The graphic charter is the backbone of any brand communication, it includes all the information of a brand, its logo and its design. To help you, here are our explanations to create a unique graphic charter!
Before talking about graphic guidelines and examples, let's start with an observation. The brands whose names we remember all have one thing in common.
That of having a strong visual identity.
So yes, we'll quote Apple, Nike or Netflix again. But because they are good examples! For proof, we could recognize their logos and typographies amongst thousands.
Because the communication of these brands is based on a solid graphic charter, on the regularity, but especially on the coherence in their communication.
The graphic charter is used every day in the marketing tools of a brand or a company. Through business cards, a website or even a storefront!
And remember our examples: we remember these brands because of this regularity. Same logo, same colors, same typography. Everywhere. On all the supports.
Of course, not all brands have the same communication budgets to offer themselves this place in the sun in everyone's brain!
But even at your level, building a graphic charter will help you establish your brand. Because your brand is not just a logo. It's much more than that.
You will also find a template of graphic charter at the end of this article.
When creating a company, it is necessary to establish the graphic universe of its brand. This universe will then be used in the communication and all the tools whether they are paper (business cards, flyer), physical (shop window, stands) or virtual (website, social medias).
We explain why it is important. ⬇️
You have just started your business or you are thinking about it. Congratulations! 🥳
The graphic charter will be one of the founding documents of your communication.
Indeed, you must imagine your graphic charter as a guide, a set of rules that explains the visual elements of your brand. This guide will be part of the important strategic documents for you.
The graphic charter is created by a person who is a specialist in the field.
For example :
All these profiles have in common that they work on the image of brands. They master the visual codes (colors, typography), and the adapted software to translate concepts into images.
If you call upon one of these profiles to create your graphic charter, we will first give you some examples!
Indeed, it is important to understand the different information that must be included in a graphic charter for this work to be complete.
First of all, we will try to define the graphic charter as a document (often in the form of a .pdf document) which gathers the elements of your visual identity:
From this document, your visual identity can then be adapted and used on your next communication elements (website, advertising, catalog, business card).
Do you remember the example of the apple brand in the introduction? That's exactly why you need a graphic charter!
Building a strong brand starts with a clear, solid visual identity that is used everywhere! Even if you are a small brand, yes.
The graphic charter reflects the personality of your company. It tells you how your prospects or customers will recognize you.
Can you imagine, if you use a different typography for each of your communications? You could lose your prospects and customers... Changing your appearance too often could confuse them!
This seems obvious, but it is far from being the case in business. The graphic charter is sometimes neglected or out of date. Do not make this mistake.
In a company where several people work with communication documents, the graphic charter is vital. It allows to maintain a graphic coherence.
It will inform each new employee about the established rules. In short, the graphic charter saves time for the whole team and serves as a basis for deciding on future communication elements!
Yes, it is very often necessary to update the identity of your brand! But why?
Well, simply because your users evolve and their tastes too, trends change and what was modern 5 years ago is now outdated. Design and trends evolve very quickly and your brand must keep pace.
The redesign of your brand is then to be considered to mark again the minds of your target.
Presentation of your logo, its construction lines and its declinations. We also find its rights of use, what you can do and cannot do with your logo.
Presentation of the brand's colors in the form of palettes. They are defined on all supports, paper and web. Sometimes light and dark palettes can be created.
Presentation of the fonts of your brand. You can have one or more. They are presented with all their weights: normal, italic, bold...
Most graphic charters are built around different elements. Here, we will note 3 main ones: your logo, your colors and typographies.
Note: We can also include editorial rules (tone of voice, baseline, language elements), brand values or historical elements (creation date).
This is why in English-speaking countries we speak of a brand book. This type of document includes the graphic charter, the editorial charter or information on corporate governance.
See below four examples of graphic charters that are particularly meaningful! These charters are good sources of inspiration.
Slack is a collaborative SaaS communication platform widely used in companies as an enhanced corporate messaging.
Its graphic charter is divided into several sections:
Explanation on the logo (logo version only, logo version + typography) :
The colors of the company :
The typography to use :
➡️ Slack is a good example of a successful and clear graphic design. You get to know the personality of the company through all these details about the creation of the logo and the choice of colors.
The charter also has the advantage of being easy to read. Result: for its employees, it is an easy tool to take in hand!
Starbucks is an American coffee chain known all over the world. Its brand identity is strong, making Starbucks one of those brands that you don't forget in a hurry...
Thanks to its iconic green and its timeless emblematic logo. Moreover, if you want to know the different types of logo that exist, it's here.
The brand dedicates an entire website to its graphic charter. The site is designed from the brand book. It is an excellent example of graphic charter!
On this site, we find then :
The logo :
The colors :
➡️ The Starbucks charter is certainly a powerful example: it gives a clear idea of the company's communication.
For example, we can write a text and see how it looks with the typography that Starbucks uses. We discover the theory: these graphic rules and the practice with examples of advertisements of the brand.
The graphic charter itself carries the graphic identity of the brand which is functional and expressive.
Here is the graphic charter of Deezer, the French music streaming application.
This is again a website version of the graphic charter. It details precisely :
The logo :
The colors :
The typography :
Finally, discover the perfect graphic charter through the example of the French Tech Grande Provence.
The French Tech is an official French label awarded to metropolitan clusters or innovative French companies.
Here, the graphic charter is a good model that takes the usual codes of graphic charters:
The logotype is shown with information about its minimum and maximum size. We also see it with its different variants. We find a panorama of good practices and what not to do with this logo.
All the colors used are detailed as well as the typographies used.
Many small businesses think that the logo is enough to create a graphic charter. Do not make this mistake!
It is true that the logo is a pillar of the graphic design, but it is not the only one. Here is the step by step to build a graphic charter.
It is from him that we build a graphic identity.
No more than 5 colors for a clear visual identity.
The typography reflects the spirit and values of your company.
The logo is indeed the central element of your communication. It is from it that we build a graphic identity.
Your logo or logotype must reflect the personality of your company. It has a role of image: it is the door of entry for a prospect or a customer towards you.
The logo must be able to be declined under several funds of colors or on different formats.
Thus, we will find the logo on a business card, on a commercial brochure, on a website ... And on all communication elements.
It must therefore be: unique, simple and memorable!
In a second step, the graphic charter also fixes the choice of colors. We advise the use of a maximum of 5 colors: it is an ideal number to not disturb the memorization.
In the charter, you must show these colors, as well as the use of the logo with these different colors.
One must inform the values of the colors with: the name Pantone, CMYK, RGB and the hexadecimal values. This will facilitate the intervention of graphic designers for your future communications.
Note that creative professionals like graphic designers or web designers know the colors and their meanings. This can be useful to guide the graphic identity of your company.
Here are the meanings of the most common colors:
Blue will be used most often to promote :
Blue has the great advantage of inspiring confidence, it is a reassuring color. This may explain why Facebook, Twitter or Paypal use it: these sites use personal data and they must therefore inspire confidence!
It is not advisable to use blue to launch a concept in the food industry.
💡Note that the color is not perceived in the same way by everyone: it should therefore not be the only element to convey information!
The typography or font also has a big part to play in building your brand identity!
It is important to use typography that will reflect your company and the message you want to convey through your communication.
Some brands hire designers to create a personal and unique typography. This is a wise choice because it will make your brand even more identifiable among others!
Nevertheless, it is certain that this represents a significant cost.
That's why Google Font is a gold mine for typeface research! New typefaces are added almost every day. So there is no lack of choice.
Here are some examples according to the brand universe you want:
For a feminine style:
A more masculine spirit:
A childlike typography:
More classic fonts:
The typefaces found on Google Font are also perfectly suited for use on a website. On the other hand, this is not the case for all the typefaces that you can download from free databases.
So how to choose your typeface among the huge choice that Google Font represents?
List 3 adjectives that represent your brand
Finding adjectives to describe your brand is important because it will set the tone for your communication. For example, it can be: simple, classic, warm, creating links...
The typography used should reflect your main adjective. For example, for a brand that advocates minimalism or modernity, we can choose sans serif fonts such as Arial or Helvetica. These fonts have smooth edges, they show a contemporary image.
Choose from 2 to 3 fonts
Generally, it is recommended to choose 2 to 3 fonts maximum. For example: you will use one font for the titles and a secondary one for the paragraphs.
Choose a font that complements the logo
Finally, rather than using the same font as your logo, you can choose a complementary font for your titles. This way, a coherence between these two typographies will be noticed. Moreover, you will have a kind of hierarchy on your site between the typography of your logo, your titles and your text.
We have seen so far the specificities of a paper graphic design. It is important to understand the difference between a paper graphic and a web graphic. Indeed, in the second case, there will be more details related to the web interface.
As we have seen in our graphic charts examples, the graphic chart paper will appear:
The web graphic charter is realized in the case of a website creation or a redesign. It must allow the entire project team (web developers, web designers, UX designer ...) to use the same codes.
We indicate in this graphic charter :
So! Ready to create your own graphic charter with these examples?
We advise you to call a professional to realize it. Moreover, it is often interesting to confront your ideas to a professional outside your company. This one will bring a new and objective look.
And then, between us... A logo made by a passionate person of his trade will certainly have a more qualitative return than the logo drawn on your notebook! 😉
Snoweb provides you with an example of a graphic charter that we have realized for one of our customers.
In this graphic design template you can see in one document all the steps detailed in the article. To know:
We hope that you have enjoyed this article and that it helps you to better understand the usefulness of a graphic charter.
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