Corporate identity manuals

—Juan Carlos Fernández

The corporate identity manual, or brandbook, is a key element of any corporate identity project.

Its objective is to organize the files and offer guidelines for the correct use of the identity in all its applications in communication materials. However, the way in which manuals are being used today is inefficient; they don’t respond to the necessities of today.

The manual should work for the identity in the best possible way, but corporate identities and brands have different needs and applications today. Let’s take a look at why. 

First, the incredible number of channels used for communications purposes by companies nowadays. For many years we depended only on radio, television and the printed press for reaching the mass market. For internal communication purposes we used newsletters and notice boards. The point is that communication used to be one-way. Today, what companies say about themselves becomes easily fragmented or incoherent if the information is not controlled and modulated. Sometimes companies seem to be mere spectators of everything that’s written about them on social media. It’s now clear that everyone everywhere has become a mouthpiece for opinion. 

Another change has to do with how a brand is graphically expressed. Faxes and bad copies are in the past; now we have an incredible range of possibilities through printing, photography, illustration and digital media. Brands move, talk and sing like never before. Its graphical manifestation can be as rich as we want it to be, on any surface or texture. What this means, however, is that much greater control has to be exercised by the company.

The third perspective – and the principal theme of this article – is the use of technology for the easy and efficient management of corporate identities.  A couple of years ago we got together with our friends from CompuSoluciones to create an online platform for the implantation and management of our clients’ identities, called identidad.com. All the projects that we have developed recently now have a versatile online brandbook for their identity. Each one includes all the visual and communication criteria and guidelines, as well as all the files. Every file is labelled by name, image, and personalized information with a detailed description to guarantee its correct use. The files that correspond to the section in question are right there, just a click away. For example, if the description is of the logo in spot colour, in its vertical version, with slogan, for printing, the file is right there. With just a click the correct file can be downloaded immediately; never again will you have to lose time looking for a file.

Corporate identity manuals in static form are now totally obsolete. And even though it seemed obvious to us that we needed something like this, there was no specifically designed tool for designers of corporate identity. So we had to create it ourselves. 

The best of this new platform is not just that the files are easier to find and identify, nor that they are directly linked to the guidelines in the manual, or that all the resources are backed up in the cloud, or even that the manual and files can be easily shared with colleagues and suppliers… No, the best thing of all is that the brandbooks are now living beings; they can be edited, modified and updated with great ease. So, the manual is not an old fashioned document that risks losing validity with the first changes, it’s a tool that breathes to the same rhythm of business today. 

Technology is part of our lives, in all its forms and evolutions; we have to take advantage of it to the maximum. The great difference between brands of yesterday and those of today is that today they must keep up a good rhythm, faster than ever before.

Our platform is available not just for us, it’s for everyone. Take a look at our page:  www.identidad.com and follow us on facebook.com/identidad.com.manual.

Juan Carlos Fernández

Founding partner and creative director

Accomplished conjuror of symbols and metaphors, tireless creator of ideas. He created Ideograma in 1999 and today he is in Montreal where his incessant curiosity and inexhaustible creativity is the helium that inspires and elevates us all.

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