Brand designer dilemma: BRANDBOOK vs IMPLEMENTATIO

Hi, have you ever been in a situation where you’ve done really great branding for a client and made a great brand book showing how to use it, but later you see a terrible implementation of that branding by the client (eg in social media posts)?
Please share your experience

You got paid. Wash your hands and be done with it.

It’s now become their brand police’s problem.

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Echoing what @Eriskay said.

Is it frustrating? yes. Especially if you went through all the trouble of setting up guidelines but at the end of the day your client or their company needs to be responsible for supporting and growing their brand based on any sort of guidance and materials you provided.

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How have you marketed your services to this client after delivering the brand standard?
Are you on their radar as available for other design projects?

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Honestly, I would say that’s usually the case. It happens with websites too. They hire us to redesign their ugly websites, but as soon as we turn the sites over to them, they begin slowly devolving into the same sort of mess they hired us to fix.

Unless there’s someone in the company tasked with managing the brand (or website) who knows what they’re doing, what you’ve described is typical. As others have said, you did your part and got paid, which is what matters.

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Every day. At the moment it involves a community tree lighting event. They loved the logo and flyer, then said “thanks, we’ll take it from here”. I’ve been watching them butcher all the social this week. If I go to the event I’m sure I’ll see the same on signage. It’s like Just-B noted, this stuff will happen unless there is a brand manager in place, who knows what they’re doing and has authority to say no.

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Actually, this is a real question. Is there any sort of strategy to sell “design support” to client or help him/her create content according to the brandbook. Maybe someone tried something to use this problem for extra profit?

Yep, I agree. But it’s just sad to see how the client is killing his own brand…

Agree. I just think about what can I do as a freelancer to prevent this type of situation (or at least to make the client’s constant based on my branding less horrible).

Yep, totally the same with the websites… but have you experienced maybe teaching someone in the client’s team how to support the “good visual state” for the website/content? Or maybe have you tried to write extra manuals or expanded styleguides to fix that? Any advice?

Hmm yes actually having a brand manager it’s a good point, thanks

WordPress … it’s a blessing and a curse.

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Print brokerages do it all the time.

Plenty of places offer design services for support to branding.

Most brand agencies create the brand, pass it on and move on.

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Hmm interesting… do you have any example of a supporting design service company? Just wondering what it looks like :sweat_smile:

If they’re open to being taught (most aren’t), think it’s a priority (most don’t), and budget for those lessons (most won’t), yes, of course. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you can’t change clients into something other than what they are. All you can do is give them the best work possible, make recommendations, and walk away with money in the bank at the end of the job.

Again, if they’re willing to pay for it. However, if the client doesn’t pay attention to the shorter manuals, there’s little reason to think they will read or pay for more in-depth manuals. Only larger organizations that place a priority on branding appreciate the in-depth style books.


thanks for the detailed reply, you’ve given me a lot to think about