Focus on why it is important and what the company is trying to achieve, not just how to do it.
Demonstrations are often more effective than lengthy text.
Develop content that is engaging and avoid unnecessary jargon.
20 pages of useful information may be more effective than 50 pages. Don't include filler, such as unnecessary information on how to create a business card, when templates are more effective.
Understand who will be using the standards and don't insult their intelligence.
Identify the appropriate balance between structure and flexibility. Too much flexibility results in complete chaos, too much structure results in lifeless communications.
For interim standards, create pdf files that can viewed online, emailed or downloaded and printed the standards can eventually be established as an online identity resource. Most printed sets of guidelines are expensive, become outdated and out of print. (GE printed up 2,000 copies of their 400 page standards in 1987, none were available after the first year.)
Digital files that can be expanded or revised help to establish that identity management isn't a static or one time event.
I lifted the colour variations image at the top from one of my favourite guideline manuals — Christopher Doyle Identity Guidelines 2008 (the link points to a PDF file approximately 1MB in size). Doyle was worthy winner of a yellow pencil at the 2009 D&AD Awards for his efforts.