What's in a logo: Creating usage guidelines for your brand

Creating an organized way to document and share your company's identity usage standards ensures that your brand personality and relevance is never compromised.

This means the consistent display of a company's logo in print, on tv or the web.
For example, when designer creates a master workmark or logo as an EPS [encapsulated postscript] file, it scales to any size and will maintain it's quality - no jagged edges.
When the file gets resaved and distributed in various formats for printing in an ad as a .tiff file or on the website as a jpeg, png or .gif file, the logo should look and feel the same.

A logo usage guide or Style Guide may be an online document with links to graphic resources or it may be an elaborate printed manual to communicate with affiliates, staff or suppliers.

It starts with identifying those key elements that reflect the core values and represent the image attributes of the company. A designer details every possible placement and usage standards for the company's identity.

This includes the do's and do not's of logo in various mediums from websites to print and display advertising.


  • Font choice
  • Print type treatment: options for headlines, subhead, callouts/decks
  • Online HTML treatment such as Cascading Style sheets [CSS].
2. Colour Palette
  • Colour combinations showing primary and secondary options.
3. Graphic Treatment
  • Logo or logomark
  • Photographic styles
  • borders, rules, bullets, graphic identifers
  • Illustration and graphic treatment.

4. Templates
  • Web grid layout that shows designated content areas
  • Sketches to illustrate placement and appearance of key layout features.
5. Navigation and Information design
  • Create a diagram of the navigation design. This is the HTML template that shows
    the structure of the page and identifies key content areas.
  • Print out or link to live example
  • Icon-based treatment
  • Address global, 1st and 2nd level navigation.

Here's an example colour palette that displays references for web hexadecimal colour, RGB for TV, and Pantone numbers for print.

#CC3300 R204 G51 B0 PMS 1665

#993300 R153 G51 B0 PMS 1675

#000000 R0 G0 B0 PMS Black

#666633 R102 G102 B51 PMS 378

#999966 R153 G153 B102 PMS 0000

#666666 R102 G102 B102 Cool Grey 9

#993366 R153 G51 B102 PMS 208

#FFCC66 R255 G204 B102 PMS 134

Check out my Building Blocks of Branding Worksheet.

Image above: Tulips at home on the windowsill.

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Experience the world through the eyes of a child

Once in a while we get to rule the streets - family and friends relax on the tracks between sessions at the Beaches Jazz festival on Queen Street East.

My teen home was filled with Catholic guilt and conditional love. We were kept in line with angry words, long spans of silence and enjoyment withheld, including Christmas presents and time out on weekends with friends.

When my second son was born, tired and cranky, my self-awareness became heightened.

It was time to become a better parent if I wanted a home filled with harmony, cooperation and love.

    It was heartbreaking listening to Patrick O'Sulivan's interview on The Current, wonder why no one ever stepped in when his Dad was beating him in the parking lot after hockey practice.

    In junior school, my entire class received a caning one day. Someone had done something wrong and No one had owned up to some wrong doing so we were all lined up outside and with outstretched arms, each received two lashes each. It stung like hot coals - swollen, broken skin, shamed in front of the school.

    Names like Bones, Chicken legs, Breastless  came at me as a preteen and I learnt that words could sting as much as that cane.

    Petar was excited to start school at 5 years old in Croatia. He quickly learnt that a bad grade in English would mean a beating at home.

    When he ran away from home for three days, nearing starvation, he reluctantly returned.
    The beatings never stopped until he was old enough to stop the hand himself.

    Patricia grew up on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent with her single Mom who would brandish her with an iron comb and take a hammer to her head in rage.

    Andy's parents used corporal punishment as a motivational tool to increase grades, while at school he faced racial slurs and death threats as a minority Chinese Canadian in his neighbourhood.

    Norman became a good runner as a kid. As a fun loving geek growing up in Mississauga, he'd run or ride his bike to school every day.
    Those skills were useful in making a quick getaway from bullies on the football team at the end of school.

    Deng was a young man in Dafur when he was captured and kept in a deep, dusty hole in the ground for days on end with little food, water - no bathroom facilities.

    When Steve was five, it felt natural to use his left hand but whenever he picked up a pencil, he got rapped on the knuckles hard. Over and over this happened. He was told that it was the hand of the devil working.

    Do you have a childhood pain that cuts deep? Scars that fade but never go away.

    In the early spring the Willow trees attracts aphids but a few weeks later, become an elegant shelter for family gatherings at the Lake.

    Beaches Jazz Festival is fun for the whole family - Moka  brings it's blend of calypso, folk, reggae and parang to the streets summer 2015

    Learning the hula hoop with the family, Saturdays at the Evergreen Brickworks

    Inherited from the Pan Am Games, the colour-changing Toronto sign at City Hall is a perfect selfie backdrop
    Union Summer brought Front Street Eats on the street - a few picnic tables and umbrella for shade makes a difference with the Union Station construction

    In the backyard this  summer, the Nasturtiums went wild - easy-to-grow annual with edible leaves and flowers. 

    Bluffer's Park at the Lake.

    Kayaks and Canoes ready to go for a day sail

    There's nothing like being near the water on a hot day - Bluffers Beach.

    Lavendar is a flowering plant in the mint family that smells heavenly, is edible, has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Bring some indoors in the wintertime.

    Davisville Junior Public School is about to be transformed into a community mid-town hub. Learn more at  midtownhub.ca

    From the exploring kids to the recycling entrepreneur, everyone's belongs at the intersection of Queen and Yonge. 

    Sometimes the best of friends can cut deep with words. What are the North Toronto kids are wearing these days? - the Herschel Supply Company Backpack is a must-have.

    Parenting classes gave me the tools not only to communicate with my kids but to reflect on my own behaviour as a parent, to be in the moment, every day.

    Here what I learnt from Beverly at the Parenting Network:

    • Equal rights, not equal in abilities
    • Keep "No" "Don't" to a minimum. Praise good behaviour. Ignore bad behaviour
    • Use "I" Messages; describe the behaviour, say how it makes you feel, describe the consequences of that behaviour
    • Always offer choices. example: "Time to get cleaned up, do you want a bath or a shower?"
    • Show children your trust, not your anxiety.
    49 Phrases to calm an anxious child

    There's only one rule to live by: Be Kind

    Manifesto of Kindness

    1. Be kind to loved ones: Treat those in your care as you wish to be treated
    2. Be kind to others: Put yourself in their shoes
    3. Be kind to the planet: Plant one tree in your lifetime
    4. Be kind to all living things: Remember reduce, reuse, recycle?
    5. Be kind to Yourself: Put it on your skin if you can put it in your mouth.

    Learn in your own way: essential parenting classes in Toronto, audio downloads and this book:

    Raising Great Parents: How to be the parent your child needs you to be.

    photos: Summer 2015 Toronto
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    Still fighting for our rights

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know we were seeds

    In my reality, it's 1967,  Pata Pata is Number One, Miriam Makeba and Stokely Carmichael are crazy in love. The The Black Power Revolution (Trinidad February 1970) exposes the fact that people around me are being treated differently based solely on what they look like, the colour of their skin. 

    In my Nelson's West Indian Reader the Atlantic Slave Trade that brought us across the Atlantic Ocean from the 15th through 19th century seem so far away.

    This happened and everyone knows. Finally an apology from the Colonial powers would bring reconciliation.

    But it wasn't all over and forgotten.

    It's 1996 and Tracy Chapman is still talking about the revolution and flash forward to 2016 and the Trump vs Clinton US election exposes what we knew had not been reconciled.

    The underbelly of Hate exposes the truth we have been ignoring – the truth that we all discriminate and we use these tactics to separate, to dominate, to take selfish advantage.

    As the visible minority know, this is what you live with everyday. When someone tells you, you're being too sensitive or you're imagining those indiscretions, we can all agree that being ignored, belittled or disrespected did not start with Trump.

    We are fortunate to live in a place where the Ontario Human Rights Code gives us a set of rules to live by.
    Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability.

    Women's March Toronto January 2017

    The Women's March Toronto January 21st 2017 protest, prompted by Trump's victory, we stood up for women’s rights everywhere.

    Women's Rights are Human Rights

    I can't believe we are still fighting for Women's rights, Gay rights, Religious rights, ethnic rights

    Stop racism. Stop misogyny

    MSIT NO 'KMAQ means recognizing and acknowledging the living spirit within all things, encompassing the entire animal kingdom, the spirit within plants, rocks and waters of our world

    I share this haiku, written by Teresa Fisico so eloquently expresses our Canadian dream:

    "Sea to Sea to Sea.
    Diversity defines us.
    The Land unites us."

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    The Creative Brief: 10 questions I ask before starting a project

    It's Game on for Youth Soccer fans at The North Toronto Soccer Club starting every Spring.

    Writing a Creative Brief helps to summarize all the factors that can impact your communications strategy and the development of a website or product.

    10 things you need to know:

    1. Company Background
    • Corporate and industry descriptions. What's your business? 
    • Description of the competition. What are you offering that's different?
    • Contact information:
      - who are the decision makers, who´s responsible for what
      - are their any other outside contractors working on the project or materials produced to date that we should be aware of
      - how much time can you commit to this?

    2. Project Overview
    • Mission statement. SWOT:  Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
    • Branding. Is there existing direction or existing assets?
    • What are the important factors for success
      for example
      - integrated web strategy & corporate strategy
      - a web strategy to fit your marketing plans
      - Renovation. repurposing of existing content or information
      - creating a community for dedicated visitors
      - a quality multimedia experience (well executed graphics, writing, navigation)
      - Speed. I'm in a rush to market
      - ease of maintenance
      - doing better than our competition on the web
      - staying within the budget
      - people bookmark the site because they get so much out of it regularly
      - sending the message that we know the web and use it appropriately
    • Are there any plans to measure success

    3. Project Goals or Objectives
    • What are the basic goals of this project:
      for example
      - branding and identity reinforcement
      - improving access to information. collect and distribute information
      - online sales, direct sales
      - corporate communication. interacting with customers.

    4. Target Audiences
    • Primary web audiences 
    • Secondary web audiences
    • Who is the audience. Who do we want to attract
    • What are the different groups within the audience(s)
    • What jobs/functions/activities do they perform
    • Are they in one or more locations (depts, countries, companies, facilities)
    • Do we have a multilingual audience
    Requirements for using/accessing information
    • Will the web site be used for:
      - providing or acquiring product information
      - purchasing products/services
      - answer questions for themselves and others
      - locate related resources
      - gain new knowledge and skills
      - perform procedures
      - conduct research
    Knowledge of content
    • What is the primary web audience's knowledge of the content:
      - is it new to them
      - are they familiar with the content
    • What is the secondary web audience's knowledge of the content:
      - is it new to them
      - are they familiar with the content
    Experience with technology
    • What is the comfort level with the web and the browser
    • What kind of browsers are they likely to use
    • Are there bandwidth or download issues to consider
    • Is the audience comfortable using a search function and other interactive features
    • Will the audience need to print what they see on the web.

    5. Information Summary
    What information needs to be included
    • Where will the information come from
    • does the information already exist
    • in what format does it exist.
      How will it be supplied:
      - brochures, current web site, define electronic format and delivery
    • Do we need to:
      - create new content. Writer required.
      - edit existing content. Editor required. 
    • Does video, audio, graphics or animation need to be created to support the topics.
      - Does any already exist. How much and in what form?
    Ownership of information
    • Did the information come from inside the company
    • Do we have permission to use it
    • Are there sensitivities regarding the approval process within different business units or partner arrangements
    Updates/revisions needed
    • Is any information provided not appropriate for the web
    • How many sets of revisions are anticipated before the information is ready for development
    • Is the information static or dynamic or a combination
    • How often are updates and revisions required
    • Who will be responsible for updates
    • Is the information currently accurate.

    6. Branding: Desired Image Attributes
    This provides guidance for the tone and manner of the organization's communications and function as criteria for the development and evaluation of the site.
    • Define the image attributes. What it is, what it isn't.
    • Provide illustrative tips for visually (assist in look and feel) and verbally (assist in copy development) defining your desired image attributes.
    • What qualities do you want to emulate on your web site.
    • What sites or companies.

    Here are some examples of image attributes

    A world-class corporation whose operating companies have recognized reputations and proven track records of performance, experience and expertise in energy transportation, distribution and related services.
    • high quality production and paper stocks
    • use of imagery
    • full colour
    • copy should be, forward-focused, while referencing past successes
    • reference entire organization to convey breadth, depth and expertise
    Leading IS:
    • Well-regarded. Evolving. Experienced. Skilled. Visionary. Wise
    Leading IS NOT:
    • Complacent. Rigid. Arrogant. Bureaucratic. Risk-averse
    A company with the momentum, insight and motivation to continually meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of the evolving energy industry.
    • expansive layouts
    • ample "white space"
    • graphic representations of growth (e.g. charts, maps)
    • speak of initiatives throughout the organization
    • use benchmark measurements to illustrate improvements and set context for growth
    Growing IS: 
    • Energetic. Agile. Strategic. International. Proactive. Opportunistic
    Growing IS NOT:
    • Unfocused. Reactive. Staid. Short-sighted. Impulsive
    A market-oriented company that delivers results and satisfaction by anticipating and meeting customers' needs , requirements and expectations.
    • active people-based illustration and photography
    • developed friendly graphics, clear lines and simple layouts
    • use clear, professional language that communicates expertise and demonstrates understanding
    • benefit-driven copy and headlines
    Customer-focused IS:
    • Responsive. Flexible. Understanding. Accessible. Cooperative. Knowledgeable
    Customer-focused IS NOT:
    • Inwardly-focused. Condescending. Presumptuous. Complicated. Remote. Uncompromising
    A consistently dependable and trusted company that is focused, financially sound, socially responsible and ethically credible.
    • bold use of colour, shapes and graphics
    • use a crisp, confident tone without appearing arrogant
    • use bulleted text to emphasize key points
    • avoid flowery, overly-descriptive prose
    Strong IS:
    • Established. Trustworthy. Responsible. Stable. Honest. Consistent
    Strong IS NOT:
    • Overbearing. Insincere. Flighty. Over extended. Invincible
    A forward thinking, technologically astute company that finds creative, progressive ways to better serve its customers, improve operations and deliver value.
    • unusual cropping of imagery
    • unexpected combinations creating visual interest
    • develop refreshing uses of well known concepts
    • provide status reports and updates
    • solicit input and utilize interactive and electronic formats (e.g. Q & A, intranet)
    Innovative IS:
    • Progressive. Leading-edge. Continually improving. Incremental. Creative. Inquisitive
    Innovative IS NOT:
    • Traditional. Confined. Historic. Satisfied. Finished


    Provide your overall favourite sites and reasons for your choices
    - colours, look and feel, user interface, layout
    - size of site
    - publishing model
    - quality of graphics and content
    - functional elements.

    7. Functionality
    • What functional requirements do you believe are necessary
    • What do you want your visitors to be able to do at the site:
      - download areas (extranet)
      - database-driven
      - catalog, e-commerce
      - applications
      - submit forms
    • Who will update and maintain functionality
    • Are there any security issues or considerations
    • Have you budgeted for hosting and maintenance of the site
    • How will the site be served/hosted
    • What type of database systems are in place
    • What is your longterm plan for the site
    • online catalog of products and have full e-commerce capabilities
    • input on surveys
    • enter contest or promotions
    • member account services including the V.I.P.program.

    8. Target Audience Configuration Assumptions 

    Operating System and browser compatibility

    What platform or device will your audience be viewing your materials on. eg standard desktop browser, laptop, ipad, mobile device etc. Browsers include Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc.

    HTML Component examples
    • All HTML pages will minimally be developed using the W3C XTML standard. (displayed to end user as HTML 5)
    • Animated GIFs
    • CSS (cascading stylesheets) will be implemented to control the style of the Web documents without compromising its structure. By separating visual design elements (fonts, colors, margins, and so on) from the structural logic of a Web page, CSS gives visual control without sacrificing the integrity of the data - thus maintaining its usability in multiple environments. In addition, defining typographic design and page layout from within a single, distinct block of code - to minimize the use of image maps, <font> tags, tables, and spacer GIFs - allows for faster downloads, streamlined site maintenance, and instantaneous global control of design attributes across multiple pages.
    • JavaScript to extend the capabilities of HTML.
    • User interface rollovers, menu bars, page behaviour, and routines to create dynamic, user-centred design.
    • Layout & CSS scaling design, relative layout, conditional colours, and routines for scripting the design.

    9. Final Deliverables
    Expectations on project delivery:
    • Design prototype - HTML templates
    • Web Site design components (flattened or layered photoshop files, original jpegs, cut up and optimized graphics)
    • Other format considerations, (Print, TV/Video) branding across multiple media
    • Style Guide - document of development decisions
    • Site Inventory (print outs, style guide, site architecture, content inventory checklist)
    • Partnership considerations
    • Return of supplied materials.

    10. Additional requirements
    • Competitive Analysis. What's the competition up to?
    • Search Engine Optimization [SEO]
    • Social Media marketing strategy.

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