“In 2003 Heidi Lightfoot co-founded Together Design, an award-winning design and branding company with an emphasis on collaboration and craft. This year she will sit on the D&AD Crafts for Design Jury. Below, Heidi traces the move away from style guidelines and towards brand worlds. Read on if you want to learn how to write a style guide, and win an award while you’re at it.
At best they can feel like a straight jacket stifling creativity. At worst they’re unwieldy, hard to understand and impractical. Either way, style guides are a necessary part of brand management.
As we’ve all experienced, brands are increasingly multidisciplinary and nimble. No longer is our work restricted to a simple carton, poster or letterhead. Personality, impact and ‘brand’ has never been more important – regardless of the format of its execution.
This used to mean a cookie cutter approach where all visual assets were always the same. There was a belief that frequency and repetition built brand awareness and therefore brand equity and in turn, brand loyalty.
We now judge the success of a brand not by its ability to manage its brand mark but in its ability to be recognised without its mark. Success comes in capturing the essence and spirit of a brand; which requires a broader range of assets delivered by ‘style guides’ rather than ‘guidelines’…