Brand Guidelines: Industrial Workers of the World

Brand guidelines are created to help an organisation achieve a consistent message, no matter who is speaking, writing, or designing for them. Guidelines needn’t be long or overly prescriptive, in fact it’s generally better that they’re not, because non-designers (and frankly, some designers…) tend to glaze over presentational instructions fairly quickly.

At its simplest, a brand style guide will include instructions for the correct use of a company logo, and details of the exact typeface and colours that the organisation uses. The colours are usually described as CMYK and Pantone for print, and RGB and Hex values for online use. A guide can delve much further, for example into tone of voice, links to download assets such as logos and template documents, and even how animations should work online and in video. Beyond this, it’s possible to delve into pattern and code libraries, though these are generally the realm of much larger organisations.

At Industrial Workers of the World, the issue was that different wings of the organisation were using not-so-subtle variations of the organisation’s brand, which had developed and changed over many years. Creating a simple style guide and distributing this to all branches, helped them focus on a single set of logos, colours and fonts, and allowed everyone at the organisation to unite behind a single voice.