Brand Style Guides and Kick-Ass Applications

We have an inherent contradiction here at Tivix: we really believe in the importance of professional brand development. And yet we don't do it.

By “professional brand development” I mean the process of designing a logo plus creating an entire style that becomes a company's identity. And then — very importantly — publishing a corporate style guide for everyone to follow, so as to create a consistent style which represents the brand everywhere.

Today, when we think of the world's most valuable brands — Coke, Apple, Nike — we think of their iconic logos. But there's so much more that goes into it than just the logo.

A page of The New Yorker, from any era, is instantly recognizable from across the room. The headlines are set in whimsical Irvin, the body copy is set in Caslon (justified, with loose leading), spot illustrations are used throughout text pages.

Even the writing style of great brands becomes recognizable – especially for brands where the writing is the product (see the writing style guide for the Economist).

In my opinion, a consistent brand style guide is really more important than the actual visual aesthetics of the logo itself. For example, I don't personally think the logos of Amazon, eBay, or Starbucks are all that great. But all three of those companies have built great brands with mediocre logos, by having a very consistent brand identity that is applied across all of their marketing communications efforts.

One of my favorite examples of how brand style guides are an important ingredient to success is metropolitan transportation systems. If you think of the signage used on the London Underground, the Metro in Paris, of the NYC Subway, you think immediately of a certain very recognizable style (see article on the history of the NYC Subway style guide).

Many application engineering shops like Tivix will say to a client “oh, no problem, we'll design a logo for you.” But we don't. And the reason is because of how important we think it is — it's important enough that it should be done by actual brand identity experts.

Meanwhile, we're expert at engineering rock-solid software that delivers a kick-ass branded user experience across web, mobile, tablet, and cloud.

That's what we do.