we can use them on the company's website, thus working perfectly on all computers and online platforms without the lack of font change the graphics. The typography must be presented in the manual, indicating which one belongs to the logo and which one should be used on the website. If the lettering used in the construction of our logo is already in Google Fonts, there is no need to make this distinction.
These are the basic and essential guidelines for preparing a Style Guide. A complete manual includes a presentation about the company, an explanation of the logo construction, and all the collaterals already designed. But it all depends on the needs of each client and how much he is willing to invest.
If your brand logo does not yet have a Style Guide, we hope we have alerted you to its importance and that this was the input you needed to follow up on yours!