What is Corporate Design?

corporate design­
what is corporate design?
What is Corporate Design?

What is Corporate Design?

Benefits, procedure and checklist

An essential component of a successful corporate identity strategy is Corporate Design (CD). Corporate Design is the sum of all visual information and communications of a company or organisation.


Benefits of a Corporate Design

  1. Corporate Design is a prerequisite for any form of successful corporate communication.
  2. Corporate Design visualises culture, values, corporate goals and market competence.
  3. Corporate Design raises the profile of the company among employees and the public (competitors, end customers, suppliers, etc.).
  4. Today, Corporate Design is the only way to assert oneself in the flood of advertising and information on the market.
  5. Corporate Design signals continuity in corporate communication. This creates credibility and trust.
  6. The well-designed and organised Corporate Design releases synergy effects, creates a high recognition value of individual communication measures.
  7. Increases brand awareness and saves costs.
  8. A well-designed Corporate Design is an essential factor in determining the success of a favourable and thus ideally and mercantilely profitable image.
  9. A well-designed Corporate Design motivates employees and increases recognition and sympathy (inside and outside).
  10. A well-designed and organised Corporate Design ultimately serves the image, sales promotion and thus the achievement of corporate goals.



The first step is to analyse the status quo. The analysis should take into account the following points in order to provide the input for the preparation of a precise briefing:

  1. the historical development of the company,
  2. the company’s philosophy, values and ethics,
  3. the organisational and legal structure of the company,
  4. the existing image of the company,
  5. the market position of the company,
  6. the market position of the company’s competitors,
  7. the company’s market competence,
  8. the attitude of the employees towards the enterprise,
  9. the attitude of the company’s business partners and the public towards the company,
  10. the company’s visual image up to the present day,

The briefing is based on the findings and results of the analysis. Often, only a precise analysis reveals that there is a large discrepancy between the corporate philosophy and the existing image. The briefing must therefore contain a clear and delimited task. The general objective should therefore be to adapt the CD to the desired goal.

Design Phase
In the conception phase, design elements are revised or newly developed and checked in their various arrangements and assignments.

Development Phase
A coherent design concept is developed on the basis of adopted design elements and their assignments. Here, especially the interaction of the design elements with regard to the different information tools is shown.

Documentation Phase
In the documentation phase, all rules and guidelines related to the use of information tools are recorded in a manual or digital style guide. All identity elements and application specifications should be presented and provide precise instructions for use.

Introductory Phase
Information and motivation play a major role in the introduction. It is essential that all employees are informed about the goals and contents of a corporate identity. The employees concerned should be involved in the project in good time. The introduction of a complete new CD can take several years in large companies. Often, the introduction of a new CD will be based on the principle of cost neutrality, i.e. the guidelines will only be applied when new information tools are ordered. All employees who develop information resources must be trained in the use of the design manual.

Control Phase
It is advisable to check the Corporate Design for its realisation at regular intervals.


Priorities and Time Framese

Since the preparatory work for a CD and its implementation take some time, currently required media cannot be neglected, of course. These should be designed and produced in the best possible way independently of and analogous to a CD development. Especially in the conceptual area, optimal preparatory work can be done.

– Analysis and briefing phase
– Concept, development and documentation phase
– Production of selected CD components
– Introduction phase


Checklist: Applications of a Corporate Design

A visual identity can include the following applications:

Main Business Papers

Address labels for parcels and envelopes
Enclosure card »With kind regards«
Envelope DIN long envelope with window
Postage paid
Business memo (pad)
Main business sheet
Internal standard sheet for memos, internal circulars, EDP documents, white papers
Presentation folder for offers, information and dossiers
Telebrief (if analogue fax is still available)
Mailing envelope for Din A 4
Business cards
Duplicate sheet (universal use)

Main Business Papers of the Branches and Subsidiariesn

Postage meter
Main business sheet
Business cards

Board Papers

Envelope Din long envelope without window
Private executive sheets
Business cards
Board of directors sheet


Terms and conditions
Seal or document stamp
Forms for business transactions (cheques, analogous transfer orders, etc.)


Wrapping paper
Boxes for mailing and archiving
Adhesive tape
Folder spines
Wrapping paper
Presentation folder for results reports
Presentation folder for contracts
Carrier bags
Packaging and instructions for use
Endpapers for booklets (e.g. for adhesive or spiral bindings)

Press Service

Blog on the World Wide Web
CD, DVD and USB stickers (for digitised editorial articles sent by post)
Short message for quick dispatch »With kind regards«
Manuscript sheet
Photo sticker (picture copy for back cover)
Presentation folder for press mailings (text, graphics and images)
Press service sheet
Social media

Publications Print

Printed matter for the guest service
Invitations (e.g. representatives’ meeting, exchange of experience, seminars, conferences)
Annual report (quarterly and annual)
Expert reports
Anniversary publications
Short info for the personnel department (staff acquisition)
Brief info for bulk mailing
Monthly data sheet
Product brochures
Programmes (e.g. representatives’ meeting, exchange of experience, seminars, conferences)
Self-promotion (image brochure)
Company chronicle
Christmas card


Architecture concept
Colour coding
Building identification and labelling
Interior design and milieu concept
Orientation system
Shop windows and displays

Digital Media

Applications for Smart-Phone/Tablet/Smart-TV (Apps)
Interfaces for user interfaces
Social media networks
Telebrief via PC (if still available)

Analogue and digital Displays

Promotional advertisements
Advertisements for sales promotions
Balance sheet advertisements
Image ads
Personnel ads
Product ads
Web banners

Other Media

Field service vehicles
Exhibition system (e.g. information stand for trade fairs, conferences, guest services, airport)
Decoration material (e.g. flags, VKV material)
Delivery vehicles
Promotional gifts (e.g. wall calendars)

Corporate Communication outside the Company

Tendering for external competitions
Field staff
Provision of information material for end customers (e.g. financing guide)
Provision of teaching materials (internal and public)
Visitor and guest services
Participation in lectures, seminars, campaigns, trade fairs and events
Building and vehicle signage
Business stationery
Internal staff
Staff acquisition
Press service
Editorial contributions for trade and association magazines
Open day
Organisation of seminars, external lectures
Events (e.g. exchange of experiences, anniversary)
Board PR
Website (corporate webspace incl. landing pages and download centre)
Economic publications

Corporate Communication within the Company

Club rooms and facilities for general use
Training and further education
Company outing
Works council
Staff meetings
Library and archive
Educational institutions
Various company events
Anniversary events
Employee magazine
Network for employees and their relatives
Staff support
Sports events
Open day for staff members’ relatives
Meeting and training rooms and their equipment
Staff farewells
Christmas party


More Information
A comprehensive technical essay in German by Wolfgang Beinert on the origin, history and definition of Corporate Design can be found at



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Wolfgang Beinert