In the past I’ve written about the importance of brand style guides, and which elements (fonts, colors, logos, etc) need to be locked down in order to ensure a consistent aesthetic. An organized style guide guarantees an easily-maintained image, with all the branded specifications stored tidily in one place. But there’s another step to take in the direction of a well-arranged brand system, and that step is in the form of a Brand Folder for your desktop. Such a folder will ensure you always have a cache of commonly-utilized files right at your fingertips!
Markon owner Kristine helpfully summarized such an asset in her thoughts on Organization & The Personal Brand, and today I’m going to delve a little deeper.
You will want the folder to be titled something obvious, and be sure it includes your business name. This is something you might not utilize solely in-house: a Brand Folder is something you could be sharing with freelancers who work with your business, or other business who for one reason or another need elements from your brand for ads/sponsorship/etc. A good suggestion for a folder title would be along the lines of “(YOUR BUSINESS NAME) Brand Assets,” or the like.
Within the first tier of your Brand Assets, you will need subfolders clearly titled. What exactly you keep in Brand Assets if completely up to you, so the following is simply a suggested inclusion!
Within the Logos folder, you’ll want to ensure that you have a subfolder for raster (.jpeg / .png / .tiff) files, and a subfolder for vector (.pdf / .eps / .ai / .svg) files available. The best options for raster versions would be a high-quality JPEG, and a PNG version with a transparent background. That way, the high-res JPEG could be easily used for print purposes, and the PNG for web + social media. For vector versions, a PDF, and either an EPS or AI format would be perfect. The vector files will ensure anyone who is getting your file will have a scalable format with unlimited resolution!
Within the Staff Photos folder, you’ll want to make sure you have an image of anyone who may be in the public eye. This could be just yourself, or your managers, or a photo of every staff member if you feel so inclined. A group photo is also imperative, along with a few of your facilities, if presentable. This way, in the event of a press release, publication, newsletter, etc, you will have current images of yourself, your space, and your team at the ready!
The Intro Letters folder should contain both a condensed and lengthy introduction / summary of yourself and your business. If you have letters of recommendation and references, this could also be a good place for those to live. @@If you’re a freelancer, make sure you have a copy of your portfolio and resume stored here as well!@@
This isn’t the same as your staff photos. This is a collection of either custom or stock photography that can be used for social and print ads, blogs, newsletters, web use, etc. If you’re a freelancer, this is where you store high-quality images of your work. If you flip houses for a living, keep several professional (or stock) images of various properties. If you deal with something a little less tangible, like financial advising, you could keep some pleasing generic photos of an office space, or a smiling family, a quiet neighborhood, etc. These photos don’t necessarily have to deal directly with your business.
The Style Guide folder is where you’ll store such assets as: a .pdf of your brand’s style guide, a vector file of any patterns / textures you routinely utilize (for instance, if you commonly have a grey gradient background, that’s something to include), as well as all the font files affiliated with your brand.
So there you have it! Organizing your brand files like this will streamline the design and communication process. That’s really what organization is all about (aside from not losing your mind): being prepared to move quickly and efficiently! With these brand elements close at hand, you’ll never find yourself scrambling to supply a recent headshot, or wondering where on earth the web-safe version of your log resides. Look at you, working like a professional! Keep it up!