Design helps Financial Reporting and Assurance Standards Canada distinguish brand with logo suite and visual standards guidelines

Case Study by Megan Rousseau RGD



The Financial Reporting and Assurance Standards Canada (FRAS) was looking for a visual branding suite of products that would demonstrate their independence from CPA Canada, due to the independent standard-setting function of the department.


The FRAS is the umbrella brand to three boards and two oversight councils that write and administer the accounting and assurance standards in Canada. Each board works with the associated group in the department to write the standards. The oversight councils ensure that the standards are implemented and administered correctly. I was selected as the designer of this project because I have worked with the department in the past, designing annual reports, strategic plans and various other smaller projects.

The client required a branding suite for the umbrella brand, the two oversight councils and three boards in both English and French. The client wanted there to be a strong Canadian influence in the logos and for the entire branding suite to have a cohesive feel. All the logos were to look similar.


Along with the logo suite, the client requested visual standards guidelines, stationary templates and report templates using the same branding.  


The project was split into three phases over the course of six months.
Phase 1: logo development and approval (July/August 2016)
Phase 2: visual standards guideline development (September-October 2016)
Phase 3: templates (October-December 2016)


Phase 1: Logos
I created three logo concepts and presented them to the client. The logo that was selected was a circular graphic that had each board and council around a table with the Canadian representation of a maple leaf.


Logo Sketches:


The colour palette was selected to be very different from CPA Canada. The blue and the red of the boards and councils work together to make the purple of the FRAS umbrella brand.


In total, 100 logos were prepared in various file formats and in both English and French. 




Phase 2: Visual standards guidelines
Guidelines were developed in conjunction with some of the templates. Arial was selected as the main font for the brand as this is a readily-available font for all operating systems and there wasn’t the budget to purchase and license a font.

The guidelines also include the colour palette, minimum sizes and padding around the logo, the type of backgrounds that the logos can be used on, placement of logos on advertising, publications and other cobranded materials that the organization produces. As well as correct applications of the logos on template material and swag/giveaways. The client has distributed the guidelines to the department and the communications manager ensures that the guidelines are applied appropriately to everything that is produced. If there is any question about appropriate application, the communications manager contacts me and we determine how it is best displayed. The guidelines are updated as new scenarios arise. 


Phase 3: Templates

The client took an inventory of existing templates and requested updated versions with the new branding. These included multiple page letterhead, both print and electronic, report templates for several different types of reports, envelopes, business cards and PowerPoint. As the designer, I determined how best to set up the templates to ensure the new branding was used correctly. 



The communications manager and I finalized the guidelines and she prepared an email to distribute the guidelines among the staff in the department with the understanding that there could be future updates, depending on any new materials/uses that were developed by the department. The client and I worked very closely on these guidelines, so there were no questions once they were finalized. 


There were some complications with some of the templates due to the complexity of the product - multiple page Word files and reports, and so on. Extensive testing of these products by internal staff alleviated any issues. It also gave the staff a chance to get involved in the process and encouraged buy-in from those that would use the products most frequently. In addition to this, I had a couple of meetings with the client to hear any feedback that prompted some additional instructions and pointers for use, which the client distributed among the staff in the department.