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That logo could look so much better


Here’s the scene:
The new intern tasked to produce the company newsletter feels it needs a bit of holiday cheer. He chose a great photo and didn’t get too crazy with the fonts. But then he looked at the company logo. It looked stuffy and unfriendly to him. With the best of intentions he switched the logo’s teal to a holiday green and replaced the “o” in the company name with a clip art wreath.

Luckily, just being an intern, a supervisor was there to compliment his enthusiasm while correcting him on the improper manipulation of the corporate image.


Too often however no one is there to catch deviations from corporate branding. Sometimes no one in the company even knows to be concerned with corporate colors, fonts, image choice, or logo usage. But with a little time, you can set up some basic rules to guide people in the proper use of your brand.

Here are steps to start building your graphic standards manual.

1. Have a quality copy of your logo and know which file type to use. Check out my blog on graphic file formats. Include instruction that the logo isn’t to be stretched, combined with clip art, or otherwise altered.

2. Record the Pantone colors used in your logo. Make it clear that the logo should only be used in approved colors. Also make note of complementary colors to use on presentations and marketing collateral.


3. Select fonts that work for your company’s brand. Determine what font should be used on letters vs. brochures. Perhaps you’ll use one font family for headlines and another for content.

4. Be clear on how your logo should be used when limited by color. You might have a full color, a 2-color, a 1-color, a black only, or a reverse (white logo printed on a dark background or photo) version of your logo and your guide should detail the appropriate use of each.


These are only the basics. Work with your marketing staff or design firm to decide how much detail is important for your organization. Your guide could be as small as a page or as large as this comprehensive guide that gives details on how much space should be around a logo, what type photography should be used, and more. 

branding, marketing

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