New brand book format standard.

Goodbye .pdf format, goodbye desktop publishing software. Hello .html and web browser apps.

Branding

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Feb 12, 2021

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Janis Verzemnieks

We just came back from «Slush» conference and it really is the place to be, if you want to foresee the future with a digital presence. By now it should be clear for everyone that humanity is going towards a fully immersive digital era. For us, as a digital agency with more than 10 years of experience on our shoulders and a crazy amount of digital and branding projects behind our backs, digitalization on all everyday life and business aspects come natural and balanced.

The world already has «Weblflow» and «Froont» for creating and managing websites without the coding part. We have «Slack» and «Asana» for centralizing and managing communications across teams. And we're ultra happy for «InVision» app which we use it ourselves to skip the web prototyping fuss. In other words, formats for old challenges are changing. We talked about that with a few branding practitioners at «Slush» and for all as one, we came to a consensus that up until now there really was no standard for brand books that all brand creators collectively would accept as such. Everybody just designed them by their own means and most often designers designed avantgarde layouts for the sole purpose of impressing their client and in the process forgetting brand books’ highest purpose as an approved guideline document — keeping the brand message, image, and tone of voice consistent. Sexy identity design showcase stories are for «Behance», identity guidelines are for real-life with dry practicality. The closest standard thinking is the reality that we collectively have agreed to use the .pdf format. But PDF is only good for reading & printing, but absolutely not the right format for brand asset management and guideline sharing across all brand managers and partners.

Because, in addition, you also need to send separate .zip files, which makes losing context between output logo files and related guidelines fairly easy.

You also have to constantly manually check if everyone is updated with the latest brand book file called “brand_final-superfinal-v99.pdf”.

+ If your brand also has a sonic identity, which you should have, you simply can’t put audio sample files in .pdf and you end up creating another separated .zip folder, which is lost in the countless emails.

That’s why it’s clear that now is the last time to stop wasting money on layout designers who still design this outdated .pdf brand book format that no one will use. And it’s time to stop wasting time on brand asset sharing through emails.

New format standard:

Fastest developing brands such as «Uber» are already using its full potential for displaying their rebranding concept; also have a look at «Audi» with a more pragmatically structured layout which we recommend as a thinking direction. From these examples we see that options are limitless, it’s your call about the form! We’re excited to see how designers around the globe will find the perfect equilibrium of looks and intelligence by displaying brand guidelines online. And we also want to be a part of it by adding our contribution to how to easier shift our clients’ mindset towards an online brand book and how to better optimize it for the long run.

We have observed how this brand book transformation movement is expanding through the latest years and now it looks like it has reached its peak to shake every brand creator and manager to change their way of designing, managing and sharing brand guidelines. If you have not said goodbye to .pdf yet — then you will, it is inevitable. But the next big questions are — a) what is the best way of designing these new brand books and since your brand is an alive and ever-changing substance — b) what is the best way to take care of it? And you need to find these answers because just switching to a Digital Brand Book, still keeps you hanging on to challenges.

When you design or you hire someone to design your digital format guidelines in some desktop publishing software like «Adobe InDesign», «Illustrator» or «Sketch», it’s a time-consuming process to design layout and then code it afterward. This process comes very close to that of building a website, and we all know how long and expensive that can be. Ok, you can try «Weblflow», «Squarespace» or «Froont» which would be a much smarter choice, but still, since they aren’t specifically built for brand book purposes, you end up subscribing these services with limited options for updating your brand book without covering all aspects to be considered, and not perfectly adaptable to the needs of your identity. Companies also are familiar with the mentality that when a design agency delivers the final brand book — it’s an autonomous file and it belongs to the client. PDF works that way and it’s healthy to stick to this tradition because it really makes absolute sense. Therefore, the Digital Brand Book also needs to give absolute peace of mind so brand managers don’t have to worry about a cloud storage trust, scheming costs on subscription plans of keeping it online and extra expenses every time there is a need for an update in any of the brand book sections.

So we decided to build a one-stop-publishing-app with specifically designed CMS (Content Management System/administration panel). It all started as a necessity to solve challenges for our own clients within the agency, but later we realized that, hey, it could be a useful tool for other designers, agencies and brand managers.

The designer's duty is to polish the brand and brand’s duty is to shine.

Janis Verzemnieks


Creator of online brand book tool corebook.io to aspire full confidence in branding 💎 🎧

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