Design 4

Creating a Brand Identity

An identity is not just a logo. It is a design scheme composed of a number of core elements that come together to create a distinctive look and feel that makes the brand instantly recognizable.

You will create a brand identity to use for your deliverables and work for the rest of the semester. For the remainder of the term, each of you will be operating as a design studio and in doing so you will need to “ brand” and “package” all of your deliverables for any projects that you will be working on.

Brand guidelines are a tool to help designers create, and communicate a visual design system that can be easily applied to an organizations design needs. The guidelines need to be easy to read and understand, with a focus on clarity and presentation, when there are multiple parts of the overall brand to present in one publication.

To develop a visual vocabulary for your brand, you will create the following:

· Logo (This may include an identity mark with symbol + type, as well as a stand alone symbol. It should be both a black and white logo as well as a logo that incorporates color. Consider the context and application of where your logo may appear; on the side of building or on the head of a pin, print, bill boards, mobile device screens, websites, t-shirts, stickers,. Use Adobe Illustrator.)

· Color palette

· Grid system and approach to structure (which you can apply to documents, websites, business cards, logos, and any designed system you create going forward).

· Graphic language and optionally a photographic style.

· Typographic style (select a typeface(s) that “work together” and create a one page typographic guide on how type will be used in designs.)

· Template for your printed deliverables and process documents (Adobe InDesign, use a grid in Master pages)

· Presentation template (this may be Power Point, use a grid)

· Business card (The standard dimensions for a printed business card are 3.5 x 2 inches. That’s the finished card size. When setting up your business card in InDesign you will want to create bleeds use 3.6 x 2.1 inches. The “bleed area” is an extra 1/8 inch of space for design elements or backgrounds that extend beyond the finished size of your piece. A business card design with bleed is printed slightly oversized and then cut down to the correct size, giving the appearance that the printing “bleeds” off the edge of the business card, rather than having white borders on the edge. Use Adobe Indesign, and use a grid.)

Using the visual vocabulary created for your brand, tweak the design of your web site to make all of these assets look harmonious. All should have the same general color palette; use similar fonts (the same fonts when possible). Use the new logo in your header image, and graphic elements in an optional background image, etc.

Create a “Brand Guidelines” project page on your website where you will add your sketches, logos, documentation and final branding guidelines.

Project Notes

You are creating a visual identity for your “design company”. You can come up with a clever name or it can simply be your name.

Step 1: Brainstorm/ Sketch/Research

Brainstorm and Write about your brand
Your “company” is a design firm specializing in _________. (Fill in the blank.) Consider what adjectives you would use to describe your design company. Write a brief text document about what your creative goal for this brand is. Consider the following: Who is your ideal client? What age group is your desired audience? What designers influence you? What issues are important to you as a designer / studio. For example you may be focused on any of the following: Environment, Culture, Politics, Civics, Education, History, Economics, etc. Write about what is important to you and how it informs your brand.

Sketch thumbnail drawings for at least 10 ideas for your logo. You must generate a series of “informal” sketches and notes regarding this project. Post to blog.

Research and find at least 5 examples of personal logos by designers or artists you admire. Post to blog.

Research and write a text document about your brand and write about two design problems that you envision your brand providing a solution for through design.

Step 1: Deliverables

1. FILE: JPEG scan of thumbnail/research sketches. Post to your blog.

NOTE: When posting images online, make a copy of the original file and optimize it for the web, and then post it to your blog.

2. FILE: JPEG post to your blog, at least 3 examples of logos/branding you like (and is relevant to your identity)

3. TEXT: MS Word and post to blog a 25-50 word summary of what you want your brand to say about you. List three adjectives you want your identity to embody.

4. TEXT: MS Word and post to blog, two brief (1-3 sentences) thesis statements. Each statement should describe an issue and design problem in the world that you want to provide solutions for though design.

Step 2: Draft (Prototype)

Using your initial sketches, create a single Illustrator art board 11 x 17”, brainstorm as many logo variations as possible (aim for 20). These can be scanned sketches and ideas generated in Illustrator. Next Generate 3 different logos in simple black/white. Replicate them at three different sizes (3” wide, 1” wide, 100 pixels wide).

Solicit feedback from at least 5 different people using the Poll function on your blog as well as in person.

Step 2: Deliverables

1. FILE: 1 or more JPEG files of your 20 logo explorations

2. FILE: 3 JPEG files of your black and white (no greys!) logos at three different sizes posted to your blog.

3. TEXT FILE: write brief notes regarding the feedback on your logos.

Step 3: Refine/Implement

1. Based on feedback, select a logo. Create a document with the logo in black/white logo at three different sizes (3” wide, 1” wide, 100 pixels wide).

2. Create a color palette for your brand. Using Illustrator, create different combinations of your color palette by drawing 1” squares.

3. Create a typographic specimen demonstrating what and how typography will be used. For example this may include headings, body copy, annotations, leading, scaling, alignment, etc.

4. Create examples of graphic elements, and optionally photographic style. For example graphics may be all based on geometric shapes, or it maybe more organic shapes. Photos may be all closely cropped, or panoramic, duo tone, or full color, etc.

5. Create a grid system and approach to structure. For example using the golden ratio, a system of thirds, or tenths, a modular grid of squares, or a hierarchical grid, etc.

6. Solicit feedback from at least 5 people including at least one person over the age of 50 using the Poll function on your blog as well as in person. Document findings.

7. Assemble rough version of the documentation for your project “Process Packet” that should include:

a.               cover sheet (with your name, project name, email, website, my name, class name, semester, year)

b.              sketches

c.               rough logo ideas

d.               3 draft logos at three different sizes (3” wide, 1” wide, 100 pixels wide)

e.               Final logo with both a color and black/white logo each at the three different sizes

f.               Color palette

g.              Graphic, photographic style

h.              Typographic style.

i.               Example of a grid, and an approach to structure and composition

Step 3: Deliverables

1. FILE: JPEG of your revised logo

2. FILE: JPEG of your color palette

3. FILE: PDF of your typographic specimen

4. FILE: PDF of graphic and/or photographic style

5. FILE: PDF / InDesign document demonstrating Grids, Guidelines, and the type, and visual elements composed into an example of how the grid and structure may be applied.

6. TEXT FILE: write brief notes regarding the feedback on your design deliverables.

7. FILE: PDF / InDesign draft of Process Packet based on the use of the grid to “create guides” in master pages, and the use of type, color, and graphic / photographic elements.

8. Refine the look of your blog to take on the look and feel of your brand visual vocabulary.

Step 4: Final

The final multipage document created in InDesign, should compile all of your visual vocabulary and include: both a color and black/white logo each at the three different sizes; a color palette; an approach to grid and structure, an approach to typography, examples of graphic and photographic style.

You will also need to create a business card and a documentation template (InDesign); a presentation template (Power Point); and modify your website to reflect your new brand.

Finalize the Process Packet containing all of the deliverables. Print 20 business cards. Must look professional (sturdy card stock, neatly trimmed)

What is a process packet? A process packet documents each step of your process. It should feature artwork representing each step as well as some text indicating what everything is. It must include a cover sheet with your name, email, website address, class name, semester and year. Generate it in InDesign, and then export it as a PDF file. Remember: the purpose of this packet is to present your design work and process in the best possible manner.

Technical Requirements

1. Final logo must be a vector image with any strokes expanded and any type changed to outlines

2. No low-resolution art work. Artwork and design elements for printing should be at least 150 to 300 dpi. All imagery must be clear, crisp and “professional looking”.

3. All imagery must be original and created by you.

Step 4: Final Deliverables
Prepare all your work in a professional manner. Including your project documentation on your website. A printed Process Packet for your brand guidelines in color. Save the pdf AND your entire collection of source files for the project onto a CD.

1. FILE: Process Packet. Post a pdf to you blog. Print in color. Save a PDF and all source files (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Word, etc.) on a CD and submit with the printed document.

a. cover sheet (with your name, project name, email, website, my name, class name, semester, year)

b. sketches

c. All preliminary and final logo ideas

d. 3 draft logos at three different sizes (3” wide, 1” wide, 100 pixels wide)

e. Final logo with both a color and black/white logo each at the three different sizes

f. Color palette

g. Graphic, photographic style

h. Typographic style.

i. Example of a grid, and an approach to structure and composition

j. Include a design for your business card, business card mechanicals (grid, layout, bleeds), and screen shots of your web page reflecting the new brand.

2. FILE: Illustrator File of your logo (Include with your source files on the CD. Make sure that all type has been created to outlines, all strokes expanded)

3. Updated blog that looks like it adheres to the brand you created. Your blog must have a menu page for your “deliverables” aka “projects” and under this page menu you should have each of your project pages and specifically a project called Brand Guidelines with all the project notes, documentation and process, as well as a link to the pdf of the Process Packet for your brand guidelines.

4. FILE: Power Point Template. Designed with your brand identity.

5. FILE: InDesign template using master pages, a grid, etc. designed with your brand identity.

6. FILE: InDesign Business Card designed with your brand identity.



You can download the web and print brand guidelines for this cultural center in the heart of London.

I Love New York

From with the I Love New York logo designed by Milton Glaser, the related brand identity guidelines lets you can see exactly how the logo is applied from magazines, print adverts, TV, merchandise etc.

These branding guidelines are really cleanly laid out with lots of attention clearly paid to the overall aesthetics and presentation of the logo as well as its various applications.



These brand guidelines are a few years old now so unclear as to the accuracy of this particular version, but it still gives you a very detailed view of how companies like Skype value how their brand is viewed, perceived as well as presented.

View the guidelines here:


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Welcome to the Design 4 Blog

This blog is for inspiration and education related to the Parsons Design 4 Information Design and Visualization course taught by Andrew Robinson. The objectives of this class are to help students in the Strategic Design Studies program to learn how to create effective information design as a tool for communication. Beauty in form and function, which communicates ideas effectively, is our goal.
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