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graphic standards

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Points are won for consistency by taking the extra effort necessary to record design rationale.
by Andy Attiliis

Creating a formal guide to define how the brand of an organization should be maintained is proof of the issue's importance. However, while most entities go to great lengths to publish standards, few are able to stay meticulously on course for very long. To me, this indicates that creative muscles are harder to control than most of us realize. With the pressure of new inspiration around every corner, dismissing even our own guidelines is easier to do than anyone would like to admit. Despite the obvious logic that inconsistent creative initiatives will prove to be poor long term investments.
         The service that graphic standards give an audience is faster recognition of who we are. To change looks with every new published effort makes things hard on our customers and prospects. Such flights of fancy are usually the result of individuals being influenced by the largest advertisers in the world. The ones who can afford to constantly develop new campaigns because of access to tremendous resources. Their situation is entirely different from that of the vast majority in that they are the least vulnerable to branding interruptions. That makes mega budgeted corporations the very last examples that we should try to mimic.
         Since the effective design of a graphic standards manual can so greatly enhance a company's identity, it should be very well considered. While fancy binding and extravagant printing will emphasize a manual's importance, concentrated effort on making branding methodology and purpose understandable is the vital goal. For even the smallest of companies, this can be accomplished effectively. So long as you retain an experienced designer, a well conceived black and white guide can be made one requirement of the first assignment. The point is that a committed management must formulate efforts and strategies with the designer to ensure that such important communication principles are adhered to for as close to forever as humanly possible.


Andy Attiliis has served as art director for three advertising agencies. Since becoming an independent professional in 1981, he has been hired by nearly every type of business organization. With focused concentration on improving the continuity of a message’s concept and quality, he has often performed multiple creative functions on a single project. His additional experience as a creative director, designer, illustrator and writer have made him an extremely efficient single source art director/creative provider. The kinds of communications for which he has provided art direction range from ads to newsletters, brandings to Web sites.

Copyright 2001 Andy Attiliis. All rights reserved.
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