Headroom is a concept used often by musicians. It’s the idea that, once you understand the fundamentals of a given piece—say a chord progression, groove and tempo—you are then free to do more. Because, at this point, you’re not thinking. You’re playing. It’s exactly the same with brands. 

If brands always get stuck wondering about the fundamentals—what color things are supposed to be, what typeface to use—it will be nearly impossible to produce anything. When we eliminate uncertainty, our focus changes from wondering how to execute the brand to how we can start making things that add value—and getting them into market. After all, your target audience doesn’t care about the meeting where you and your art director slugged it out over 12 different shades of blue. But they will see a retargeting campaign on social.

Get some space.

Creating space to play with your brand starts by having all the tools necessary to focus on what actually matters—making people buy it. A visual style guide includes all the ingredients needed for a brand to manifest itself in any given channel. So when several different internal teams and agencies work on your brand, everything will connect. Every customer touchpoint. Every email. Every landing page. Every brochure. Every image posted to Facebook at 3 a.m. after an especially raucous conference after-party. Come on, Glen. We’ve been ready to go home for hours. 

Similarly, a verbal style guide ensures the right mix of key talking points. In short, what you say and how you say it. That way,not only will you say the right things to the right people, you’ll stay true to the tone of your brand.

Consistently Consistent.

But this goes past consistency. After all, consistency is simply a byproduct of everybody working with the same set of tools. By putting in some work upfront, we can create the headroom to really make your brand sing. And, when we strike the right chord, people might just start to care about your brand, and maybe even buy it.

Chris Powell

Chris Powell

Chris is a designer who can’t stop. A writer who loves stories. A user who loves to make things work. A Webby Award winner. He’s a mix. Strategy and analytics. Concept and execution. U/X and U/I. Advertising and branding. He helps brands build sustainable, and profitable, ecosystems that are a powerful mix of brand, media and product.

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