Corporate design is a set of agreed design ingredients - including some or all of typefaces, sizes and weights, colour palette, photographic style, illustration style - laid out and positioned in agreed ways. For example, there may be a set of layouts for webpages, brochures, factsheets and headed paper, indeed for all kinds of communications that customers and others might encounter. As with branded language, the idea is to create a consistent identity for the brand, one that is recognisable and will evoke a set of assumptions and associations in its audiences each time they encounter it.
Design guidelines usually take the lion’s share of what is contained within an overall “brand book”, covering visual identity and often including specific guidelines for layout, design, typography, colours, and photography style. (The language guidelines will often be a chapter within the same book.) The brand book is a reference item for many within the business and outside it: for example, external agencies such as design companies who will have been assigned to create communications on behalf of the brand. The rules for visual identity and the rules for Tone of Voice together form the framework within which corporate communications must be created.