Osasto: Design leadership

Tekijä: Pöldmaa Pia

Työn nimi: Corporate identity manuals; bringing sensitivity to the issue

The aim of this thesis is to clarify the meaning, purpose, and process of corporate visual communications management. The main tool used in that process is a guide book typically referred to as the corporate identity manual. The secondary aim of this thesis is to describe what corporate identity manuals are, to identify why organisations use them, and to describe some problems related to their use. The basis for the findings is provided through the analysis of associated literature, case studies of companies from both product and service sectors, as well as interviews with designers, manual users, and managers.

As there is constant confusion among all the terms concerning corporate identity issues a distinction between corporate identity and corporate visual identity is first made. Other terms related to corporate communications are also clarified. Based on this groundwork the reasons, goals, and problems connected to corporate communications management are discussed. This discussion is supported by case analyses of provided 3M, Boots, Tele.

The second part of the thesis studies corporate identity manuals in more detail. First a traditional model, of manual-creation process is given. The different phases of the process, as well as the roles of creators, owners, and users, are then re-examined to detect problems and to find room for improvement.

The latter part of the thesis analyses the content and structure of manuals. It also identifies problems and possible ways for overcoming them. Potential solutions regarding rules and guidelines for achieving a consistent yet flexible corporate visual message are investigated. This investigation is based on methods used to achieve finite and infinite graphic series including the notion of abstraction. The thesis concludes by studying future opportunities in the area of managing corporate communications.