Brand guidelines – colour outside the borders

It feels like one company said ‘we need brand guidelines to make sure our logo is recognisable across the board’ – then a person at that brand moved to another company and the method spread and spread. In reality, ‘guidelines’ shouldn’t be rules – they’re a foundation for creativity.

We’re not suggesting there shouldn’t be guidelines – there has to be some form of ceiling to work under – but, when we’re looking at placements of logos, symbols, exact colours that can and can’t be used – aren’t we just limiting creativity?

There’s a perception that consistency of branding allows for potential customers to recognise a brand further down the line in the nudge-nurture strategy and make the connection; while there’s some truth in that, sometimes it actually just blends into one and turns the audience away before any momentum is gained.

Push the boundary on social visuals. So you know this isn’t just Tony Robbins-style words of motivation, here are some suggestions:

  • Use bold, big imagery
  • Touch on the pulse of your industry (yes, your industry – not your brand)
  • Prioritise diversity and inclusion where possible
  • Incorporate video content – this is so important; all platforms are leaning to video-first content. Make them short, make them snappy and for goodness’ sake make them interesting within the first 5 seconds
  • Make any video content accessible with subtitles – most people view social with audio off

This is all possible within brand guidelines! Some other tips:

  • Just because it doesn’t say you can do it, doesn’t mean you can’t do it
  • Video effects – there’s loads of options – most feeds can be static and boring. Think about some neat effects that could work within the guidelines you have (but don’t forget inclusivity for those who may be vision impaired)
  • Try a few designs that are new and put them to the brand/marketing team – some may get push back; it’s better to overdeliver
  • Try and use more than one colour – solid colours won’t engage as much as x2 blended
  • Static visuals – change these to short animations – they’ll almost always perform better

Ahem…sometimes external agencies can help too… if you’re ready to be less boring and push the boundaries, give us a shout.

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