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Creating Visual Guidelines for an Athletic Program

To represent your program in the right way on social media, keeping a strong and consistent visual brand is crucial. This will help you craft a presence that is recognizable, reliable, and keeps your followers coming back for more!


How can you go about doing this in your department? Set up guidelines that lay out explicitly how to represent your program visually in any official communications. Not only will this help create a consistent look and feel to your feed, but it will ensure that no matter who is posting on behalf of your program, the branding is the same!


In terms of getting started setting up visual guidelines, there are three main elements you can focus on: logos, colors, and fonts. Below, we’ve broken down how you can go about determining each of these for your program!


Logos


The first question you need to ask yourself is: do I have an athletic logo? If the answer is no, we would highly recommend creating one. Maybe you have someone within your department who knows logo design - if not, there are plenty of outside services that can work within a wide range of budgets.


The key? Keep it simple. You don’t need 30 different options or logos for each individual team. For a high school athletic department, 1 to 2 logos will suffice. You can have a formal athletic logo and a mascot logo (like a “Paw”), or even just a school logo and a specific athletic logo. In this case, “Less is More.”


Once you have your official logos, include them in your brand guidelines.

Example from Gipper's Customizable Brand Book Template


Include a description of proper and improper uses of official logos to ensure they are used in the way you intended!


Additionally, you want to make sure that everyone has access to high quality PNGs for any official logos. This is particularly important for anyone who is creating social media content. The last thing you want is the wrong logo being used to represent your program.


Colors


The next step is defining your program’s colors.


You’ll want to start by determining whether your school or program has official colors. If not, you could consult a professional to help you determine your program’s specific colors. If you don’t have the resources for this, don’t worry! Unless your school has magically appeared out of thin air - you’re already using unofficial colors to represent your program. They are likely on your jerseys and other official school material - like a logo.


The important thing here is having the specific color codes to ensure consistency in any future use. For social media purposes, you’ll want to make sure you have the correct HEX code for each of these official colors.


You can simply use something like an eyedropper tool to extract the specific colors codes from a logo, or any other official digital material your school has produced. Here’s a link to an easy-to-use tool that can help you do exactly this!


Again, keep it simple. You don’t need tons of different colors. Most programs choose four or fewer main colors and don’t stray too far from the hues of their logo.


Once you’ve decided on your official colors, include them in your brand guidelines!

Example from Gipper's Customizable Brand Book Template


Fonts


As with the past two elements, you could certainly consult someone for professional help choosing official fonts for your program. If you don’t have the resources for this, don’t worry! There are thousands and thousands of free fonts readily available on the internet.


Google Fonts is a great place to start as it offers a wide array of free typefaces that you can use for any purpose. Many of these fonts are clean and can be a perfect fit for your program. Do some research, be highly selective, and evaluate the fonts carefully. You might need various weights (bold, semi-bold, italic) - which not all free fonts offer. And you might find you need a character or symbol that isn’t included. So take your time and do your due diligence so that you have a font or fonts that work exactly how you want.


Once you’ve determined the right fonts for your program, make sure once again to include them in your brand guidelines!

Example from Gipper's Customizable Brand Book Template


As was the case with logos, you’ll want to give clear instructions for use - that way everyone is on the same page. You can include information on which fonts to use for Headlines, Body Text, and so on.


Wrap up / Gipper’s Free Brand Book Template


If you’re hoping to solidify visual guidelines for your athletic department, we hope this was helpful!


Interested in creating a professional and shareable PDF to document these guidelines? Check out our free and customizable Brand Book template for Athletic Departments! It will help you lay out your program's brand (including visual guidelines) in a format that makes it super easy to share with your colleagues and community at large!


Here’s a link to download the template: Gipper Brand Book


Again, really hope this was helpful and thanks so much for reading!


- Jack


Jack Zamore is the Chief Marketing Officer at Gipper. Gipper is a platform that helps high school athletic departments create professional sports graphics for social media - in seconds, on any device, and without needing any design experience.


Learn more @ gogipper.com

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