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Building a Brand Book: When, Why, & How

Lesson 4 of 11

Consistency & Setting Up Standards

Josh Silverman

Building a Brand Book: When, Why, & How

Josh Silverman

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Lesson Info

4. Consistency & Setting Up Standards

Lesson Info

Consistency & Setting Up Standards

Here's. Some costs of inconsistency. You might have a team that starts thinking independently. They start splintering off and thinking, well, we're in a different location, and we want to make decisions on our own. Wei don't have any correlation to the parent brand enough that there needs to be some independent decision making that's, that's gonna hurt? If you're not in a team and you're just a remote worker flying solo, you might begin to make some decisions for yourself. On what identity to use what words to use. You absolutely need that that consistency as your backbone of your work. If you have an in house team, and you also work with consultant teams, sometimes without a brand standard, they might start to spread different messages. Maybe if you're a consumer, you don't recognize the product from one month for one purchase to the next. And that prompts you to make another choice so you could lose business without that consistency. If you don't have a consistent image, the rial, or...

even the perceived value of your brand, can be diluted. And without brand standards, nobody knows what to do with the new visuals. Nobody knows howto use them how to implement them. So there's a lot that can be lost without that consistency josh quick question that just came in from mel who's watching online and I know that we've been talking about how the supplies different different types of people no matter how big your company is or how small so wanna read mills question says I understand that the sets of emmanuel or brand books are very important for a company whether its a team or many people working together to get that consistency but what about for a sole proprietor would that limit the natural evolution of a different brand identity and you talk about the cost of inconsistency and I guess it sort of boils down to how could I be inconsistent if it's just one person if they don't have to collaborate with everyone does that make it more likely for things to be consistent or you can you have the same problems if you're a sole proprietor you can have the same problems I think it's really interesting question you can have the same problems but putting it in one place will help you not have to reinvent the wheel each time we'll have you like know which color it was especially if you're working on multiple projects that's not your sole client if you have like you know six different clients was that pms one twenty eight rpm ast one thirty seven like you need to make sure that you have that record of your work and if for whatever reason that client is no longer yours you probably want to leave that legacy with the customer so that the next designer the next person whose implementing it whether its design or engineering anyone anyone else can actually like abide by way you had created right and if you do that work ahead of time while you're a sole proprietor if you do bring other people into your company if the company grows you're more prepared for it yeah nobody exists in a vacuum nobody collaborates in a vacuum you absolutely need to make sure that you're communicating what you're doing to someone else it's part of the conversation yeah I'm curious to know if any of our students here do you guys have any stories where something inconsistent has either cost your brand or your company anything because I know that we're gonna get him or this as we go along but hearing stories from our students here really helped to illustrate everything that we're learning any horror stories of inconsistencies actually it's a cell from looks so when you get that brand guideline from someone even if their solo printer it's so much easier because there's no questions there's no you know oh you sent over this and the pdf says it's this color is that the color you want to go with because the sample you sent is this other color and that kind of thing it just makes things crystal clear and there's no confusion so the product looks like the sample it looks like the pdf looks like everything else looks like what it will look like on the shelf looks like the things you bought last month looks like the things you bought last year yeah that's great what what did you use yourself? I work for the largest supplier promotional products in the uk so everything from penn's a note pads to stress balls in us bees there's a lot of different products and a lot of different print techniques and things like that where that became incredibly important because how you print on a pen is a single ink versus a four color process on a pad so what were the standards like but you heard depends sometimes you have somebody that's like I just want to get a one color print on a pen for say a funeral for my uncle which would be one of the more unusual things teo actually worked on the michelin account so you can imagine what their brand standards were like and what the standards were like when we shipped and they were see their product so that's that's great! I'm glad you talked about different color printing processes because that's a tone that's its own complicated decision in the world of printing you actually have to look at like the pantone's watch books and like compare them to the seemed like a good and kind of you but that's a lot easier if you're actually looking at it in person and you have the that pantone's watch books in front of you but it's much more of a crap shoot on the web because everyone khun customizer monitor and they have different brightness levels and that affects the color android versus other systems iphone like everyone has a different kind of preference for what color they want to look at so that's that's uh it's dangerous without without it without a system we have a question here that came in from magic coyote great screen and a good one so magic coyote wants to know and I know josh you're gonna get to this at some point but I love to just get your take on this now and maybe foreshadow a little bit of what's coming up later in the day but magic coyote wants to know they say it would be a great if at some point you could address what you do when you're faced with a client who refuses to change some core elements of their brand that are fundamentally ugly or badly designed whatever it may be but they say I have this problem all the time and I'm having to design around that and coming up with problems getting pushback from clients find out why ask life five times yeah what is it working for you well if I if I were the magic coyote let's say yeah and I had to work without client I would I would say is it working for you wire why not is it resonating with your customers it sounds like there might be a little bit of resistance change on the part of the client the leader come and uh all brands evolve over time I mean without without transformation your brand's going to get stagnant so just be kind and you're in your inquisition about whether or not it's working andi asking why and keeping keeping like continuing to ask why is actually really interesting trick to try and get underneath whatever that resistance is yeah good comment that just came in from from amber who says when I very first started I had not yet practice with the way that I spoke to my my client's a sole proprietor of the photographer I accidentally had a foot in mouth moment and I couldn't take back the way that I said something but if I had made a brand book ahead of time and rehearse what I'd say in different situations I wouldn't have lost that customer well that's a great great tale of how inconsistency can hurt a brand even if you're a sole proprietor yeah that's fantastic well it's interesting that she should say rehearsing because we're going to do a little bit of role play right now perfect yes alright magic second all right so this is this is absolutely an experiment it's going to be fun I have three potential scenarios where, now that we've learned a little bit about what the standards you are and what the purpose of good standards are, we're going to dive and briefly onto three scenarios on dh. I'd like a volunteer from the studio audience to help me with this, so let's say, so I'm gonna I'm gonna be part of it, and I'm going to make someone the new cmo, and we can talk about, like, ok, you just got to this company. You want to know what's? What? Who would like to volunteer for this? We need another chair still up. This will be fun. Josh will help you through it. It will be a good experiment. You will learn, all right, let's, give jake around, fly to get there. Jake, take a seat, comfortable the seat's. Not too hot. Josh will help you through it. Okay, cool. So. I'm your boss I'm the ceo and you're you're my new c m o and you want to know what has been happening in the company since you got here so all right let's drop in welcome jake I'm so glad you're here at blah blah blah co um I have a lot of work for you and I just want you to get started great can I see a brand book? We don't have one okay that's your first problem did you talk to your boss that way you quit um okay so what's your brand tell me about your brand blah blah blah cho is makes the best blob laws and our blah blah's they're better than everyone else's blah blah's on dh way absolutely need to make sure that customers continue to buy our blob laws because they're the best okay, so what at what how do you talk to do you react to the customers like you in direct with them what do your touch points and how do you make them feel that's good those are good questions um I guess the purpose of this role players for me to find out that you can ask the right questions about the marketing of our stuff okay and asking about the brand book and asking about like how we make them feel what our customers responses to our products are is a great way to get the conversation started awesome thanks numbers goods okay, who would liketo start with role play number two, you're the ceo, and you need to hire an identity designer for your startup. And in this case, I'm going to be the designer, and someone else could be the ceo. All right, jill. Awesome. So how can I help you hi so yeah we have been struggling with a brand we've been going to mark it kind of is a very transactional brand very promotional we're not really differentiated ourselves in the market so really kind of looking teo identify a brand soul andan identify with our customers so curious kind of what your initial observations are on our brand and how we should go to market and really kind of differentiate well what your customers say about your soul yeah they say that we're actually kind of creating better lives for them or inspiring them to grow whether that's personally or professionally we actually are kind of the first step and actually helping them lead a more fulfilling in rich life and how do they talk about there fulfilling enrich lives one of the words they use uh inspired accomplished better about being whatever it is they are going after um richer not monetarily but why not those are good words can I talk to your customers can actually sit down with them one on one absolutely it is a matter of fact we have a lot of customers in our organization and they're really passionate about the brand okay but that'll be really helpful for me for creating the identity um when is this due what's your budget for constraints there's no constraints what I would like to do is great construe that's part of the problem is I think yeah, our brand has had constraints and so it really looking to do is take the restraints off and budget we can work with I'd like to not start with the budget I'd like to start about kind of the vision for the brand and work in stages to bring that to life okay and so this is a long term relationship what you're talking about absolutely great I love it thanks let's do it thank you that was awesome good work I want to work with you I'm ready so josh so what was it that was good in that in that role play so I know there were a few times we face kind of lit up you could tell that she said something right so what does working in the role play um I think an openness to working on something together um collaboration instead of like leading with constraints you said no constraints and I don't think that really happens in the real world but it was a nice role players and I scenario to envision working in yeah my face absolutely it up because I like the way that jill was able to invite me into the conversation design absolutely thrives and constraints but the fact that you lead with let's work it was more collaborative like let's work on this together let's co create that's actually really exciting for designer cool. All right, well, let's do one more cool we'll play here and I think this one is something that everybody can relate to. Yeah, so let's say that you are really in love with a new app, and you want to use her test feature in the app on dh. You notice something's off. I've made the up. You're the user, and you want to get back to me about what you see is inconsistent. I would liketo come up to the bad come out to play. Okay, great. So, do we want to talk about the app, or should we just keep it with you? Because you tell me a little bit about the age of seven? Um, my app is a, uh, I don't know. Let's, let's, go. Okay. What, when I put it back in your court, what's like what's something that you have, you user tested something recently, you exit sign ourselves, yeah, thisa lot. Good. Okay, so why don't we? Why don't we figure out what it is we're working on first, and then I could be the creator, and you could be the the person giving feedback great, so what's it with a nap you've tested recently, um oh I was working with web conferencing software recently okay that's really terrible on the phone no one a computer okay um so that you have the interface on the computer but what was nice about the the stuff that I was testing is that if you had a problem on the computer you could also call on the phone so you could also hand off really easily because that's not something that you can do with a lot of web conferencing stuff a lot of the time it's like if you're on the phone you can't be on the phone you have to hang up and then you log in and then you lost content it's very confusing so how are you going to give feedback to me the creator of this app as the designer or is the tester that is noticing some inconsistencies or some some difficulties and actually the interface the use of it um well I'd probably say something like this is really confusing okay break it down I don't understand why there's this button here but then you also have this icon over here and it looks like they do the same thing but when I click it I don't really understand why this does this but this does something else because they look like they should be doing the same thing like if it's a um like log on and then up here there's like a box with a lock on it. You know like I would think that those do the same thing you would think that yes but this one when I click it it takes me to another page and then I lose my web conference that I'm I'm in so I don't really understand why those two things look 00:16:09.259 --> 00:16:12. like they do this they think but they don't okay that's 00:16:12.02 --> 00:16:13. a that's a good example 00:16:14.61 --> 00:16:17. can you give me another example of something that 00:16:17.47 --> 00:16:20. is frustrating about my platform 00:16:21.57 --> 00:16:25. there's also just a lot of ways to access it you know 00:16:25.04 --> 00:16:27. and so I got this email and it's really long and before 00:16:27.62 --> 00:16:30. I get online for my web conference which I'm in a 00:16:30.74 --> 00:16:32. real hurry to get on to I have to leave this whole 00:16:32.85 --> 00:16:35. long email and figure out which thing I want to dio 00:16:35.73 --> 00:16:38. you know so I'm just really overwhelmed with all the 00:16:38.2 --> 00:16:40. information you gave me I just want one simple way 00:16:40.38 --> 00:16:42. to do things yeah yeah yeah you d'oh 00:16:44.79 --> 00:16:48. that's so those were really good frustration points 00:16:48.25 --> 00:16:52. that a good u ex designer would feed back to a platform 00:16:52.84 --> 00:16:55. how do you have those conversations how do you begin 00:16:55.69 --> 00:16:58. to turned it from this is my frustration to let's 00:16:58.7 --> 00:17:01. work on this together how do you get past that like 00:17:01.88 --> 00:17:02. teo 00:17:04.39 --> 00:17:07. I think a big part of that is just he's going back 00:17:07.47 --> 00:17:09. to the story of it. What was the user doing and where 00:17:09.65 --> 00:17:13. does these air wantto end up you know so in that story, 00:17:13.71 --> 00:17:14. where you're talking about 00:17:16.07 --> 00:17:18. getting that email with all that information, figuring 00:17:18.74 --> 00:17:21. out either how to represent that graphically so, they 00:17:21.29 --> 00:17:24. can just look at it all in one sweep, or figuring 00:17:24.1 --> 00:17:27. out what's, unnecessary and a lot of that's content 00:17:27.66 --> 00:17:30. management and content thinking and putting your content 00:17:30.47 --> 00:17:33. first. What situation is the user in at that moment? 00:17:33.27 --> 00:17:35. What do they really care about at that moment? That's 00:17:35.61 --> 00:17:38. all it is critical to think about that's. Great, thank 00:17:38.29 --> 00:17:40. you. You can work to work everyone.

Class Description

The brand guide is the roadmap for employees and ensures consistency across the company. Josh will help you create a brand book that is comprehensive, actionable, and easy to use in Building a Brand Book: When, Why, & How. 

Josh is a veteran branding professional and in this class he’ll show how to create complete brand guidelines and adhere to them. 

You’ll learn: 

  • What a brand guide is and how to use it 
  • Components of a brand guide and how to create your own 
  • How large and small businesses apply brand guidelines 

Whether you are a designer working with clients, a solopreneur, a small business owner, or working on branding in-house, Building a Brand Book: When, Why, & How with Josh Silverman will help you develop a better understanding of branding and how to develop guidelines everyone can use.


Yi Ji

WOW, really worth the money, information is real, up to date, the quality of audient also good, they ask really real question, not those kind of 'performance' course. Thanks!


This class has potential, but misses the mark for me. The first thing that I noticed was the fact that the video and the sound do not sync with each other. It feels like you are watching a foreign move with English dubbed over the lip movements of another language. It is often hard to hear the audience questions as they do not hand around the usual 'creative live wireless audience microphone' and I think that was a mistake. The topic is a good one and the speaker is appears to understand his craft but a lot of the 'talk' in the first few videos could be removed by a clear definition of terms in the very very beginning of the class. If feels like it is flowing on an off the cuff manner and is lacking the structure that Creative Live known for. Instead of spending so much time asking the students about their understanding of what brand identity is and way to many quotes... I would like to see some practical how to advice early on in the class. I would love to see more classes covering this topic from people like Sean Adams or Alina Wheeler :) I am sure this class will get better the further I get into it and I normally do not write a review before I have listened to the entire class. Also I purchased it at a deeply discounted rate so even with those issues factored it is is still work what I payed for it. :)


Absolutely relevant and interesting content, made through example classes. The way the material is exposed is very good. One single critic, since the headline is really precise on the topic I expected more on the "how" but the course doesn't really teach a "system" to create a brandbook, like choosing wich documents are to be included and how to make and expose them depending with the client needs. The course is all about the why explained through case studies, which is good but partly neglect the headline promise. Anyway this is still an excellent course but I thought it would be useful to point out this aspect.