How to create identity guidelines that empower your clients?

Imagine you have created a masterpiece by investing your time and hard work; now imagine that an unscrupulous client is misusing this gem of yours. Not just in your imagination, this happens in real life; and it is more ubiquitous than you think.

Writing guidelines is uniformly monotonous as reading them; rarely does someone takes an interest in them, let alone read it word to word. As designers, we’ve always been tending towards creating some breathtaking graphics; doesn’t matter how many attempts it took. But what designers forget or oversee is that designing part is as tricky as communicating the design properly with clients.

Communication is essential in designing as much as any other part; its importance is two-fold. Firstly, it is the key to understanding the client’s demand and portraying those demands beautifully in your designs. Designers have to dive deep in clients’ thinking pattern to comprehend what they are looking for.  Secondly, it is necessary to represent the design and its underlying elements to clients for proper use.

If you overlook this essential part, then you might end up spending precious time of yours in devising something that is not even useful. And in another scenario, if you don’t communicate it properly with your client, then he/she might end up using your design in a way that will make it look bizarre, and thus your efforts will go to trash. Also, designers should stay in touch with the client in all stages of developing until the final design is ready.

Remember, the client’s proper inputs are not only crucial in creating a unique brand identity but also necessary for you as your reputation is at stake with the usage of that identity.

Let’s have a look at some of the guidelines that need focus to devise a perfect identity design. While checking out these guidelines, keep in mind that the purpose of these guidelines is to make sure that a consistent and appropriate design is created and shared to create a unique brand identity.

  1. Useable on all digital media:

These days, brands opt for multiple forms of digital media for communication and promotion purposes. So, keeping this in mind, designers should create a flexible and responsive design. The design should be able to work on all screen sizes, be it desktop, tablet, mobile phone, or a high definition LED.

  1. Email usage:

Addressing your client’s email needs, the designer should create a suitable logo to use in emails. No client likes to a design that doesn’t fit in an email. So, following the client’s needs, the design should be such that it can be added as a signature in email or can be embedded in various versions of Mailchimp.

  1. Video usage:

The growth of the digital age is advancing towards the use of video clips and video messages. To create a unique identity in videos, the design should be such that it can be added in videos without any hustle. Moreover, its size and opacity should be easily modifiable as the video demands.

  1. Social media usage:

The use of social media is indisputable in this era of digital technology. Almost every brand is using social media. Social media is indeed a great tool to create and boost your identity. Designers should check in with clients which social media platforms they are going to use. Each social media platform has a different layout and pattern and comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. So, by keeping such needs in mind, a perfect design should be devised. No one likes to see a cropped or poorly aligned design or logo on the social media sites. So, designers should create a suitable design for all usable platforms. Moreover, as social media sites offer image filters and color schemes, the designer must guide their clients using their aesthetic sense, about the colors that will complement and enhance the under-work design.

  1. Print usage:

Designers should also guide their clients about the usage of their design (logo) in print media. They should guide what sort of background their clients should use to boost and enhance the design and make it prominent. Also, as there are various print forms like business cards, brochures, newspapers, magazines, to name a few. A designer must guide and educate their clients about each print media as all require different color patterns and layouts. As an example, the client will need varying color schemes for a magazine (which comes as a brightly colored media) and newspaper (which comes in black and white). Also, the size of the design varies with the type of media. For instance, a full-sized design image is required for a promotion campaign, while a thumbnail is essential at times with other details.

  1. Label files clearly:

Designers should develop designs by keeping in mind all real-life scenarios. All designs should be adequately labeled to ascertain that the client uses appropriate design at all platforms. Labeling duty is assigned to the designer because he/she know more about the plan. The client should not involve his / her aesthetics and should rely only on the designer’s instructions.

  1. Color schemes:

Every color has its meaning and representative power. Designers should use appropriate color pattern that goes with the brand’s image and helps in creating a unique as well as proper identification. Moreover, as per the client’s needs, the designer should provide design in all available colors. As pointed out previously, the client might need the design in the black and white pattern (as for newspapers) or dazzling colors (for a magazine). So, keeping in mind such varying needs of clients, the designer should develop a design in all available color patterns. Also, they should explain to their clients why they are using specific colors while discarding others. Furthermore, they should guide clients about various color formats as RGB, Pantone, CMYK, and others.

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