You see red and yellow throughout the building. You can picture the big golden arches. You go there to get food served quickly.
You know the place being described is McDonald’s. You know all of this because of intentional and effective branding.
Our American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) brand is our identity. It’s our reputation, our promise. It’s how the public recognizes us. It’s our big picture and our message.
We, as an organization, need to focus on our branding and use that brand to educate the public on who we are, what we do, and why we matter.
Because the American Legion Auxiliary’s units and departments are spread across the United States and its territories, we need to develop a strong and cohesive brand.
We want to enhance our identity, maintain and build upon consistency, and simplify and update our look and feel. By producing materials that are uniquely ours, the American Legion Auxiliary will easily be recognizable no matter where material is produced or in what format it’s published.
The ALA Branding Guide was recently updated and is a great learning tool for members when producing ALA-related materials. The guide covers a wide variety of topics — the ALA emblem and its usage, branding style, photography, video, design, social media, website, editorial, brand promise, and voice.
Here are a few highlights covered in the guide:
– Use of the American Legion Auxiliary emblem is controlled by the national organization. All requests for approval to use the emblem must first be sent to the department secretary. The request letter must state who will perform the duplicating (manufacturer), the name of the product, its intended use, and the exact amount being ordered. Additional quantities require new authority. The department secretary indicates her acknowledgement and affixes her signature before forwarding the request to the national secretary. For more information on permission to use the emblem, see The American Legion website: www.legion.org/emblem/faq.
– The American Legion Auxiliary emblem should always be prominently displayed at the top of any production with nothing placed above it. Except in some rare instances, the American flag is permissible to be placed above our emblem.
– There are five color versions of the American Legion Auxiliary emblem available for use: the four-color, two-color, one-color, grayscale (black), and reversed emblem.
– Approved ALA typefaces: The American Legion Auxiliary has chosen the Adobe Garamond Pro and Helvetica type families because of their clean, professional appearances, and readability. If your computer does not come with Adobe Garamond Pro, we recommend similar fonts from the Garamond family such as Garamond or ITC Garamond, or other substitutions can be used such as Palatino, Minion Pro, or Times New Roman. A substitution for Helvetica is Arial.
– Boldface type should be used only for titles, headlines, to make words stand out, and, very rarely, for emphatic use.
– Use font sizes from 9-pt. to 14-pt. for most standard size documents.
– Try to use photos with smiling, positive people engaging in our mission. Use subject matter that will resonate well with our audience.
– Include a wide range of demographics and ethnicities.
– Pictures should be provided in maximum resolution in JPEG format with captions provided.
– Don’t cut people off at the edge of a photo.
-Ensure good lighting. Do not use photos that are too dark.
– Image resolution is either dots per inch (dpi) or pixels per inch (ppi). Computer displays, for example, operate upwards of 100 ppi. For sharp, high-quality press printing, 300 dpi is optimum for both color and grayscale images.
– Computers, digital cameras, and scanners save files in red, green, blue (RGB) colors, whereas press printing is most often done in a four-color process — cyan, magenta, yellow, black (CMYK).
– Facebook: It’s great for posting a variety of content, including videos, photos, blogs, links, and general updates.
– Twitter: It allows for short text updates (240 characters or fewer) with videos, photos, and links. Twitter is ideal for sharing news quickly and easily interacting with others.
– Instagram: Users are only able to post videos and photos. Instagram is an ideal platform to promote events and volunteer activities.
– Snapchat: This is a strictly visual form of social media. It does not have a hashtag option or allow for sharing, so only users who have added you are able to view your content. This social media platform is great for capturing moments during events like ALA Girls State.
Having a cohesive ALA brand is important for many reasons: It heightens public awareness of our organization, increases our credibility with professionalism, and differentiates us from similar organizations.
This is just a snapshot of the many helpful tips available to help you in this guide. To download the full ALA Branding Guide, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org and search “ALA Branding Guide.”