Brand guidelines help you build and identify your brand effectively.
They’re essential for any business who wants to keep branding consistent and cohesive across all channels.
Moreover, having a well-documented set of guidelines saves you and your team time and effort when putting together new materials, as you won’t have to hunt for correct fonts, colours or logo formats.
Even if you’re a small company, or a one-person-band, creating brand guidelines is brilliant practice, as they’ll support you as you grow your business and bring new people on board.
It’s all about not leaving your brand identity to chance or a guessing game. By having everything laid out for people in one ultimate document, you can save time, while maintaining brand consistency.
We’ve got some starting points for brand guidelines below.
Your logo and its variations.
Your logo is a pretty important part of your brand, and potentially the first thing that comes to mind when people think about branding.
So, it’s crucial to get it right.
In your brand guidelines, go into as much detail as possible about your logo and how people should use it:
- Where and when the logo should be used.
- Acceptable alterations – what can people alter to make it work for their purpose?
- Logo spacing – how much space needs to be left around your logo when it shares a page with other content?
You may also want to include a reduced version of your logo for things like social media icons and packaging, as well as a monochrome version for when your logo needs to be in black and white.
If you need help with your logo please take a look at our other guides:
- 6 Things To Consider When Designing a Logo.
- How To Design An Effective Logo For Your Business.
- Why Logo Design Is Not Branding.
You’ll likely have several colours (we recommend three or more) that are used across your brand.
Here’s your chance to make them known and highlight when and where each hue should be used.
Be exact and precise with this. You don’t want people picking any old shade of red when you spent time specifically crafting your colour palette.
Note down your primary colours and provide secondary colours to choose when needed. If you have a limiting colour palette, consider including tints and tones to allow for flexibility while maintaining consistency.
We have created a few colour resources on this blog:
- How To Choose The Perfect Colour Palette For Your Website.
- Colour in Web Design Explained: Hues, Tints, Tones and Shades.
- How To Use Colour Effectively When Creating a Brand.
Your brand’s typography is essential to the way your brand conveys its messages.
Again, by outlining all of the acceptable fonts and when they should be used, you can reduce the risk of inconsistency.
Establish a hierarchy, where you show which font should be used for headings, subheadings and the body text.
Don’t forget about size, weight and spacing!
You may also want to include an alternative web-safe font if your brand fonts aren’t available on most operating systems. This means, if there’s ever a programme or application that doesn’t support your chosen font, you have a suitable and consistent backup to use.
Take a look at some typography inspiration here:
- Do Fonts Really Matter In Web Design?
- How To Successfully Combine Fonts
- How To Choose A Timeless Font
Style and tone of voice.
Now, this is an often overlooked part of branding, and therefore not always mentioned in basic brand guidelines.
However, it’s vital to include how you want your brand to sound and feel to current and potential customers.
We like the below approach of “instead of this, say this”, as it helps you craft a voice and personality for your brand, which gives people a really good idea of how you want to sound. Super handy if you have more than one person communicating with customers.
Many brands have made their brand guidelines public, so take a look at some of the examples below:
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of things to include in your brand guidelines, it’s simply a starting point for you to begin at.
If you want to know more about branding, brand consistency and brand guidelines, please do get in touch with a member of our team today.