“…it should be surrounded with clear space to ensure its visibility and impact. No graphic elements of any kind should invade this zone.”


Style and branding guides traverse designers and external suppliers, existing to ensure consistency across the brand. They are important for brand designers because they help our work to continue working in our absence, and important for brands because they communicate and protect the work that went into the brand.


Aside from creating our own, I love reading brand guidelines and house style guides, and in particular get a kick from the dramatic wording always used when the manual gets to the area of clear space/exclusion zone around the outside of the logo. The language usually gets pretty unequivocal…


“Nothing should ever appear inside the exclusion zone.”


The exclusion zone refers to the area around a logo, specifying the amount of designed clear space (containing no other graphic or text) that can surround the logo. Elements that infringe on this space are said to be breaking the brand guidelines.


“…to ensure the logos are free to breathe…”


This clear space is important. A logo needs to seen in isolation to communicate effectively, not only in terms of legibility but also to protect the integrity of the brand. Anything that takes away focus from the logo, as designed, can muddy focus on the brand itself.


“No other item should be placed inside the exclusion zone…”


The exclusion zone is a buffer against the world for the logo (or whichever visual element it applies to). It represents the value of the visual identity of the brand and the importance of maintaining its worth in the world of competing visual identities.


“We have defined an exclusion zone to protect the logo…”


The brand often represents the most valuable asset of any organisation and has to be protected at all costs; the name of the game is aggressive protection of territory.


The italics are representative quotes and have been selected from a range of style house guides…


By Oliver Brown