What are brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines ensure that all communication and marketing materials created by a company represent the brand in a consistent and accurate manner. Brand guidelines help to create a unified look and feel for all of the company’s communications, which is important in establishing a strong brand identity.
What should brand guidelines include?
- What your brand represents. The brand history, values, mission and goal.
- Guidelines on how your logo should look and be used. Logo color palette, file formats, dimensions, how it should be used.
- Color palette of the brand and the relevant pantones, RGB and CMYK codes.
- Font names, styles, size and usage cases. (Print and Digital)
- The tone of voice of your brand. Any grammar rules previously established.
- Imagery styles, icons and established photography style.
- Collateral such as business cards, letterhead, apparel.
- Previous examples of work that put these guidelines into context
How should brand guidelines be used?
Firstly, brand guidelines should be communicated to and utilised by the entire company. They should be easily accessible, preferably digital and kept up to date at all times.
They are to be used internally and externally to communicate your brand accurately and consistently.
Digital Brand Guidelines vs PDFs
As marketing continues to move at a rapid pace and new marketing channels entering the frame, it is important that brand guidelines are easily updated to keep up with this rapid pace. Brands need to remain consistent and brand guidelines are the tool to do this.
Traditionally, brand guidelines where physical. Printed off and stored in a cabinet somewhere for reference. They then evolved into a digital format, namely PDF. These were easily sharable and everyone could have their own copy. However, these got lost in an email chain or some folder deep inside the employees computer. They were also quickly out of date and not easily updated.
Digital brand guidelines are the new format. A living, breathing document that is easily updates and accessible via a link. The digital format makes it easier to provide ‘context’ to your guidelines via gifs, video, audio and hyperlinks to live assets.
What is the purpose of brand guidelines?
Building a brand takes time and consistent effort and maintaining that brand image is even harder. It takes all employees to be bought in and singing the same tune.
Brand guidelines serve as a rulebook for your brand. It establishes the rules on how your brand should look and communicate both internally by your employees and externally by partners or the media. By sticking to your brand guidelines, you establish and maintain your unique brand image, you stand out from your competitors and if all goes well, you establish recognisability in the market place.
Brand guidelines should be easy to understand, actionable and accessible. Maintaining your brand is difficult and it can take one incorrectly used logo to damage your brand reputation.
Establishing and following your brand guidelines is a big step in becoming an successful and memorable business.