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A brand identity is like a baby bird. You nurture it, work with it until it’s strong, and do everything you can to prepare it for the “Great Beyond.” You release the identity into the world and hope for the best. You hope that others will love it as you do and respect its needs. You hope they’ll make a great home for it, by cautiously choosing only the most desirable locations.

Creating a brand standards manual is like outfitting your baby bird with a parachute; it provides an added layer of safety and control.

Every day, designers and copywriters hand off their finished projects to other designers or writers, to agencies, or to clients. When they transfer their work to others, these creators of brand identities hope that every new implementation and extension of their efforts will remain congruent with the brand identity they’ve worked hard to establish.

But, if you prepare a brand standards manual to hand off with the rest of your work, it’s like purchasing insurance: if something unexpected comes up, there’s a plan in place to get things back on track quickly.

About the brandards project
Brandards is a collaborative project by Jason K Caudill and Pamela S Ecker. Initial work was completed from Nov. 2009 to Jan. 2010 when Jason and Pam were each awarded a sabbatical leave from their regular responsibilities at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

Jason K Caudill is the chair of Graphic Design at Cincinnati State, a position he has held since 2000. He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University, and has a Masters degree in Animation, Illustration, and Multimedia. He has created brand identities for everything from a father/son bowling team to a multinational corporation. His students’ brand identities have earned Local, Regional and National ADDY awards.

Pamela S Ecker is the chair of the Technical & Professional Communication Certificate program at Cincinnati State, where she has been a faculty member since 1986. Pam holds degrees in English Literature and Popular Culture, with extensive additional work in Technical and Professional Communication. Her teaching specialties include usability assessment, writing for the Web, and promotional and persuasive communication.

Besides the book, Brandards also has a Twitter page. Follow @Brandards for a more interactive experience.

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