Author’s note: This blog was originally written in 2014 and it was updated in 2020 to reflect current information and practices.

In a previous post, I discussed elements to include when developing your brand guidelines, including both visual and messaging elements. Once these guidelines have been established it can be incredibly helpful to further support your colleagues (and maybe even partners and vendors) by providing handy tools and templates that are designed and on-brand, ready to be used within their day-to-day work. In this post, we’ll look at elements to include in your organization’s visual identity toolkit.

In an easily accessible location such as an online brand resource centre or on an internal shared drive, consider including the following 10 tools and templates:

1. Logo (Brandmark)

You have a fantastic logo and now it’s time for your organization to use it. Provide the graphic image in multiple formats, suitable for various scenarios: print (high-resolution, at least 300 dpi, formats such as: PNG, EPS, TIF); web (lower-resolution, at least 72 dpi, formats such as: JPG, GIF); as well as in full colour, single colour, and reverse (for use on dark background) and layouts (ie: horizontal, vertical).

2. Fonts and colours

Provide your organization’s preferred font(s) for both print and web so that they’re available and installed on the staff team’s computers. If you’re able, it would be even better to work with IT to arrange the installation for the whole organization in a coordinated effort. If you have identified specific brand colours, provide all colour details such as Pantone (PMS), CMYK and RGB values – a quick reference sheet can work well for this information.

3. Poster/ Newsletter template

Ready-to-use, fill in the blank templates can be incredibly useful tools within an organization. Ensure all departments have access to well designed, branded templates that meet the most typical needs.

4. Presentation template

If people in your organization regularly address audiences where written information, charts or photographs need to be shared, provide a branded presentation template in a program like PowerPoint.

5. Social media visuals

Your social media channels provide an ideal opportunity to showcase visuals that enhance understanding of your work. Create images that make good use of the screen space afforded to avatars, cover photos, backgrounds and skins. Consider featuring your logo, images that show your work in action and the faces/messages of your cause.

6. Digital backgrounds and wallpapers

If your organization uses online meeting platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, an option is to provide a branded background image that can appear behind the person when they are on screen. Additionally, providing and utilizing branded desktop wallpaper on all systems is a great way to create a consistent look on organization-owned computer systems.

7. Stationery

For written communication, branded stationery conveys a coordinated brand identity. Consider designing and providing templates for items such as letterhead, presentation folders, envelopes and note cards. Where appropriate, like in the case of letterhead, also include versions suitable for electronic communication.

8. Business cards

Networking and developing professional relationships with people often results in a desire to connect in the future. Branded business cards that contain contact information, your organization’s logo and tagline/mission, etc are a great way to start the relationship off with a clear understanding of your brand identity. Be creative!

9. Memo and report templates

The everyday needs of a nonprofit include communication between a variety of people such as colleagues, partners, and funders. Providing branded templates for memos and reports makes it easy for your fellow staff teams to present their information and ideas professionally, accurately and consistently reflecting the visual elements of your brand.

10. Signage

There are many cues needed within the course of a day that are solved by signage. Following your brand guidelines’ signage design recommendations for artwork, create branded designs for items such as interior and exterior signage, wayfinding signage or pull-up banners to help to reinforce your organization’s identity. For temporary signage needs think about providing templates that can be customized to meet a specific situation’s needs, such as indicating a piece of equipment is out of service.

 

Providing tools and templates that are well designed and accurately reflect your brand will make it easier for staff and volunteers to reflect your brand guidelines and enhance the consistency and recognition of your organization.

BONUS – as a counterpart to these visual elements, check out these essentials to include in your organization’s messaging toolkit.

 

Angela de Burger

Angela de Burger

Angela de Burger is a communications professional who is passionately curious about the way individuals and organizations express themselves and connect to each other.