5 golden rules to ensure consistent branding

How to make sure your branding is consistent across different touch points, platforms and territories.

One of the biggest challenges of a new branding project is ensuring your design is consistent across all platforms, touch points and territories. The worst mistake you can make is to create a brand that is impossible and impractical for the client to implement and use.

Be inspired by these outstanding uses of colour in branding

So how do you do create the perfect branding in an increasingly complex world? Here are five tips from leading designers…

01. Coherence, not consistency

Rolling out a brand across different touch points and territories is less about consistency and more about coherence. It's about having a set of core brand elements to draw upon and flex across multiple brand channels – says Karen Hughes of True North – rather than just having a logo in the top left hand corner of everything.

02. Avoid impractical brands

Designers shouldn't limit their thinking with practicalities, but they do need to remember that at some point a brand will have to be used by the client to create PowerPoints, word templates, and so on. Ignoring this point will only come back to haunt you later down the line.

03. Consider digital early

Digital applications can be some of the biggest hurdles when it comes to brand consistency. "For some reason they are often regarded as their own niche without approaching them in a more holistic way," says Gareth Howat of hat-trick.

"[Digital] is often boxed off as a separate exercise – it should be the opposite. Early involvement of digital designers or teams is crucial to avoid this problem."

04. Take a principled approach

Taking a more principled approach to graphic design is key in achieving consistency across touch points. "So rather than a rule book that tells you how to apply the brand in a given situation, we think much more about principles," says Jon Hewitt, creative director at Moving Brands.

"It's about giving inspiration to designers to understand the best way that they can apply the brand to any situation."

05. Build the ultimate toolkit

Brand guidelines are still the ultimate tool to keep branding consistency, according to R/GA's Lucio Rufo. "Our goal is to help clients understand that consistency builds recognition, and recognition leads growth."

"The brand is not only solely based on a logo, so it's important to map out all the possible touch points, and from there establish all necessary guidelines."

Have you entered your best branding to the 2015 Brand Impact Awards?

Enter the 2015 BIAs to join the likes of johnson banks, hat-trick and R/GA – all triple award winners in 2014 – as well as Rose and Coast, who scooped Best of Show awards

If you've created some outstanding branding in the last 18 months, you're eligible to enter the Brand Impact Awards.

They're judged by an elite panel of designers and client-side creatives from global brands like Coca-Cola, and aim to celebrate the industry's best branding across more than 20 different market sectors.

Beyond a stunning piece of design work, the judges are looking for consistency of application across various touchpoints. Work will be judged according to the market sector for which it was designed.

The deadline for entries is 18 June, 17:30 GMT. You can find out more about the Brand Impact Awards here, and enter your work today though the Brand Impact Awards website. Good luck!

The full version of this article appeared inside Computer Arts issue 239: Love Print/Love Digital, a special collector's item.

Illustration: Jose Miguel Mendez

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