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

 

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Affinity Diagramming: Uncovering a better user experience

A great blog on Affinity Diagramming.

Acquity Group Blog

To the untrained eye, an affinity diagram may look very scientific, confusing and messy. But what you are viewing is actually a simple, yet powerful technique used in the early stages of Acquity Group’s design process. Interaction Designers use these affinity diagrams to help diagnose complicated problems through collecting, grouping, organizing and analyzing feedback and findings from up-front research studies. Within these diagrams, we begin to make connections and identify the experience gaps during the “Evaluation” phase of the Acquity Group Design process.

Diagram-wall_fullSo what are the first steps an interaction designer will take when beginning an affinity diagram? Usually, these diagrams need a fairly large space to work with, but you could start by using over-sized presentation boards (the ones that look like gigantic sticky notes) and line the walls with these boards. Within Acquity Group’s Chicago Studio space, we have large floor to ceiling wipe board walls we can assign…

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