Branding and trademarks: practice. The full electronic version of the book is free on the project website


    Before starting work at Alfa-Bank, for about ten years I developed websites, advertising campaigns and corporate identity for projects and companies. I set out the accumulated experience on trademarks and branding in a book that was published in 2013 by Mann, Ivanov and Ferber.

    My colleague and I posted the book in the form of a site - completely free. I invite you to read.

    And here I’ll briefly explain why trademarks are important for startups, young companies and why it is important for businessmen, product experts and developers to have an idea about this side of the matter.

    Sometimes a squiggle in the logo can cost months of downtime in the development of a company, and sometimes a mistake with a name can cost all investments in advertising (and these investments could be made for years - and all for nothing).

    At least 5-7 times a year, clients and partners (from different companies) called and asked for advice — either on how to get out of a complex conflict with domain names, or on issues of unhealthy competition — when tricksters falsified the appearance of someone else’s business, or the most common case - when the name of the company or project turned out to be occupied by a completely different company, and quite legitimately.

    All these points prove to be important when expanding a business or selling it:
    when expanding - when developments in visual communications are transferred in the form of an intangible asset and franchises are created;
    when selling - most often it is the brand (formalized in the form of a registered trademark) and the customer base (especially in the field of IT, we don’t talk about production and plants).

    If there is no registered trademark, it will be much more difficult to do this.

    Problems with corporate identity could be classified as follows (the order is arbitrary, without priority):

    - Poorly-made graphics
    - The name cannot be registered
    - Problems with domain names (a sign can be registered, and the harmonious domain name is legally used by other guys)
    - Legal problems

    What affects poorly made graphics

    —Problems with registration: elements of a sign / logo are already used in the required class of MKTU ( see Wikipedia ) - and you will have to redo the sign or logo
    - Problems with the production of souvenirs, printing (sometimes this is still true - for conferences and gifts, and for all kinds offline advertising) and the most interesting - it’s hard to adapt for advertising on the Internet
    - An invented sign may already be taken by someone else! Especially simple icons and, let’s say, industry ones that describe the scope of the company as a whole.
    - An invented sign cannot be registered in principle. This usually applies to commonly used images and words. For example, the image of the globe (with recognizable geographical details) cannot be registered, but they try to do it often. and by the way, there are quite serious companies that seriously work with such graphics (for years!). Once it was time for such a company to come up with a way out of the delicate situation - it was precisely by the franchise they could not transmit their advertising.

    Situations when a name cannot be registered

    A terribly common topic. He comes up with a cool name for a startup. And the domain in some fashion zone, such as .io or .cc - because the name is abstract, from some word, and of course, in the main zones it was taken a hundred years ago. And then it turns out that this name was completely registered by a real company about 15 years ago, moreover, in two of the three required classes. The startup has already come up with a logo, and he started the project with negligence, and now he is ready to sell it to one large technology company, which decided to expand its product portfolio. At that moment, he learns that selling it to him will be more difficult than he would like, and without a legally protected brand, the cost of the project will be less.

    In general, coming up with a name is a big headache. About this there is a separate chapter in the book - how to relieve this headache and, if possible, cure it.

    It is also interesting to check the names not only on official databases, but also on the Internet. Especially on foreign sites, if you plan to bring the service not only to the Russian market (and this is important for software, for example). The name may already be taken by someone. Or it will be bad to be due to a large flood with such a word. Or the context of using this word will be unpleasant :-)

    About the book: free electronic edition

    Two years have passed since the book was released, the paper circulation has already been sold out and the second is not yet expected (I will appreciate the fans of the paper book - I still have a few copies, with a great desire I can give it).

    Therefore, we took and published the book as a site.

    We also implemented Orfus: a few typos sneaked into the print media, and something could go wrong when transferring to the web version. we are looking forward to your participation: if you notice a glitch or a typo where, let me know.

    We will make the version in epub in a couple of months - when we choose typos or we understand that no one reports (there are really very few of them, but we need to play it safe).

    Chapter References

    • Foreword - about the difference between trademarks and brands, more details about the process of working on a sign

    1. The composition of the creative (working) group (who does what, why, how it affects the cost of work)
    2. Interviews with key employees of the company (this is to better talk about the company and more interesting texts were obtained)
    3. Study of competitors' information materials (so as not to copy other people's work and to use best practices)
    4. Formulation of tasks and conclusion of a contract (underwater rake, what to look for)
    5. Preparation of drafts of information texts (technical chapter on word processing; I decided to include it in the book because this process eats up valuable time, but there are things that it is useful to pay attention to for those who want to do everything themselves)
    6. Formulation and formalization of basic services (sometimes service descriptions are lame and need to be corrected; sometimes they need to be described in order to understand what to register and in which classes to register a trademark; finally, sometimes services affect the design system - specific icons are invented, etc. )
    7. Searching for names for the future trademark - everything is clear here: how to come up with names, what to look for and a few specific tricks
    8. Visualization of the idea: the development of signs and logos to prepare for the registration of a trademark - about the difference between a mark and a logo (do not confuse the concepts of “trademark” and “brand” - it was above about it), about the form and approaches to visualization
    9. Registration of a trademark - briefly describes the registration procedure, international and Russian options, sequence and speed options. Steps straight to the numbers.
    10. Registering domain names and creating email addresses should also be considered. Among clients, people come across very different people, it made sense to tell: about the influence of search engines, and about squatters, and about mail in the context of corporate identity.
    11. The development of information texts, taking into account the developed nomenclature - nomenclature = names. Here about how to collect a set of texts, organize them, how to spell out the rules for using names. Useful technical chapter
    12. Determining production volumes and searching for printing houses is mainly about printing.
    13. Effective management of graphic assets - about ridiculous losses when using different versions of the graphic set (sign + logo), as well as what to give to contractors.
    14. Designing distributions of the sign and logo for different conditions of use is an interesting chapter on optical correction and counting the number of modifications of the same icon
    15. Corporate typography - it’s popular about choosing a corporate font for a company or ordering a new one. Pros and cons, what to look for, what criteria to use.
    16. Creation of layouts (graphic design) - what does a designer do when company graphics are ready

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