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Building a Brand Book: When, Why, & How

Lesson 10 of 11

Take Action On Your Brand Guide

Josh Silverman

Building a Brand Book: When, Why, & How

Josh Silverman

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Lesson Info

10. Take Action On Your Brand Guide

Lesson Info

Take Action On Your Brand Guide

This is all where it comes together. How do you get your brand guide started? We've done the why we've done the who. Now we're going to do the how you might recognize some of these signs. Um, maybe you have a logo file somewhere that's called final Underscore. Final final. No, Use this one really. Or it in a folder called like latest Logo files 2013. You know you needed brand guide. If that is part of your organization, maybe you're asking someone for a brand guide or you have talked with a couple of collaborators and they don't actually know that one exists or you get this blank stare like I don't know, we don't have one. What is it If they give you that blank stare, you know you need to implement one. Or if you are part of a team that is building one or you're working on one with an outside agency and outside agency does not provide one to you, you need to ask the agency for one. Perhaps you're working at a medium scale company where there are different departments, marketing on sale...

s, possibly in conflict with the product team or C suite doesn't talk to marketing. There's there's conflict in the organization across the people, about what it is they're doing and how they're doing it. Getting everyone aligned. Getting that internal alignment on a brand guide will help resolve some of that conflict. Maybe you have a drop box. We have a G drive or someplace where you have ah server somewhere. But there's no centralized place that says brand assets here, use this folder. If that doesn't exist, you absolutely need to create that folder. Or maybe make ah, simple a simple folder on your hard drive just to start collecting those assets. If you ever been asked who has the most recent sales? Decker, who has the most recent whatever you need to centralize where those assets are put and most recent, is kind of a funny term because as soon as the sales dek file leaves the server and goes to a sales person's hard drive. Then that file that it's been on the server becomes outdated. You need to get that back from the sales person when they've used it. So you know what the most recent content looks like, How the sales person is talking about your company and what to do with the myriad styles they might have created, which may have been off brand just because there they're sales people, they should be able to pitch whatever it is they're selling. And maybe they took matters into their own hands because they're on a plane and it's late night and they're trying to get their latest deck together before a big sales pitch tomorrow. Get it back from them, find out what they have done differently and how it actually works in use. Maybe you are really instinctual, and you just feel something's off. Maybe you're looking across product service, marketing, print, web, and you say that doesn't look quite right. You might want to start collecting assets or collecting most recent assets, if that is the case. So there are lots of other ways these air common indicators that you might need a guide. I want to reiterate that doesn't take a village. It doesn't take a whole bunch of people to do a brand guide to get one started. It just takes you. It just takes one person. Um, as Chris and I were talking of the very beginning, I wouldn't think that starting is the hardest part is actually maintaining and keeping it an orienting people to the standards eyes the hardest part of So you'd need to align content, strategy, design, leadership, marketing, engineering. And you're smart clients. Whether you're in house, her out of house, you definitely have a client that you need to talk to. Um, it does not take a whole bunch of people to It doesn't take all of these people to actually do the work. You just need to make sure that they're all talking together. That is your job. Okay, here's how to get started. And here the first steps you can take it's okay to be a bit haphazard until it's published, especially if you're taking this on yourself. But, um, just start gathering the assets in any order if you start with the logo if you start with the color. If you start with a banner if you start with an old package, if you start with ah reporter a deck, just start gathering them in one place. If you don't have that place and you need to shop this around across all the different people that I just mentioned If you're shopping around the fact that you are making a guide to all these different people, then maybe in the process of making them aware that you are collecting it, you will build their interest in the fact that you are doing that. You will build the awareness that you are making this effort to collect the assets. As I said earlier, it takes a different part of your brain to document the specifics of what it is you're doing rather than create them. And as we've seen with so many different case studies today, Um, making the work is easier when you have the specifics. If you don't have the specifics, you need to take a step back from Okay, what is this color? How come it's slightly different from that? We saw that in Pepsi. Across the globe, there were slightly different shades of blue. Or maybe there was one can that didn't even have a Pepsi Blue is sort of whiter, um, whiter. So you want to make sure that there is a level of looking at the work itself and making sure that that you know that things are looking inconsistent? Um, absolutely. Make it easy to update and maintain it as you grow. This could be just ah, checklist. It could be on outline. It could be in a Google doc or someplace that is central and Web based so that anyone can access it. But make sure that everyone knows that it does exist and then make sure that you continue to add it. Sort of feed it, feed that beast of collecting the assets as you continue to amass them. Shopping around. Talk about it. We heard that people were on Jessie's example. We heard that people were actually traveling across the country, Um, with the was the empty example. No, it was the NASA example. Um uh, actually going to the different locations that NASA had offices and making people aware that there were new standards. It's gonna be a lot easier with conferencing that you can say, Here's the new standards guide. Now that's going to show a different color in the Web than it will when you actually print it out. But you can talk about it and let everyone know that you're doing that work as you go make it part of your workflow. It's going to be something that you have to go back to maybe once a month, once 1/ depending on how quickly your business is moving, as we've seen with so many examples, these beautiful books that were so nicely printed and people just love to fetishize the beauty of a good piece of graphic design, you want to make it appealing to look at you want to absolutely make your manual, um, something that people want to engage with. Um, here's a random painter just open to like, That's pretty neat toe. Look at that. You want to make sure that people know that there's one typeface with which to make your sign it or whatever it is you're building have to make it attractive. That's part of the the pleasure of being a designer, um, celebrated champion. Its visibility. Maybe you throw a party and you serve drinks with the brand color. I actually did that for my old studios. 10th anniversary. I served orange drinks because my brand was orange. Um, as you go, you'll find other shepherds that want to be part of this work. You'll see you'll be able to see palpably people's passion for what it is you're building, you might wanna ask them to help. Collaborate with you on introducing and maintaining the standards and make it sticky. Build a structure that grows with you. Whether it's just a simple outline or something else that you create, make sure that it's absolutely gonna grow with you and stand the test of time. When you have these these different things to do as you're going, do you sit down and brainstorm like different ways to integrate different ways to create? Is this something that you're doing, like early on in the process, just trying to come up with ways to incorporate these things? Well, I think it's gonna be different for each different organization because the brand represents the culture. So, yeah, I think you could, uh, you could shop it around in a different way, depending on what kind of company you're at. If you're a solo entrepreneur and you're consulting for a firm, that's gonna be different than if you're part of the in house creative team. Like Jeremy is Pepsi, where he was hired to make that structure Andi create the first guide in What did he say? 200 years I didn't actually know that Pepsi was too. Um, so, yeah, it's gonna be different for each different flavor oven organization. Um, on whatever works for you, I mean, the standards standards, our recommendations.

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.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Brand Standards Levels Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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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.