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 Guiding Principles by Corp ID Man - A. Michael Shumate


Before the Renaissance, many visual artists tried to paint buildings and other objects using visual perspective, but they didn't understand the underlying principles. Finally, this problem was solved by a smart fellow named Filippo Brunelleschi who discovered the vanishing point for all parallel lines. All across Europe there was a smacking sound as artists slapped their foreheads and said, "Mama mia! Of course!" Once the principle was disclosed, everyone could see it clearly and there was an abrupt end to centuries of paintings with wonky perspectives.

In my first year of teaching, I told a student that the concept he was working on would not be suitable as a professional identity design. He asked me why. I answered that I didn't know why, but that it was still a bad idea. I knew some principle was being violated, but I couldn't articulate what it was.

I also knew that my response to that student was totally unsatisfactory. I made a commitment right then to discover what that principle was. Since then I've made it a prioroty in my teaching to discover what the underlying principles of graphic design are, especially in identity design.

Principles are not changed by fashion or fad. People may unwisely stray from sound principles and desire to break the rules in a misguided attempt at originality. In reality, all they do is break their work, like waves against the rocks.

When you know the principles, you can answer these questions:
• Did you know that of all the millions of corporate identities, that there are only four different kinds of concepts? Know these and never run dry on concepts again.
• What are the Seven Deadly Sins of logo design? Commit one of these and your identity will not last the test of time.
• What are the essential principles of color choices and use in identity design? Without these you could be wasting your client's money and decrease the effectiveness of your identity.
• Do you know how to avoid the twin curses of BYC design and JTBD design? Fall for either of these and your work will likely be soon replaced.
• How should corprate identity manuals be written? Fail here and you may never get a second chance.

I want to share with you all these underlying, unchanging principles that I've discovered in my years of in-depth study of identity design. And a great deal more.

Click here to Download Michael's article on developing Corporate Identity Concepts   175 KB

  UnMaze by A. Michael Shumate