The Creative Hurdle of Brand Books

It's easy to create something new using different elements, but having to create with recycled elements takes skill.

Hello! I am working at the College of Education and Human Development at Temple as a graphic designer. My time spent here over the past few months has provided me with a lot of great knowledge I’m eager to use in my future. Whether it’s work ethic, communication with supervisors, or how to follow a brand book, I feel more prepared for my future career. However, not all of this was easy to adapt to. Specifically looking at brand guidelines, it can be difficult as a creative to feel limited. One thing with Temple is that the brand guidelines can be incredibly harsh (and I imagine the same with most other companies too). There are a lot of limitations to what I and my fellow designers can use to create advertisements or media for the school. Between colors, fonts, logos, and layouts, the school’s messaging must remain incredibly consistent while simultaneously showing variety. When I first started, this was not easy for me. While there’s no harm in it, the first few weeks I constantly found myself going back and forth between my work and the brand book to make sure what I was doing was acceptable. And when I moved from project to project, it felt difficult to create something entirely different using the same pieces. Over time though, being exposed to this type of creative work has allowed me to understand design better. It’s easy to create something new using different elements, but having to create with recycled elements takes skill, and I feel it’s one I’ve picked up over the past months. Not to mention, the creative hurdle of feeling restricted was also one that I had to overcome.

Looking at my experience, I think it’s a crucial one to note. I think future employers will appreciate my ability to accurately and creatively follow a brand book. It’s an important skill to have in any company, and gaining this knowledge when I did will prove very useful. I recommend everybody, specifically creatives, to challenge themselves in a position with strict guidelines. While it may not scratch that creative itch, it will force you to alter your perspective and teach you patience in your work. One thing it’s done for me is made me curious about the brand creation process, and I hope one day I’m lucky enough to help create one from scratch.

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