What is a brand identity style guide?
When starting your own business, creating a brand identity style guide may not be the first thing you think of, however, it is essential to spend time thinking about the image that you want to portray to your stakeholders. This is in essence your brand identity. This can include the following and more: your logo, the name of the business or subsidiary brand name, the colours, the fonts, the photography style, the illustrations and of course the map.
Developing your own brand
My journey into business was based on a firm background in developing brand identities at an international level, so I had a bit of a head-start when it came to working out what my new business would be called seven years ago. I started with the free naming generator looking at naming the business after myself – Robinson’s Mapping Company or variations. It turns out with a simple google search that Robinson was a too familiar name and had a projection named after it, so wasn’t the clean slate I was looking for. I needed to come up with an imaginative name and trademark it. What to call a new mapping company? What did I like about the best quality maps … clear, concise, easy to read, works well in different formats (in print, digital) and makes sense to the user. Clear Mapping Co was born!
After doing a little bit of research on the company name to be considered, you need to look for customers. Where are they? What do they like to buy? Who else is in the market-place? Who do you want to emulate and how do you think you can improve on their processes? Learning about the market-place that you are going to enter is the most important part of running a business. This means style, too.
Research and development
This is where developing your brand identity style guide gets more creative. Working out your position in the market will give you visual clues about how other businesses are pitching their wares. Do you want to follow their lead in an established market or be a disruptor by doing things differently? Create a moodboard of everything that is influencing your style: photos of historical pictures, clothing, other brands and your potential customer. The moodboard needs to show insight into how you want to pitch your business, so be concise. You’ll find find the moodboard invaluable when you go to the design stage.
Commissioning work with a graphic designer or web-developer would be the next stage. They will be happy to work with you to develop your brand identity alongside your website or printed material brief. Working with you on your moodboards, they can suggest how to pitch your business to the outside world. It may seem like an expensive outlay, but it will be worth it. Did you know your brand identity and reputation actually develops its own return-on-investment (ROI)? Not only does it help by getting sales through the door, it is a tangible asset, like a computer or car, giving you an asset to sell, if and when you decide to do so.
Create a brand identity
The result of working with a graphic designer or web-developer is to get your website or print material created and your brand identity style guide. Always ask for both. It may cost more, but this enables you to ‘own’ the brand identity or intellectual property and register it with a national (or international) body like the International Property Office (IPO) in the UK.
We follow brand identity guidelines when creating a bespoke map. We will incorporate your logo and your brand colours, taking on the essence of your brand and creating a wonderful map that will work hard on your behalf. As standard we develop three versions of your final map, ready to use – an email version to send out to customers, a verison to put on your website and a high resolution version for printing. Multiple copies can be printed or a local signage company can print giant wallpaper or create and build a sign for the map.
We want you to use your maps as much as possible, so let us know if you have any other output requirements such as interactive maps for a booking system.