The business world used to be highly conformist. To get ahead, you emulated the people ahead of you. Then sometime in the 1970s, a business consultant coined the instant cliché “thinking outside the box.” The new norm became nonconformity, at least in thought.

As creative types, we are huge fans of nonconformity. So we know it is going to sound strange when we tell you about a special box you need to build and stay inside of.

A noncomformist for everyone: Frida Kahlo, Thomas Edison, and Amelia Earhart

Among the famous nonconformists we admire are Frida Kahlo, Thomas Edison and Amelia Earhart.

That box is a branding style guide. If your company’s proposals, letters, ads and PowerPoints don’t match your website, business cards and brochures, you either don’t have a branding style guide, or don’t require everyone who designs materials for your company to conform to the guidelines.

If you have seen a 100-page style guide from a large firm or nonprofit, you may be daunted by the level of detail and skeptical that such a guide is actually helpful for a small or medium business (SMB). Trust us, SMBs can get the same benefits from a one- or two-page style guide. We create these whenever we help a client with a brand upgrade or rebranding. Click here to see a sample.

  • DO ask your graphic designer to create a style guide specifying colors, fonts, line spacing, logo usage and any other distinguishing design elements.
  • DO share the guide with anyone who is creating anything that has your logo on it.
  • DON’T make your current designer the custodian of this document. You need your own copy in case you ever decide to change designers.
  • DO make templates of branded documents readily available to your employees to ensure that eblasts, PowerPoints and official letters maintain a consistent branded look.

Nonconformist matching game

Can you match these famous nonconformists with the occupation that made them famous?

1. Abbie Hoffman

2. Thomas Edison

3. Jim Morrison

4. Amelia Earhart

5. George Sand

6. Coco Chanel

7. Noam Chomsky

8. Simone de Beauvoir

9. Aung San Suu Kyi

10. Frida Kahlo

A. Musician

B. Feminist Theorist

C. Fashion Designer

D. Inventor

E. Painter

F. Pilot

G. Author

H. Linguist

I. Activist

J. Burmese Activist

Click here for answers to the matching game.

Need help designing your website, brochure or social media pages? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].

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