Brand and Style Guidelines – a promise of design productivity

Everyone in the company has a love-hate relationship with the style guide. The brand and style guidelines holds a promise of productivity for designers, developers and vendors. Having worked on style guides for both E*TRADE and PayPal, I considered it an operational role that required patience and grit to work with innumerable stakeholders across the company and delivering something that allowed smooth execution.

It is always a work in progress and never ready. Designers complain that it is restricting and Developers complain that it is never detailed enough. Having said that I am a huge advocate of the style guides because it ensures the vision, values, attributes of the brand are executed out consistently across various channels. There is no second guessing and the designers can be free to innovate on the interaction and experiences.

One thing to remember and set expectations for others is that “Change is inevitable”, so plan for it. Make incremental and planned updates that can be communicated to the organization and the vendors quickly.

Here are some of the resources to get you started on creating a style guide.

Designing style guidelines for brands and websites – Smashing Magazine
Brand identity style guides – Logo Design Love
20 top tips for designing effective brand guidelines – SAATCHI

 

Advertisements

Why Upstart is brilliant

Few weeks ago, a Sophomore High student told me he enjoys investing in stocks and looking at trends. I was inspired by his enthusiasm to commit to opening an investment account of $1k for him to play with and do it for real.

My nephew started his own iPhone repair gig while in high-school and managed to buy his own camera equipment, devices etc. with his own earnings. There are kids starting ventures in high-school and whenever I meet them and listen to them, I want to support them in whatever possible way I can not that I have deep pockets but I have my time to mentor them, few hundred dollars to show my encouragement and find ways to tell them that I believe in them and am willing to take a chance with them. These are the kids that make me wonder why PayPal or banks need to have a minimum age of 18 for these kids to open accounts-maybe for adults like us to discover them.

When I came across Upstart, I had just wrapped up my gig with a Mentoring Platform company and felt we need a disruptive way of investing in the future. Upstart allowed me to open my account quickly with just a couple of qualifying questions and I was on my way to put aside my money. Also I am one of those people who do first and think later so I instantly transferred $500 through my PayPal account and was ready to find young talent that inspired me.

It is easy to gravitate towards what you know – looking for your own individuals my Alma Mater – California College of Arts – Design MBA program. When I could not find any, I browsed further to find other candidates who wanted to do something in Education, Health and Community. Very soon from my short list, I picked 2 women. I couldn’t help my gender bias and a need to find a way to uplift other woman.

What made it easy for me to jump on this experience is:

  1. My personal belief in investing in future generation through mentorship and investments
  2. My comfort with micro-loans from my experience with Lending Club and Kiva
  3. Ability to quickly transfer funds through PayPal and other payment methods of my choosing
  4. My own prior experience of why I could not follow my dream of starting my venture first when I graduated from Fine Art college and very recently from the DMBA program.
  5. It was the best way to put my money where my passion is – investing in future.
  6. It gives me an opportunity to chose to mentor the person I am contributing to if and when that individual needs mentoring. This increase the chance for me to follow up on my investment.

My husband and I have consistently tried to support artist and designers through buying art, funding design projects or offering interning/work opportunities for people with no experience but with lot of passion. We don’t consider ourselves as collectors or investors (don’t even have a way to boot-strap my own start-up) but we would like to do whatever we can to encourage passionate individual committed to doing great things in the future.

Growth Model

On a personal basis there is a mis-match my relationship with money. I did not have money when I needed it most – when I went to school, when I moved to America, when I went to school, when I had my kids in middle of school, the jobs I picked because I could not survive without them. Now that I have little bit of money, I am not comfortable with who can invest for ideas, whom to invest in, what happens to our investment, who manages it, who really makes the money etc. Upstart finally provided me a way to make the best use of. I believe Upstart provides a model for sustainable growth for individuals, investors and development of community without putting middle-man with fat pockets in it.

I am comfortable with an average of 8% of returns or lesser. It is still more than what my savings account or CDs give me. This may change how I feel about writing checks to individual charities vs. individuals who want to make that trip to Haiti to volunteer their time to teach kids there.

Upstart is still focused on recent graduates from few school but very soon I expect them to disrupt lot of traditional models of what we do with our money. Will you be comfortable investing on individuals on Upstart?