Put An End To Wild West Style Branding Efforts

UPDATE: Although you’re free to continue using this Style Guide, I now recommend using a more comprehensive offering from frontify.com. As of 2/9/2016, basic accounts are free and include three users, 100MB of storage, and a small nag banner at the bottom of the screen pushing an upgrade to a paid plan. As far as nags go, it isn’t obtrusive on higher resolution displays. You can read more about what Frontify offers via a post one of the principals wrote for SmashingMagazine.com on 2/9/2016.

Recently, I put together a comprehensive style guide form for my Venture Platform users so they can have an easier time keeping track of their respective website style elements. It’s been so useful that I decided to go ahead and make a simple version that all arts organizations can use regardless of experience or understanding and better still, I wanted to make it free.

Adaptistration Guy 005For those not already familiar with what a website style guide does, it’s a handy list that helps organizations keep track of standard style elements such as which fonts to use for body text, what size and color, etc. And since I read a report this week that nonprofits can expect increases in staff turnover this year (h/t You’ve Cott Mail), it makes sense to plan accordingly and get a style guide in place so that attrition doesn’t wreak havoc with your web branding.

To that end, be the new sheriff in town and lay down the law by using the style guide form to put an end to Wild West branding. When you’re done, the system will deliver a copy of the form with your content via email to the address you provided but if it doesn’t arrive, let me know and I’ll forward a copy. You can create new versions as often as you like and feel free to send a link to friends and colleagues.

The style guide form is completely free to use and it won’t put you on any mailing list. But if you found the form useful and want a way to show a little love, thanks in advance for leaving a coffee tip via the sidebar widget.

Handy Style Guide Resources

[ilink url=”http://www.colourlovers.com/”]Create and save visual color palettes at colourlovers.com[/ilink]

[ilink url=”http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/07/21/designing-style-guidelines-for-brands-and-websites/”]Designing Style Guidelines For Brands And Websites by Kat Neville (via Smashing Magazine)[/ilink]

[ilink url=”http://www.w3schools.com/css/default.asp”]Everything you wanted to know about CSS but were afraid to ask via w3schools.com tuts[/ilink]

[ilink url=”http://mailchimp.com/about/brand-assets/”]A good example of logo usage guidelines from MailChimp.com[/ilink]

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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