The Open Brand, a framework for defining brands  

While writing the documentation for The Markdown Mark, I created a very simple framework to help standardize the process of defining a brand. It’s fairly rudimentary, and it currently only focuses on defining the visual brand, but it integrates lessons I have learned in the past while working with companies that didn’t have clear brand documents.

From my description at the Github repository:

The Open Brand is a framework for clearly and properly defining a brand (currently, the visual brand). It aims to help open source projects, companies, and people develop brand definitions that can be used properly, developed quickly, and referenced consistently.

Because of its structure, the Open Brand can be used by stakeholders possessing any level of design experience.

Philosophies #

Pixel-fitted PNGs You should always include pixel-fitted PNGs at every common or useful size to prevent non-designers from improperly resizing parts of the logo or mark and creating artifacts from poor automatic anti-aliasing.

Pixel-fitting is a technique used to reverse the artifacts caused by automatic anti-aliasing when resizing images. I will be publishing an in-depth article about pixel-fitting to in the very near future.

Definitions as PSD The vast majority of people do not have Illustrator, so you should define your brand using PSDs containing vector shapes. The PSD format is widely readable by just about anyone who would need to reference the brand.

The spec as a deterrent No one should manually recreate your logo or mark, but many people will make poor attempts to do so. Unfortunately, it just happens. However, using and displaying a mathematical specification document that clearly defines how the brand was built serves as a deterrent to people who feel the need to modify, change, or recreate the brand mark. (It’s also necessary for internal use, for future extensibility.)

If you tell people that your brand is particular, and that it comes as a result of a lot of thinking, they might respect it more. Flaunting the spec is just the first part of that process.

Extensible vectors in SVG SVG is a very powerful XML-based format for defining vector shapes. Because its vectors are defined with raw text, SVG works very well with source control systems like Git. It is also an open format and does not rely on expensive graphics software.

The Future #

The Open Brand template is currently very simple, but it will improve hugely in the future. To be considered complete, it needs to include more detailed documentation on brand usage, typographic styles, the preferred tone of copy and communication, and a company vision manifesto. Hopefully these improvements will come alongside external open source contributions.

For now, check out The Open Brand on Github.


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