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Digital brand guidelines for the UK’s leading charity for girls and young women

Girlguiding was ready to kick off a host of new digital projects, but they knew that they needed a comprehensive set of digital guidelines first to ensure brand coherence online and off. We helped them codify their online presence, enhance their digital brand assets, and overturn a few brand preconceptions along the way.

The Brief

The original brief essentially called for us to look at Girlguiding’s brand world across all digital channels, plus the old print-focussed  guidelines and somehow merge the two. And we did do that, but we respectfully challenged a lot of preconceived notions too.
Darren Perry, Creative Director at The Bureau

Girlguiding came to us during a period of huge change – they were in the middle of a restructure and had recently launched a new website and major campaign. They were on the brink of developing several new digital platforms and needed a set of digital-first guidelines to ensure brand coherence across everything online.

The established Girlguiding brand was designed print-first, so the charity needed someone to look at it with fresh eyes. We were brought in to identify the best digital opportunities – highlighting the strongest brand elements already in use, and recommending how to make the brand work harder online.

Our Approach

First off we needed a good understanding of the current situation. We held a thorough brand audit, focusing on digital channels but still keeping an eye on print so we could appreciate the challenges of both. Alongside this we carried out extensive stakeholder interviews and research workshops which (among other tasks) invited people to actively pass judgement across a number of live brand examples.

We found a disconnect between what digital wanted to do and what print wanted to retain. While the new website was more contemporary, it also didn’t feel as ‘Girlguiding-owned’ as the traditional design in print. We needed to find the sweet spot between the two so we explored new digital design options – turning up the volume on things already in place to make them work harder and more consistently, and developing new brand touches.

Impacts and highlights

Huge thanks to the Bureau. They did a great job of picking through a wide range of legacy materials across channels, clarifying and codifying into a coherent collection of definitive rules and assets. They delivered more than expected – challenging established rules where necessary and making a number of new recommendations. They’ve filled a massive gap in our organisation.
Mark Gorman, Commissioning Manager at Girlguiding

Our recommendations included re-injecting some of the subtler brand assets back into the digital approach: an angle here, a colour overlay there. One big challenge was social media design – ensuring consistency here walked a fine line between too many rules and too little flexibility. So we developed a system that identified a number of ‘brand echoes’ to provide the right degree of coherence.

The end result for Girlguiding is a detailed set of digital brand guidelines and an accompanying asset library. These work independently as well as being companion pieces to the original brand guidelines. We’ve plugged a gap in Girlguiding’s brand arsenal and they now have the tools to confidently move forward with their new digital projects.

Project highlights