We were recently given a financial document assignment for my typography class to practice our type conventions in English and French. However this also offered an interesting look at in-house design.
First of all, let me say that I have never been overly partial to the idea of in-house design. I enjoy working on many different types of projects and working under a strict set of brand guidelines never really appealed to me. While I’m aware you have to do that regardless of where you work, working under one specific company is daunting. Especially one as structured as Telus.
Besides doing the typical comb-through of the text, looking for spelling errors and the like, I also had to do plenty of research into the brand. I looked through their brand standards and found a very helpful page hidden away in their website, outlining the specifications for everything down to type sizes, colours, and how to properly add emphasis. However this guide was for their digital and user experience platforms and had to be tweaked for print. That being said, it gave indispensable knowledge about the company and how to properly use the iconic Telus imagery of plants and animals.
Because we had to typeset both English (my native language) and French (of which I know a bit), I began with the French as to make it easier on myself after. It was an… interesting experience trying to go against all my training to use the proper French typographic conventions while not really recognizing what was going on. I found it simplest to have both copydecks open to refer to back-and-forth.
While designing, I made sure to constantly refer to their previous guides for inspiration and keep my design in line with. I wanted to make sure that my design was new and fresh, but also in line with what Telus customers would expect to receive. I used mostly floral imagery as per the specifications that they are used to make complicated information friendlier and easier to understand.
Admittedly, this project turned out to be more enjoyable than I previously thought. While you do lose a fair bit of creative freedom, there is something to be said about specifications. You don’t have to spend the time asking yourself (and others) “This blue, or this blue?” or “Is this typeface too reserved, too distant?” Instead, another design has done that for you. I can still say with a fair bit of certainty that I don’t have plans to be an in-house designer, I can see the appeal of working within one brand, familiarizing yourself with it, and always working within it. It definitely would be a good jumping off point for a junior designer just entering the design world.