Businesses everywhere are honing in on the value of intangible assets, with the right identity being at the top of the list. As information designers, when given the opportunity to take a brand from start to finish, we approach it a little differently.
Working with FLO, the JV now working on two of London’s largest construction projects (Thames Tideway Tunnels and Northern Line Extension), we put together two sets of branding guidelines. One document took a more traditional form, delving into the personality of the brand; a version meant for the marketing, design and executive teams. The second document is a TDL approach on branding guidelines, a pocket guide given to all members of staff.
The pocket guide had one main goal; to make using the brand as simple as possible. By achieving this it would inherently create greater brand consistency, with all of the staff working as brand advocates. Openness in the use and implementation of the brand creates a much stronger and reliable relationship with the identity.
As part of our design process, we researched a number of other brand guidelines and shared them with the client. Alongside deciding on possible content this helped us to create an outline of the document’s size and level of detail.
Extracts from guidelines are property of their respective companies and not designed by TDL‑Creative
Investigating a binding system to accommodate frequent updates was our next challenge. We settled on book binding screws, which also alluded to the construction project background. This would allow the user to update and edit their version as necessary.
The final pocket guide was provided in both digital and printed format. The pocket guides were distributed to around 100 of the staff working on the FLO projects, and are in use as a day-to-day tool. The pocket guide and the main set of brand guidelines were created simultaneously, along with a selection of templates and other graphic devices. This process allowed us to retain consistency across all the elements and informed content related decisions throughout.
A range of key features made the pocket guide a success. These include:
- Easy navigation – Key areas were translated into icons, which were used as a menu/marker along the right side of the page. These were particularly useful in the digital interactive version.
- Appropriate language – Often brand guidelines delve deeply into the emotive reasoning behind a design decision. In this environment, where the reference had to be quick, the guide was written in a friendly but informative way.
- Visual aids – Diagrams and graphics can be far more useful in explaining a concept or idea than written text. We included graphical instructions throughout the document to support or even replace text.
- Top tips and important information – Points of specific interest were highlighted throughout the document on the left-hand pages. Using this as a consistent area for helpful tips, the reader becomes accustomed to the reading pattern and knows to look there. These sections were often related to the main body of the text but served as supplementary pieces of text that could outline some parts in more detail or reference other relevant sections of the guide.
- Binding and production – The final pocket guide came in two formats; an A6 printed version and an interactive on-screen PDF. The on-screen PDF could be quickly distributed across the company and made use of the tabbed system. Links to relevant contacts and templates were also included. The printed version was designed so that it could be easily updated. Bound on the left edge with two binding screws, the client could easily add more pages to each guide as required. This would also allow for custom versions for specific teams, and if the user wanted to add extra notes of their own, they could.
“ The FLO branding pocket guide is a great tool for our JV employees. We find it challenging to pass on the “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to branding, as the project keeps growing in numbers, so the guideline is definitely a handy book to go to. Thanks TDL for adapting well to the number of requests and changes during the creation process. Always in such good spirits! It is great working with you.”
Mabel García Aranda
Stakeholder Communications Manager
If you’d like to see how we might be able to turn your 80 page brand guide into something the whole team can use, then please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the London studio on 020 8940 8213.