Well-developed brand guidelines bring consistency, recognition and loyalty to your business.
What are brand guidelines?
Brand Guidelines are a set of rules to create a brand identity across multiple channels and platforms. Their goal is maintain consistency, build recognition and tell your team and suppliers how to present your brand.
If you’d like to know a bit more about the brand guidelines of some big businesses, this article analyses ten famous firms, including Google, Twitter, Nike Football and Skype.
What’s included in a company’s brand guidelines?
This depends on what’s important to your business. Some key points are:
Colour Palette – You need to take into account:
- Primary Colour Palette. The exact colours used in your logo, including the codes for different uses. Think of Coca-Cola’s red: it’s consistent all over the world and makes us recognise the company immediately.
- Secondary Colour Palette. These are complementary colours that can be used for other types of communications.
Typography – Your font has to be appealing and work along with the product and its values.
- Typefaces and families and font size and weight.
- If the font is print based, it’s good to include web-safe alternatives.
- Include structure and hierarchy information, font / weight should for headers, for body text, etc.
Logo – You want to be sure that your logo is properly seen. As a minimum, you should include:
- Your main brand logo, as well as alternate colour options in different file formats including .png, .jpg, .eps
- Logos for both web and print.
- Logo backup. A visual description of the elements of the logo: different parts and not all sections that have to be displayed on every occasion.
- Clear space (also called exclusion zone, safety space, or padding). Your logo should have a consistent amount of clear space around to ensure its visibility and impact.
- Unacceptable uses. A logo has to be displayed properly. Since you may work with different designers, this will help avoid ambiguity and future problems.
Imagery – Photography is a useful tool as a representation of a product and its principles. Your brand guidelines should explain the types of images that can be shared on your adverts, social media channels and other communications. It would be useful to include examples of acceptable pictures, as well as images that you consider detrimental to your brand.
Language / Tone of voice – It’s important to decide the way in which your brand will communicate: who you’re aiming to, if it will have a formal or informal tone, the channel you’re using… Still unsure? These 10 questions will help you find your brand’s voice.
Why are brand guidelines so important?
Sticking to your brand style guidelines will help keep your brand consistent, easily recognisable and avoids confusion for anyone who’s working on brand material whether they are internal and external staff. This will benefit you in both the long and short term:
– Consistency. Successful companies are not ambiguous. Your brand should always be shown in the same way. For example, Coca-Cola’s logo is always the same.
– Recognition. Think of Coca-Cola again: you can recognise it in places with a different alphabet where you cannot read its name.
– Expectations. We drink Coca-Cola because we know what we’re going to find behind that vibrant, red colour. This eliminates disappointments and enhances our trust in the brand.
Don’t underestimate the importance of good brand guidelines; some marketers even call them then “DNA of a company”. Make sure you spend the time and resources to get it right.