This is the second in a two-part series discussing creativity and the IU Brand. Today, we’re talking about design. You can also check out last week’s post discussing the brand as it relates to content.
Take it away, Heather.
There you sit, Indiana University Brand Guidelines book in hand, feeling restricted as a creative. But you know what? There’s no need. The IU brand offers you a multitude of ways to exercise your creativity.
Let’s break into the realm of possibility.
Leverage the brand toolkit
The IU brand guidelines are the foundational elements of the brand. The basic building blocks you can use to create unique materials for your specific audience.
There are a few things you have to do:
- Use the Indiana University logo
- Use your unit’s marketing lockup
- Use the brand colors
- Use the brand fonts
You also need to work one of the 15 brand promises into your work. But, you don’t have to use the designed promises included as downloads on the Brand.IU website. In fact, your promise doesn’t have to appear at all—you can use it as your inspiration and see where your design takes you.
Beyond that, we encourage you to design your piece with your audience, purpose, and following in mind. Here are some tips to get you started.
Work that typography
The IU brand includes three fonts—Benton Sans, Georgia Pro, and Salvo Serif. That means you have access to dozens of font weights and cuts—fonts you can combine in endless ways to achieve the look and feel you’re going for.
Before deciding what fonts to use, take a good look at your content. What is the mood of the content? Is the tone formal or informal? Is it playful or serious? Use that to drive your design.
TIP: Read the content out loud the way you want your audience to read it and then design it that way. What needs emphasis? How can you do that with type?
Shoot custom photography
Showcase what makes your unit or school unique by taking photos that capture what makes it special. What does your school look like? Who are your students? Why would your audience want to be a part of it?
When considering what to photograph for your piece, also think about the tone or emotion you’re going for. What images can help bring that to life?
If you need inspiration, take some time to walk the halls and your campus. Get to know who the collective “you” is. See if you can find the moments that happen all the time that can inform your visual storytelling.
A little “special” goes a long way
Give your design that little something extra that makes it stand out. But do it in a way that drives the purpose of your piece.
Haptic design is big right now. What can you do to bring a tactile element to your piece? This piece for IU Northwest uses a texture on the person’s T-shirt and other red elements to make it special.
But that’s just one way to do it. If you have a more limited budget, think about other design elements that can look and feel unique to your audience without impacting your bottom line.
We don’t design in a bubble. What you’re creating should reflect the world around you and the people you’re designing for. Do your best to get and stay familiar with your audience. What kinds of things do they like? What drives them?
This is especially important if you’re creating swag. Think about what your audience would actually wear with pride and design with that in mind.
Inspiration is everywhere. Build a library of things you’re drawn to and let them influence you when you’re starting a new design.
Social media is a great place to start. Create accounts on Instagram, Pinterest, and Behance, and follow paper companies, art directors, and brands you admire. One resource is Fold Factory.
Get out of your office and mingle with your peers. Whether it’s a paper show, conference, or even a free event like Creative Mornings in Indianapolis, you’ll be amazed by how energizing the experience can be.
And when all else fails, know when you need to take a breath and go for a walk. That’s often the moment it all comes together.
Put that fire back in your belly and let’s get to creating!
What design questions can we answer? Let’s use this Brand Blog to help tackle stucks and work on growing this brand creatively, together.