1. Know before you show!
Before on-boarding with your client, it's important to conduct research about them and their industry. During the research phase, it's a big plus to pick up on any potential problems they may have as well as identify any sort of improvement that you think should be discussed. At this point, we usually ask for our client's branding guidelines, which usually include colors and fonts. We want to maintain an important association with the brand and its identity. When the time comes for you and your client to meet, be sure to fully listen to them about the challenges they're facing. It's also essential to ask questions, because the more blanks you fill in, the quicker your project team can reach a solution and implement a strategy that will ultimately benefit the client in the long term. 2. Make sure you, your team, and your client are all on the same page
This is an extension of the first tip but we want to stress that guidelines, demands, and creative directions may change so it's important to keep your team in the loop - ensuring everyone is on the same page. With that being said, re-evaluate guidelines and processes on a regular basis because your client may feel that their tweaks to your proposed solution may help them. Some changes can be made during the process because development is closely linked to change, growth, and rethinking.
When it comes to writing guidelines at GoFable, details like whether to use "&" or "and," or if you should use the numerical or written versions of numbers may seem trivial, however, the weight of fine details adds up. We want to be consistent throughout our client's published work in order to ensure coherence, a structured way of thinking, and strong credibility. For this, we usually make a style guide that is tailor-fit to our client's needs. For example, we base this guide on existing style guides, like AP Style, as a baseline and from there, we add our own ideas and sections. 3. Say it like you mean it and be consistent
More often than not, we have mandatory sections in our guide that include formatting, which usually includes details on how to format bullets, lists, hyphens, and quotes. Our tone of voice section is important because we give descriptions of potential communication styles that our clients could potentially use and accompany them with examples. We also include information on sentence structure which may help in various ways. For more information about tone of voice, please read Your Voice is Our Voice
As for visual guidelines, we include our client's palette of colors with essential information such as RGB codes for each color as well as their pantone numbers. We also Include all versions of the client's logo and examples of proper usage. This even applies to the brand fonts used for headings, paragraphs, and any other text structures.
With all of these guidelines considered, there's a large amount of information to take in for new clients and that is completely understandable. We take these guidelines very seriously because somebody else's brand is in our hands and our client's satisfaction is of utmost priority. The visions of both client and project team may conflict with one another and it takes time for both parties to be on the same page. Some details regarding visual and editorial formatting may need to be changed along the way if initial testing has not been well-received by the audience. With that in mind, it's important to adapt your client's demands and slowly come to an agreement regarding solutions and content strategy.