Brand value and the importance of brand guidelines


With the recent release of The Guardians brand guidelines, we look at the importance of guidelines with direct insight from Chris Clarke, deputy creative director at The Guardian. 

In an interview with online journal ‘Its Nice That’ Clarke speaks out about the challenge to unify all of the guardians elements into a coherent and communicative design language that could be translated by the design team and the business as a whole. “….we were faced with the task of unifying a myriad of different styling, typographic patterns, colour theory and grammar through various iterations of The Guardian had weaved itself into the tapestry of our design vernacular.”

Brand guidelines agency

The goal of brand guidelines is to protect the strength of your brand so that it continues to create value for your company.

Operating on two levels, brand guidelines explain how you should use the brand to achieve business objectives and provide practical instructions on how to use brand elements consistently. The brand guidelines also explain how employees can reflect the brand values. A 2005 study by consultants Booz Allen Hamilton and Wolff Olins found that brand-guided companies outperform their competitors, with results that improve profitability. “It is fundamentally important that we are able to communicate the values and ideas that The Guardian embodies simply, consistently and coherently across our own and third party platforms,” explains Chris. “We are aware that only a small percentage of our readers are inured with its history as a newspaper.”

The_Guardian_brand_guidelines2The Guardian’s visual identity reaches far beyond journalistic and editorial tone of voice, but also trickles down to their other platforms, businesses and sub brands. “This added layer of diversity means we had to evolve an editorial language beyond a marque and design toolkit,” explains Chris. “Our identity therefore isn’t just our masthead – it is a rich kit of parts that resonate in our brand DNA. From our smallest articulation the roundel, to tonal colour theory for different accents of content.”

Every employee is an ambassador for the company’s brand,  so for the company to live and breath the newly aligned brand guide they have distilled the core elements down to a series of posters that now decorate their offices, giving a sense of how important the design language is fundamental to what they offer. Coupled with a series of talks, workshops and an internal brand refresh this is a great example of brand alignment and communicating to a company so they can be unified internally and externally.

Merren Spink
Design Creative
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