09. Design System/Manual Development

  • USHIO

It is not uncommon for fledgling global companies to discover that their different subsidiaries are weakening their corporate brand by using modified versions of the corporate logo. As companies become more global in their operations, proper management of the corporate brand becomes ever harder. But, truth be told, even within the home market, it is no easy matter to achieve uniform consistency in the display of the corporate logo. Consistency and uniformity are key to building a strong brand.

Design System/Manual Development Case Study: USHIO
Ushio is a market-leading manufacturer in lighting systems and energy with operations all around the world. Eager to project a consistent corporate brand on a worldwide basis, it asked Bravis to develop a design system and design manual for the corporate brand.

Much of the problem lay in the simplicity of the company's corporate logo: the name 'USHIO' in upper case. Many of the employees thought that, provided the word USHIO was in capitals, that was the corporate logo. Without detailed guidelines on typography and color, it was difficult for them to judge if the applications they were creating with the logo were suitable. Bravis therefore fine-tuned the logo, building a consistent design system that made it easier to manage.

At Bravis we always try to create design systems that strike the right balance. We want to leave a degree of freedom (so as not to stifle creativity), while also making sure the design is applied in a consistent fashion. Promulgating a lot of demanding standards and rules is all very well, but rules alone are not enough to manage the creation of successful design applications. Over-strict rules can backfire, making it difficult to display the corporate brand attractively way in packaging, advertising etc.

With Ushio, our solution was to retain the logo's original simplicity, but to bolster this by creating a design system that focused on the proper treatment of the logo with strict standards governing the shape and color. At the same time, we established comparatively liberal rules for design application development. This meant that the positive aspect of the simple logo-- the ability to be applied with freedom and creativity--was not quashed.

We made a design manual to explain the design system. Available in Japanese, English and two kinds of Chinese, its guidelines are now being followed by Ushio's subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide.

At Bravis, we create design systems tailored to specific company needs based on a careful review of i. how the corporate brand is actually being used, as well as ii. management policy for the brand.

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