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a brief overview of branding
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It should be possible to look across the room at a computer monitor and say "that's our product on the PC over there." Very few companies achieve that level of recognition today, largely because there is nothing to distinguish their product from anyone else's.

This is even true of many Web sites, although it is getting better.  To take an example, you can probably remember what Microsoft's site looks like, but how many others can you describe without looking? Even if you can describe the 'Company X' website, do their products and Web site share a look and feel?

What is screen branding?
The ultimate goal is to present one Brand across different media as a holistic, co-ordinated whole: the product/company web site, screens displayed by the product itself, packaging, and printed materials.

To do this you must start from the perspective that the elements you develop need to work on screen and in print.  Whilst we are not suggesting you throw away everything you already have, you cannot simply start from print and adapt everything to the screen blindly.  The medium is different, the technology is different.

Holistic - screen, web,  packaging and documents
Your existing Corporate Guidelines are almost certainly entirely print oriented. The rules and the artwork were designed for the printed medium. Unfortunately rules for size and position of artwork, artwork file formats, fonts and colour simply will not work On Screen.

For example, you probably have rules that state where your company logo should be placed.  Unfortunately you cannot place your company logo exactly at the bottom right of the screen  with a margin of exactly 10 millimetres below and to the right.

Corporate guidelines are print, not screen oriented
On the other hand PC's and Web Sites offer some interesting opportunities to Brand the interface. These stretch from traditional splash screens through to animation that helps the customer use the product itself.  Such opportunities are not defined in the traditional glossy print manuals of yesteryear.

There are some examples below to think on.  Each is taken from a real product.Click on each image to see the full screen image and text

New screen branding opportunities
A splash screen is meant to distract the user whilst your program loads. It is probably the only time you should display a graphic image for its own sake. Otherwise a graphic image should serve a purpose ... (more information) click for larger version
click for larger version Icons are shortcuts to frequently used facilities. The more abstract the concept the harder it is to design an image. A printer is OK, but what do "30 days aged invoices" look like? ... (more information)
spacer Sophisticated Branding demands an integration of colour, font and layout achieved within the constraints of the operating systems facilities.  A graphic designer experienced in screen design is required ... (more information) thumbnail image
thumbnail image In practice it is usually programmers who will implement screens, without oversight by designers. A design standard for this situation must fit the development tool and programmers' capabilities. It must be simple to execute ... (more information)
spacer Many products were originally developed for MS Windows, but are being given a Browser front end, or are being converted into Web products. For the FT Profile product we used a Browser look for a standard MS Windows product ... (more information) thumbnail image
thumbnail image The practical achievement of Branding and good Usability on the Web requires a good understanding of Browser technology. This example of a transaction product shows extensive use of colour to differentiate content and to aid navigation ... (more information)
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Copyright Khodes Consulting. Content as created 1998, site only 'maintained' in memory of David Singleton.