Protecting Your Brand with Brand Guidelines

In athletics, it’s common practice to proudly display the team’s logo on the locker room floor.

Within that sacred space, it is ingrained in team culture not to step on it. Everyone affiliated with the team makes it a point to move around the room without a toe touching the logo.

What if others haven’t bought into the team’s culture? Is it fair to expect them to show the same level of respect?

Outside of sports, logos are on just about absolutely everything that is made or touched by humans. Next time you’re out and about, start taking inventory of how many logos – even those of larger brands – end up in so many bad places.

It gets even better when one considers that someone had to make a conscious decision to put it there, fully knowing the outcome.

Nearly every day I encounter a logo or company tag in improper settings. I see logos on floor mats and poorly placed or constructed signage. I see them painted or in vinyl in cringeworthy places, even with a better location nearby. I see logos used as a giant backdrop in keynotes or as wallpaper in the digital and physical realm. Sometimes they’re stretched edge-to-edge in the slides with all buried beneath charts and data.

Think for a moment about the pictures displayed around your home.

There’s a reason we hang a photo of mom on the wall in a nice frame with matting all around. It’s called respect.

You wouldn’t expect to see a wall in another’s house with a bunch of low-resolution sheets of 8.5×11 paper printed out of their family, parents or children and thumbtacked to the wall.

If we truly love the company we work at or own, wouldn’t we want to afford it the same reverence? Why should a company expect others to respect its logo and brand if its own team doesn’t show it the proper respect?

Take a look around at all the places your company’s logo has landed, and ask yourself:

• Are you keeping it clean, dry, and safe?
• Does it have some clear space around it so that it isn’t crowded out or hidden by other elements?
• Are you forcing people to walk on it with their dirty shoes?
• Are you cluttering up a slide deck with it either buried and piled on by a bunch of data, or jammed up against the border with ten other items of interest?

When FUEL helps a client refresh or develop a new brand identity, we also develop a Brand Guidelines document covering logo usage and styling in complete detail. This includes not only the Dos and Don’ts of logo usage, but all the spoken, written, and visual pieces that comprise the complete Brand Expression. When paired with a Brand Strategy document, these create a holistic playbook for your entire team and partners to work from.

Our experience has shown Brand Guidelines to be vital in getting everyone outside AND inside your four walls on the same page and they often provide significant cost savings over time – especially when it accompanies a newly updated or created brand of any scale of complexity.

By creating consistency across the enterprise and boosting recognition with customers, you can prevent your team from making honest but counterproductive mistakes. These mistakes, if left unchecked, have the potential to hinder the performance of your brand. Ensuring that your logo always receives the respect and attention it deserves is key.

— John M.

To see some of the Brand Guidelines we’ve built to support our clients’ brands, explore our Work.

Bill Bollman
Creative Director

Bill Bollman is FUEL’s Creative Director. Before co-founding FUEL in 2001, he worked for Horizon Communications, JW Morton and Basler Design Group. Bill studied Illustration at Hawkeye Tech in Waterloo, Iowa. An expert in the “old ways” of hands-on print production, these skills influence his work in the digital world to this day. His work throughout his career has been featured in international publications including Graphis, How International Design, Communication Arts, and The One Book as well as numerous design annuals and reference books.

Hometown: West Union, Iowa
Involved in Design and Marketing since 1988
Interests: Fitness, Travel, Movies