2 min Read
August 6, 2015

DIY Design: Volume 1

Big Duck

As a Big Duck designer, I’m no stranger to the questions, “What’s a visual identity? And what’s a brand guide?” Your visual identity includes all of the visual aspects of your brand—the logo, color palette, typography, and images your organization uses when you communicate with your audiences. A brand guide is a hefty resource Big Duck puts together to help organizations make sure they’re using their visual elements in the right way, consistently.  

But what if you don’t have the resources for a full visual identity overhaul and brand guide development?  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be walking you through some steps you can take to keep your communications looking fresh in our new “DIY Design” series. In this edition, we’re covering logo and color.

Polish your logo.

Your logo is the face of your organization and can make a lasting impression on your audiences. It’s important to make sure your logo represents you well by keeping it consistent, high-quality, and professional. Making a few simple tweaks and setting some clear guidelines for its use will go a long way in establishing your visual identity and helping you communicate more effectively.

  • Never warp, stretch, rotate, or distort your logo in any way.
  • Make sure everyone is using your logo consistently across all channels. Set up some rules about how it should be sized and where the logo should be placed on a page or screen.
  • Decide on a final color palette for the logo, and always stick to it whenever you use the full-color version of the logo. Do the same for a black and/or grayscale version, as well as a negative version (white logo on a dark background).
  • Only use vector (eps or ai file formats) or hi-resolution raster (300 dpi or higher, jpg or png formats) images of your logo to avoid any blurriness or pixilation.
  • Never place your logo over complex, multi-colored imagery to ensure legibility and clarity.
  • Create a logo package so that your team has easy access to the right logo files for whatever project they’re working on. Try to include files for the standard logo as well as logo/tagline lockups (either vertical orientation, horizontal orientation, or both), and implement only those options across all materials.

Establish a color palette.

Color is an easy and memorable way to bring your brand to life and communicate your organization’s personality at the same time. Having a selected color palette will ensure that your communications materials are more recognizable, look like they’re coming from the same organization, and speak to the right audiences.

  • Look for ways for color to express the personality of your organization and choose a palette that will differentiate you from your competitors.
  • Choose two or three primary colors that are from or work well with your logo. Just as with the typography, the color should always support your logo, not compete with it.
  • Choose three to five secondary colors that compliment the primary colors but are slightly more subtle.
  • Use the color consistently across all materials!
  • Remember: balance is key. Attention-grabbing color is great, but it only works if it stands out.

Ready for more? Check out DIY Design:Volume 2: typography and photography!