New brand guidelines design tool Standards 'takes the best from the past, and is built for design today'

Most graphic designers are aware/in awe of Standards Manual, the independent publishing imprint founded by designers Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth in New York City in 2014.

The publisher archives, preserves and publishes design history collections such as artefacts related to the New York City Subway, a compilation of 60 years' work from the seminal New York design firm Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, founded in 1957 by Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar; as well as (as the name suggests) reprinted standards manuals from organisations including NASA and EPA. Their broad aim is to put out titles that help "make great design available to all".

Now, the team behind Standards Manual and design studio Order has created Standards, a new online tool for designers creating brand guidelines.

According to its founders, Reed and Smyth (who are also partners at Order), the platform "takes the best from the past, and is built for design today."

The pair worked with Seattle-based design and development agency Shore to build a tool "for how designers actually work now," says the team. "As the approach to design has shifted from static to dynamic, the tools for creating, sharing, and using brand guidelines have been stubbornly stuck in the past, too." Their Standards platform promises "no more templates, clunky PDFs, or static asset handoffs."

Instead, Standards enables designers to fluidly embed necessary information such as colour values, adaptable assets, typefaces, and animation directly into their guidelines.

Order created the identity, UX/UI, and product experience for Standards in collaboration with Shore, with the designs inspired by the "iconic forms established by influential graphics standards manuals of the past."

The typography uses similar reference points: the team chose Klim Type Foundry's Söhne family, which was designed to capture the essence of Standard Medium, as used in Unimark's NYCTA Graphic Standards Manual.

"Standards takes the knowledge we've gained from Standards Manual and introduces enhanced functionality that the web allows," says the team. "...all based on the best design principles of the past, while looking forward to the future of branding."


Get the best of Creative Boom delivered to your inbox weekly