Whether you’re in the initial stages of building your brand or you’re well established and undertaking an overhaul, a design style guide is well worth considering.
Although it’s a non-trivial outlay in terms of both time and money, the headaches and expenses a design style guide can save you later on (starting pretty soon, actually) are tremendous. And beyond providing a template for consistent visual representation across the various media in which your branding will appear, creating a style guide will force you to make conscious decisions about exactly how every part of your company identity looks in every context—and why it looks that way.
Why go to the trouble of doing all of this? Because chances are, your brand identity is going to be handled by different people at different times. In addition to good file management and annotation, having a single comprehensive guide will make it much more likely that your website, social media profiles, print materials,
I’ve described in an earlier post what our current logo looks like and what all three images actually are. But we also have some specimens around of ancestral forms. Like any brand identity, the design process involved a lot of back-and-forth and extensive prototyping before the decision was made to commit to one version. This was all before my time, so I thought it was very cool to see documentation of those steps.
First, here’s a neat jumping-off point created by Aine McDonnell, the talented designer who developed our brand. It’s a collection of colour swatches derived from living organisms. This was a brainstorming technique to get some direction before there was a clear idea of what the logo itself would look like. The final colours are pretty close to shades found in the lower two options.
It wasn’t planned this way, but the Talk Science logo has become a sort of test (a fun one, we hope). Pretty much everyone can identify what’s in the first circle. Far fewer can tell at a glance what the second one contains (only one person has gotten it right the first time). And I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone name the item in the third circle right away, although occasionally someone comes close.
This is, of course, a cephalopod. An octopus, to be specific. Octopuses (that is how we pluralize it here) are a nearly endless source of weird biology facts. They have three hearts and no skeleton, and their brains are widely distributed throughout their extremely compressible bodies. And they’re smart. There’s debate about precisely how smart and in what ways, but their behaviour demonstrates remarkable adaptability and complexity.