In pretty much every brand identity I've seen, there are graphs, geometric shapes and lines and grids, measurements (with whatever arbitrary base units) and whatnot, drawn all over logomarks and the logotypes. The most overused standard for measurement is probably the mythical [sic] golden ratio.

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The ways the measurements vary, typically involving an arbitrary unit (usually that unit is a the length of a letter in the logotype) to determine the distance between the mark and the type, or the clear space of the whole logo; using neat angles such as 90deg or 45deg to determine the slantedness of elements; using a uniform grid, etc. By "precise measurements" here I mean "measurements strictly conforming to any base units once those units have already been determined (e.g. the x-height of the logotype, the width or height of a grid cell, etc.)", not necessarily "measurements that are specific down to mm or inches".

It's probably for absolute consistency and to help people spot counterfeiters, but it's not that easy to discern the precise measurements to know if a logo is legit. Like, how many times do you check if the distance between the mark and the type is exactly the height of the letter z in the type, for example?

Not to mention precise measurements aren't as easy to check as say colors, layout/alignment, or forbidden distortions or overlaying of elements (e.g. skewing the logo, or putting it on a busy background).

So why do designers feel the need to use precise measurements (lengths, distances, angles, grids, etc.) in their brand identities? Only for hard-to-recognize-at-first-glance uniqueness? To make the identities harder to fake? To make their designs seem more sophisticated and filled with design intent? Do there even exist designers who just eyeball 'em all rather than bothering with precise measurements?

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    Please share some examples. The images you posted have really nothing to do with your question. Relative values are often used, but I can't recall ever seeing precise values in any logo spec.
    – Scott
    Mar 4, 2019 at 12:16
  • @Scott Values are relative, but there are always some sorts of units being used. They may not be your typical mm, in or px, but I think it's safe to call them "precise measurements". For example, if a designer uses the height of the letter x in a logotype "generation x", or the width, height or skew angle of the cells of a predetermined grid, measurements will precisely conform to that base unit. Mar 4, 2019 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


Having spent a long time designing and delivering logos, logotypes and full Corp ID packages, and then also having working in similar corporate environments and constantly wading through a never-ending slew of utterly inappropriate requests to "just alter our logo this tiny amount this one weird way for my one special-case" from everyone from minor project managers to VPs...

The primary reason one specs a delivery logo and Corp ID package with dimensions, ratios, colour definitions in every method one can, including nearest acceptable alternatives where the client-chosen colour doesn't directly translate to a given colourpsace or gamut, type definitions from basic font to specific weights and use-cases, and why one delivers a logotype not only with the given proprietary font but also in outlined form, and as both vector and raster at a range of resolutions, and a wide range of file types is simply to try to protect your client's investment in the development of this given Corp ID.

Over time, the more closely they hew to the original spec, the greater their realized value in that brand identity - conversely, the more they tweak, twist, and violate the finally-approved ID, the less consistent it is, the less powerful, the less instantly gestalt recognizable, the less effective, and therefor the less valuable.

They literally devalue that ID every time they violate that spec.

The secondary reason one carefully specifies and defines the design logic and client approved concepts which led to the given final accepted design result is to demonstrate for and to the client where and how we got there, and for the client also - as they later have new personnel, or new graphics contractors, those folks can understand both process and design intent - that way if some other designer is asked to "extend" the Corp ID in some new way, without diluting it, you have provided them a clear design path which should allow that to happen easily without the risk of the most obvious mistakes; this logic also applies to yourself, in that if you get asked back with this client in three years to extend their brand identity into a new space, or a new product, though you may have in that three years completed 60+ other campaigns for dozens of other clients, you can read this delivered Brand ID package and refresh your own memory as to how and why you ended up at the final design. This also applies to cases where your client's Brand ID may be used by others - contractors, consultants, venture partners etc - having a clear brand graphic standards and guidelines can help ensure that when a venture partner wants to use your client's logo and their own in a joint venture marketing package, they don't bowderlerise or otherwise mis-use your client's identity elements.

A tertiary benefit is that the more of these you do and deliver, the more proficient you become at diligence, clarity and thoroughness - and you can frequently use previously-produced Brand ID packages as exemplars when discussing potential new gig with new clients - and that's never a bad position to be in.

Hope this helps.

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    I like this answer. As a graphic designer you have to think "worst case scenario" all the time. Even though I haven't made a lot of branding I've still experienced how clients can massacre your design in no time if you don't provide them with proper guidelines. Another thing: You have explained why we need to provide all sorts of exact dimensions and ratios. The OP seems to wonder why the brand identities always use "integer values" and "neat angles". The answer to that seems to be: Because it's easier to work with. The alternatives are "no rules" or lots of decimals all over.
    – Wolff
    Mar 4, 2019 at 16:55
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    Now that I think of it, I can kinda relate to the idea of knowing how to extend a brand identity. Back at the place where I interned they asked me to do stuff without giving me clear instructions because they had no solid identity at all, so I had to wing it every step of the way, like whenever I had to determine the clear space for the logo and whatnot. So measurements, just other specs like colors and layout, are kinda like recipes: the more precise and simplified they are, the easier it is to (re)produce good results and the less likely mistakes are. Mar 4, 2019 at 17:36
  • @Vun-HughVaw - if you've found this answer both useful and definitive, please accept it so that this post shows as successfully answered; helps our metrics and makes the whole of GD.SE more navigable. Thanks. Mar 11, 2019 at 16:56

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