That’s right. You heard it right. It’s time to shred your current PDF brand guidelines. In one meaning and another. Why? Short answer would be that it’s just outdated and does not serve your brand’s ever evolving needs.
Let’s take a look at when PDF was first released. Whopping 20 years ago. In this fast paced world where tech changes so fast that it’s hard to keep track of- 20 years feels like a lifetime. But yet, during all this time brands have stuck with their PDF because well – what was the alternative, right? 10 years ago maybe not so much. Mainly because of limitations of the web in general. But in 2022 – ohh boy, brands are in for a treat with online brand guidelines.
PDF brand guidelines – good enough.
Your brand is like a gem that is first found and then chiseled to perfection by each precise strike of fine tuning, edits and changes. Your brand is evolving as time goes on. It never stays the same. Your logo might, your colors might and your typography might stay the same, but your brand… that changes. And this is the first major drawback of PDF brand guidelines. It’s a hassle to update. Of course you can have a file on your laptop named v7_brand_guidelines_2022 but who wants that? And dear god what a mess it can make when we have a lot of stakeholders. Do you remember the last time when someone asked for the latest brand guidelines version? Probably you do because it was so recent. And now ask yourself – do you really want to spend your time resending the same file again and again, and again? Or do you want to do cool projects that bring real impact?
I thought so.
With online brand guidelines it’s simple. Someone makes an edit – you see an updated version in real time. And even better there is no hassle with local files so you don’t have to resend anything.
PDF brand guidelines are not secure.
If you don’t keep your PDF brand guidelines on a short leash then in most cases brand risks of those brand guidelines living their own life on the internet for years and years. Are you sure that every single person that receives your brand guidelines treats them with utmost respect? Probably not. In most cases they get leaked, they get on some database on the interwebs and what’s even worse you don’t have control over it. Now anyone who has that file on their local storage can just share wherever they want and with whatever reasons they might have.
For me that sounds like a disaster. Knowing that my brand guidelines that have sensitive information can be leaked with just one click. Uff… shivers.
What’s cool with online brand guidelines is that you have total and complete control over the privacy of your brand guidelines. Want to showcase your brand to the whole world to see how cool it is? No problem – publish it to the web with your own custom branded URL. Want to keep everything top secret and invite a select few chosen ones? No problem – password protect pages or whole brand guidelines project and be in power over for how long and to what content they have access to. Feel like they have overstayed their welcome? Just remove their access. Brand privacy – that’s online brand guidelines.
PDF brand guidelines sucks at content.
Now when it comes to content of your brand guidelines – PDF really, really doesn’t give you a lot of options. You have stuck with the good old text and images combo. Nothing more. Nothing less. I think you can see the problem here. Now you want to add motion, animations, videos, audio tracks and embed content in your brand guidelines. Nothing is static anymore in this world. Take a look at TikTok hyper growth over other social media. Its focus on video only has been one of key pillars of success. And that applies to brand guidelines too. Nobody wants to sift through pages and pages of dull text and static imagery. They want excitement. They want to have a brand experience, not a textbook.
With online brand guidelines it’s another ball game.You are not limited to anything. Do you want to create a quick welcome video for your team at the beginning of your brand guidelines? Do it. Do you want to add as many animations as humanly possible? Feel free to create animated story. Has your brand launched a podcast? Just embed a full playlist and tell how each episode should be produced. Possibilities are endless.
To start building your online brand guidelines check out Corebook° – an online branding platform where world class and industry leading brands and creative agencies come to create, update, share and manage their brand guidelines.