A brand palette can help ensure continuity

A palette brings to mind color – the artist’s palette.

But for the graphic designer, palette refers to many of the ingredients he or she uses in the design process. At least that’s the opinion of Chuck Green, one of the most literate graphic designers blogging on the web. I look forward to his monthly email, too, because he introduces me to many new ideas and the designers of those ideas. You might say it’s inspirational. (His site is called Ideabook, but be wary – you can spend hours being led all over the design map, being amazed and amused at the myriad sites he leads you to.)

The main thing about Chuck is he gets my motor running. That’s what he did by speaking about An Assertive Palette being more than a choice of colors. He looks at all the tools at a designer’s disposal: type faces and type styles, layouts and proportions, illustrative styles and subject, and, of course, colors.

My take: what about a brand palette. If Chuck can expand the term to include design elements, I can expand it further to include the many elements of a brand.

A brand palette would take in all the ingredients of a design palette and then expand that to include name and name hierarchies, logo usage and variations, taglines, brand associations, messaging, rules for brand architecture, guidelines for copy tone and style, and other elements, both graphic and non-graphic.

By incorporating the brand palette with a brand platform – the strategic underpinnings of the brand – into one volume, creative suppliers as well as employees would have the direction to ensure continuity in all aspects of branding. This document would be more than a graphic standards manual. It would become the brand bible.

I know of no other way to ensure everyone is in step and on the right path to a strong brand, except perhaps to have every corporate activity associated with the brand be reviewed by a “brand policeperson”.

So, thanks, Chuck for once again sparking my engine.

One thought on “A brand palette can help ensure continuity

  1. Haha… if you only knew how well you’ve pinpointed my current thinking.

    A couple of weeks ago I invited fifty designers — experienced and inexperienced — to join me in an experimental, online workshop on logo design. I call it experimental because I have no idea where we’ll end up at the finish. The initial idea was to help a new designer take a studied look at the process of logo design — but the experience is morphing as we move forward.

    I tell you that because the process has made me re-think lots of what I know about branding and design — there’s nothing like the responsibility of explaining something to get you focused what you really believe. As I define my particular methods, I can tell you that your idea of a branding palette is the natural result of that process.

    I love the simplicity with which Seth Goden says it, “A great logo doesn’t mean anything until the brand makes it worth something.” It is impossible to define imagery and colors and type outside the architecture of the brand.

    Thanks for marking the path.

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