Harry Bennett
0 min read

The PDF guideline is dead, long live digital guidelines: Brandpad is made for the future of design

Whether you’re a designer, project manager, copywriter, director, photographer or client (and everything in between), the limitations and frustrations of PDF brand guidelines are omnipresent.

Uninspiring and incompatible with the interactive and animated standards of contemporary design, it’s safe to say that the days of PDF guidelines have come to a close. With the fast pace of the current climate and brand-to-client communications becoming ever more accessible, the staggered and static performance of keeping PDFs up to date with the latest amends not only stifles the delivery and stewardship of brands but also affects the creative process – where the result of graphic expertise and hard work culminates in a motionless, legacy file format. Months of work laid out in a few slides.

Online guidelines platform Brandpad have continued to lead the way as the affordable antithesis to PDFs, however, resulting in their respectful commemoration and the celebration of Brandpad’s superior offering. “PDFs are a missed opportunity when creating a brand for the 21st century,” Brandpad’s Creative Director Nicklas Haslestad tells us, doubling down on the drawbacks of PDF guidelines. “Most clients always want to see their brand up to date,” he adds, “as PDFs – especially if printed – tend to be put in a drawer and stay there, becoming increasingly stagnant, irrelevant and non-consulted. Wasting time, money, resources and one’s sanity in the process.”

This notion is similarly shared by Nadine Brunet, Senior Designer at Stupid Studio, who simply states, “nothing is worse than running after the latest version of a brand guide,” explaining, “as a creative, receiving an outdated version that does not reflect the current state of a brand, with hours and energy easily and frustratingly wasted.” Brandpad’s services, in contrast, offer not only accessibility of files, designs and concepts but also continual optimisation and the ability to update wherever, whenever. “Not only do the digital guidelines make the latest version available at all times,” Brunet adds, “they also make relevant brand elements easily accessible through in-platform downloads,” including everything from tools and tone of voice guides to video and motion assets. “Furthermore, as these assets might mature and evolve, they can easily be updated within the Brandpad platform,” she notes, “making it always possible to access the most up-to-date files.”

This feature, for North’s Graphic Designer Sophia Brandt, also offers a sense of security, telling us, “with Brandpad, we’re always sure that our clients are following the latest version of the guidelines,” whilst also allowing clients to see motion embedded into the guidelines. “The hamburger menu also allows people to see the sections clearly,” Brandt adds, “and navigate the platform to quickly find what they are looking for,” noting how the result is a set of guidelines that “feel more digestible and understandable,” suggesting, “it feels like the future!”

Turning towards the direct impact Brandpad’s offering has on their client base, Brunet recalls the aesthetic and practical satisfaction of presenting an identity in the intuitive and dynamic way the platform allows. “The possibility of integrating motion and video assets, as well as interactive images directly in the platform,” she explains, “can add essential layers of insights about a brand,” allowing a more successful translation of concept and function. “As well as that,” Brunet notes, “it provides a way of providing the necessary tools and work files for new designers engaging with the brand,” giving the client a convenient space for future designers to efficiently and effortlessly execute future work. “Our clients love and praise Brandpad!” Brandt remarks, sharing similar experiences at North. “New employees or new partners are directed straight there,” she concludes, “there’s no need to reshare guideline documents every time,” saving time and stress for everyone involved.

Speaking poetically of how Brandpad and its offering are emblematic of design’s future, Brunet discusses the living nature that brands embody. “Developing a new brand, specifically a bigger one, can often be an iterative process,” she suggests, often maturing and evolving over time. “As a dynamic platform, Brandpad allows the knowledge that we gain about a brand as we work and develop it to constantly be updated and shared with the client,” Brunet explains, providing an accessible, understandable and straightforward space for collaborators. “The platform allows clients to feel like this brand knowledge is attainable and more easily ownable,” she adds, whereby a brand’s internal team are more confident in its identity. “But beyond that, it grants new partners and collaborators better brand knowledge,” Brunet concludes, “making the onboarding process much simpler and more intuitive.” Truly encapsulating the future-ready, trailblazing, brand-making software that is Brandpad.




Stupid Studio