Brand design guidelines: how to make them, how to break them


Andy Cowles has vast experience in creating brand design guideline documentation. From SME’s to international titles, he will show you how create documentation that pays, and how to work with what you’ve got.

Business case

Design is judged instantly, often on a deep emotional level, which can make the price of getting it wrong very high. This course will show you and your teams how to avoid costly mistakes, time consuming corrections and missed business opportunities.


This course is suitable for anyone who has to work within existing brand design guidelines, designers or non-designers. For those who need to create or commission new brand design guidelines, we run an advanced course.

Course Outline

This workshop is unique, it’s not offered by any other trainer and as such it’s tailored to client requirements.

For Ascential, the workshop was built around the massive international brands WGSN and Cannes Lions. The workshop showed how WGSN could better work with the documentation they had, and Cannes Lions, who had no guidelines, how they could start to create some.

The building blocks of multi-platform design are explained, along with how design decisions impact an audience’s appreciation of content and brand.

Differences between strategy and execution will be made clear; delegates will learn how to both excite their audience and manage risk.

Examples are taken from Air BnB, National Geographic, Cisco and Facebook Business brand bibles, with all seven modules focused on how to optimise consistent communication for every platform.

      1.   Winners and losers

      2.   Brand SWOT

3.   Strategy & tactics

4.   Art direction

5.   Colour control

6.   Typography

7.   Logo management

COURSE benefits

Everything is focussed on how our target customer responds to content: discovery, entertainment, identity and FOMO.


Pictures deliver access and authenticity but do you need reality or stock? That’s why you need to work on the thumbnail.

colour control

Your brand colour has meaning but its needs to be consistent. We explain why more than three colours gets tricky, how black is an absence of meaning and the risks of using yellow.

Flawless typography

Your brand may already be committed to its fonts, but you need to get the best out of them. We explain what serif and sans are really saying to your audience and how can make even free fonts look good.

designing success

We explain how you can manage a pallet of shapes, rules, borders and effects. We show how to align your choices with brand purpose, how to be consistent cross-platform and why decoration is the devils work.

Logo management

You can’t easily change your logo but you can make it work harder. We reveal how to leverage your brand DNA, how to accommodate 3rd part logos and how to create sub-brands out of your own.

Previous Clients

Ascential PLC, the UK’s leading insight and events business.

Brand design guidelines: how to make them, how to break them