In honor of Independence Day, we decided to play an anachronistic game. Imagining the U.S. founding fathers came to us for initial branding of their “start-up” nation, we created the following brand standards for the good ol’ United States of America, circa 1776.
Our core values are the foundation of every decision we make as a brand. Be it in design, content, or any aspect of marketing, we reject selections that don’t align with the core values of the U.S.
Equality – all men are created equal
Life – preservation of one’s own life and lives of loved ones
Liberty – preservation of one’s freedom and the freedom of others
Pursuit of happiness – seeking prosperity, thriving, and wellbeing
Our logo is our most important brand element and must be protected. As the primary identifier of the U.S. brand, we have to use it properly to maintain visibility, recognition, and brand value.
The integrity of the U.S. logo depends on our respect for it. Don’t stretch, tilt, or otherwise manipulate it. In addition to looking unprofessional, any modification diminishes its meaning and impact.
As one of the most powerful visual characteristics, color should also be used consistently. Combining a little creativity with a specific color palette yields strong brand differentiation as well as an emotional response.
According to the Secretary of the Continental Congress, “White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief, signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.”
Our accent palette complements our primary colors and helps us to achieve a unified look and feel across all our communications. The U.S. colors express our brand values, but some combinations convey different moods. Consider the channel, audience, and message when choosing color combinations.
Typography is another identifier of a brand. Consistent use unifies our communications and best conveys our brand voice, look, and feel.
The hand-drawn embellished script has multiple iterations, perfect to distinguish elaborate titles, nearly illegible body text, and signatures.
ITC Founders Caslon
This versatile serif is best used for large blocks of text and communicating with the masses. It comes in a variety of weights for both roman and italic styles.
Just as every piece should look like it is part of the same brand family, all copy should sound like it’s coming from the same brand voice.
British spelling – Until the U.S. is able to revise them, default to British spellings.
Arbitrary capitalization – If a noun seems significant to the sentence, capitalize it.
Complex syntax – Use as many words, phrases, and clauses possible to send the message. When possible, use semicolons(;), colons(:), and dashes(–) to connect ideas.
When you feel like it’s time to end a relationship, it’s only fair to explain your reasons.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Collateral is everything we print, post, hand out, and leave behind to communicate with our audience. These materials carry our message, demonstrate our personality, and inspire loyalty. To keep collateral consistent, use parchment or vellum stock. Consider rolling print pieces into a scroll and tying with cord for delivery.
Classic Declaration of Independence as it was written and signed in August 1776.
Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration as it was printed the night of July 4, 1776.
Do you think the founding fathers thought about branding? Would they appreciate our brand standards? Let us know in the comments.