Respect Brand Guidelines When Creating Infographics
Working with clients on infographics will inevitably mean interpreting and following their brand guidelines and, occasionally, trying to stretch those guidelines. Keep your own branding guidelines in mind as well.
Consult brand guidelines to give you a sense of the overall corporate look and feel. Some companies will want to create a sense of elegance; others will be most comfortable with a sense of whimsy. Exploring brand guidelines can help determine which type of client you are working with.
Because your client will almost certainly want your work to fit in with their corporate identity, here is some of the terminology you’re likely to encounter. Any or all of these characteristics may be addressed in brand guidelines:
Equity: The power a company derives from having a well-known name
Experience: Whether your company is an established powerhouse, or a cool new kid
Values: Whether your company has an affiliation with a particular social issue, such as the environment
Personality: Young and fun, or serious and buttoned-down
Positioning: Market dominance
Vision: Focused on the future
Tone of voice: Serious, humorous, snarky
Strategy: Growth potential
Several areas of design should be covered in branding guidelines. Here’s a look at what you can expect in terms of fonts, colors, and logos.
Using recommended fonts
If your client has brand guidelines, font usage will be one of the most important. Remember that your clients are used to seeing documents and communication with particular fonts. Seeing things outside that font can be off-putting.
Pay attention not only to the font families preferred but to the specific styles of font preferred. You may want to see publications the client has approved in the past to help guide you in usage of the client’s preferred typefaces.
In the event you don’t have access to the client’s preferred fonts, you may ask the client to send the fonts for your usage or to reimburse you for purchasing them.
Working with logos
Your client also should provide you with logos to use in the infographic. You will need high-resolution files of about 300 dpi (dots per inch) to ensure that the logo reproduces well in various sizes and in various formats. Vector-based files are preferred.
Some clients will allow creative usage of their logos, but this is a risky prospect because most companies are protective of their logos, and copyright rules may forbid altering the logo. Given that logos are the most identifiable visual element for most companies, it’s not hard to understand why companies generally want to maintain their integrity.
Working with colors
Many clients will allow a great deal of leeway in the colors used in an infographic. This can allow you to set your work apart from other artists your client may have hired. If much of a client’s previous graphic material sticks to a monotonous color palette, maybe you could try something different.
Pushing the limits could set you apart, especially if you can come up with a color scheme that really appeals to the client.
However, you may not want to stray too far from the guidelines they set forth. Just like with fonts, your client is probably accustomed to seeing certain colors, and seeing those familiar colors in your work may make the piece feel more comfortable for the client. Others simply stick to very specific choices to build up their brand identity, and designers must always respect that.
Using copy guidelines
Many companies will expect certain copy usage guidelines. Common copy stylebooks you’ll encounter include Associated Press, APA, The Chicago Manual of Style, and MLA. When in doubt, check the Merriam-Webster dictionary.