Brand Books! Corporate Identity Manuals! Logo Guidelines! That’s what many brand designers do for a living. We try to control every usage of the logo. We care about colors, alignment, safety areas around logos, materials and finishes.

But “real life” always has another plan.

On a recent visit to one of our clients, the Jordan Water Company – Miyahuna, for whom we created a new visual identity a few years ago, I was amused to see the logo we designed for them done in wood on a planter! It was not the only example of a logo usage gone astray. Business cards and notepads and a number of other items I spotted also had problems. There were other improvisations too.

What we’ve learned over the years, is that handing over guidelines is never a guarantee for corporate design consistency. Despite the best efforts of designers, things can go wrong in a million ways. Sometimes because of lack of design awareness inside the client’s organization, or because third party suppliers just don’t pay attention to the guidelines. Also, sometimes real life throws up questions that have not been addressed in the guidelines, which requires improvisation, often without the original designer’s knowledge.

The solution for this is to hire the design firm as a brand guardian, with the responsibility to oversee all corporate design implementation, or to make this task a specific part of someone’s job description inside the company, after making sure that the person chosen has a full understanding of the brand and the corporate design system.

To their credit, Miyahuna have called on us to coordinate with the designers/manufacturers of the company’s new set of worker uniforms. So even in large Jordanian government-owned companies, awareness for consistency of visual identity is increasing.

You can check out this and other photos from my visit on SYNTAX’s Facebook page, where we share photos of our work, as found in real life 🙂