Guideline, pillar of your strategy, the graphical charter is the basis of your communication.
You have certainly already heard of a company’s graphic charter. We are also the first to advise you to always follow it well! Known as the “graphic standards book”, it groups together the visual elements to be used as well as the standards to be respected in a digital document. We explain in this article what it consists of, why is it so important and how, with concrete examples, to create your graphic charter.
Definition of the graphic charter
The graphic charter is a document that brings together all the visual elements of your company’s identity : logo, color, typography, image, illustration… This is a guide to follow to ensure the consistency and graphic homogeneity of your image on all digital or print communications media of your company.
Respect the graphic charter
The graphic charter allows you to create all of your communication media. But that’s not all ! The graphic charter also aims to indicate “good practices”, in other words the rules to be followed. It also includes what is prohibited, for example distorting the logo. We will come back to this in detail later in the article.
You owe it to yourself to adhere to it to the letter, especially when you have just started your business. You are starting your activity and you do not yet have a reputation, you must make yourself known little by little. This is why your communication media must all be in line with your graphic load.
Take the example of radio commercials, the more you hear them, the more you memorize them. It’s a bit the same case, the more visible you are to people remembering you, your name, your colors, your typography. This can only work if you always keep the same base.
Composition of the graphic charter
The graphic charter must bring together several key elements that should not be forgotten.
The history of the brand
It is best to have a brief and concise introduction in your graphic design document. This must quickly bring together the values of your company as well as the missions and your universe.
The logo of the graphic charter
The logo embodies your visual identity and must reflect your values . It is a graphical representation of your business. It is the founding element, it allows you to identify you quickly. This is the case for large companies such as Apple and the famous apple for example. It must be present on all your communication media. At the origin of the logo, the coat of arms! It was first created in the old days with the idea that all people who cannot read can recognize the visual identity using a pictogram.
You must indicate in your graphic charter:
- The dimensions of the logo according to the supports;
- The colors of the logo:
- The spaces required around the logo (protection zone);
- The use of the logo, that is to say the different colored backgrounds (negative, color, black and white);
- The variants;
The choice of colors
Selecting the colors for your business is a very careful step. You shouldn’t use colors just because you like them. They must have a meaning. Let’s forget the clichés that colors can represent and choose them following the advice of a graphic designer. Certain shades can evoke things in the collective unconscious. It is not a question here of carrying out a tedious investigation on the stakes of each color, but according to your values, your objectives and your targets ( buyer personas ), some are not suitable.
For example, we use yellow because it is a stimulating color and blue because it conveys confidence and security. These two colors are currently being accommodated in such a way that they are complementary. Blue tends towards turquoise, a limpid and pleasant shade, while yellow is less vivid for a softer effect. You can use a color chart to identify harmonious colors. In order to have a visual impact, your colors must reflect what you claim. Take your time, do several trials, test them with different audiences to find the perfect match. If you want to choose colors using a palette, we advise you to use the site Pallet .
Think ahead about the media you want to use. Indeed, the color rendering can sometimes differ on paper and online (on your website for example). Pastel colors are very fashionable and bring a certain lightness, but are often difficult to make stand out in print. This is a mistake often (too) made when starting a business. You first start by developing your website with the graphic charter and then decide to design flyers, commercial brochures … Unfortunately it is already too late, even if the result is too bland you can no longer go back !
The color of the typography is chosen judiciously. Indeed, it is different from your logo and must be readable on all of your media.
You indicate either in the form of a palette or in a circle all the colors you use as well as their color code for each medium (RGB, CMYK, Hex code, etc.). Here is the typical information to fill in:
- The color code to use for desktop publishing software;
- Four-color printing, i.e. CMYK or PANTONE colors if needed (for printers);
- Color codes for screens (RGB or Hex code).
Typography or typeface
It represents, like the colors, the identity of your brand. There are thousands of them and sometimes it is difficult to find the one that stands out.
You have the choice between:
- Serif fonts, that is, there are links between characters;
- Sans-serif fonts, like ours for example;
- The other types of fonts: fantasy, gothic, etc.
The possibilities are immense, but never lose sight of your values. They are the basis of your future visual and strategic choices. The watchword: Readability.
Many typographies can be downloaded from the sites DaFonT Where Google font . Be careful with intellectual property, some fonts cannot be used for commercial purposes. Most fonts are “free for personal use”. As for the images, the rights of use are to be acquired for commercial purposes.
In your graphic charter, explain why you chose these fonts as well as the different conditions of use:
- How to deploy them on your communication media: font alignment (centered, justified,), italics, bold, capitals …
- How to adapt them to each use: title, subtitle, quote, text… For example, the ARIAL BASIC font for titles and ARIAL ITALIC for subtitles.
- What spacing applied between lines and characters.
The tone used
The “basic” elements of the graphic charter include the logo and its indications for use, colors and typography. However, the tone used is often found in the category of the great forgotten. Now it is very important! The tone chosen must be in accordance with your values. It is not the same for a mental coach as it is for a company that offers development software.
So remember to specify the style you want to add in all of your documents. Your texts are for example to be more serious or on the contrary lighter, even humorous.
The images of the graphic charter
It is possible to put as example images in your graphic charter. These can illustrate your website or your flyers.
You can also build a Mood board which is a set of images like a trend board that reflects the feelings and atmospheres you claim. .
The variations of communication media
Do not forget to decline your logo as well as your visual elements on scenarios thanks to mockups (downloadable on the site Graphic Burger ). Mockups offer an idea of how your graphics load will render on different media.
The different versions of your communication media are to be included in your graphic charter. For example, add mockups of business cards , PowerPoint template, email signature … by explaining the rules of application (size of the business card, layout of PowerPoint, etc.).
Example of graphic charter
Take the example of our website:
- We have chosen to mainly use blue, orange / yellow, white and gray. Each color is used for a specificity.
- Our writing is also sans serif for a modern and clean style. We claim a dynamic, serious, trusting, but also benevolent image.
Colors and fonts have been selected so that they work well with each other. It is not chance, but the fruit of a work on the alliance of color and typography.
Need some inspiration? Meeting on Pinterest , the social network of the image which offers graphic charter models .
When to use the graphic charter?
Your document is used for each communication medium. It is sometimes even hung in the offices of the creatives so that it is always on hand.
Your graphic charter remains the element that you transmit to your new employees, for example. If you decide to hire a graphic designer, you provide them with all the visual elements in order to allow them, first of all, to soak up your brand, and secondly to respect the graphic elements.
It is often useful to reread your graphic charter, it allows you to stay consistent when you design new media. As for example if you want to create a company page on LinkedIn ™ .
3 expert tips to create your graphic charter
Tip # 1: Your Company’s Values: The Key Elements
Before creating your logo, you must determine the values of your company, your DNA. Remember the original idea of your company, what you want to contribute.
Ask yourself the right questions. What image do you want to give? What is your mission? What are your offers? What are your strengths and advantages?
Tip 2: call on image professionals
It is tempting to want to produce your own logo and visual identity. For the creative at heart this is certainly the most stimulating part. Unfortunately, no one can improvise as a graphic designer. It is preferable in this case to call on image professionals. Communication agencies are ready to accompany you from A to Z. They help you with questions to put your values into words. However, it is normal to have several comments to make before finalizing YOUR graphic charter.
To define your brand image, I advise you to think about your company’s missions and its values. From these considerations arises the positioning of your company, that is to say the place occupied by the product in relation to your competitor. In particular, it is part of your communication plan.
Tip n ° 3: apply your graphic charter to all your media
For each medium, you must respect your graphic charter. Maintain consistency and harmony on your digital channels (website, social networks) and your paper documents (business card, commercial brochure , flyer , press kit …).
Once your charter is in place, it is not recommended to change it, at least not immediately. Indeed, when you start to acquire a certain notoriety, it would be a shame to break your visual homogeneity.
Graphic charter: examples and guide for a professional graphic charter: in conclusion
- The graphic charter is an essential document to ensure your visual consistency.
- It must include all the rules for using the logo, colors and typography.
- You must ensure that it is complete and that it applies to all of your communication media.
Professional graphic charter: to summarize in three questions
En quoi consiste une charte graphique ?
La charte graphique est le document qui récapitule vos valeurs et l’ensemble des éléments graphiques ainsi que leurs règles d’utilisation. C’est un guide pour maintenir la cohérence visuelle sur tous vos supports de communication.
Comment rédiger une charte graphique ?
Le document doit être concis et synthétique. Ce n’est pas une présentation marketing, mais bien un document technique qui est utile pour vous et vos futurs collaborateurs afin de respecter une cohérence visuelle. La charte graphique doit contenir une introduction qui rappelle vos valeurs, votre logo, vos couleurs, vos typographies, votre ton ainsi que toutes les règles d’utilisation.
Qui peut rédiger une charte graphique ?
Si vous maitrisez les logiciels de création graphique et que vous avez des bases solides en termes de graphisme et design, vous pouvez vous lancer dans la rédaction de votre charte graphique. Cependant, il est préférable de laisser la gestion de ce document à des professionnels comme les agences de communication. Le travail est collaboratif, vous avez toujours votre mot à dire !