Branding Guides

If you are looking to build a more identifiable name for your business, it is essential that you take a serious look at what it means to build your brand’s visual and emotional persona. Doing this, however, requires that you set up what are called “brand guidelines--” those pieces of your brand that will ensure that, across every platform, your brand looks and feels the same (even when you have different representatives and departments, as well as potential outside agencies, working with them).

Understanding what those brand guidelines are and how you build them is fundamental to creating a brand identity that not only builds familiarity, but also stands the test of time with your customers. To help, we’ve compiled the several things you need to know to build, compile and present the most successful elements of a good brand identity.

Introduction

How you introduce and describe your brand to the world plays a key part in giving people insight to who you are—which is done by creating a narrative around your mission and vision for your company, as well as your audience, personality and values (though you may choose to opt out of stating those explicitly.

Logo

While you may already have a working logo, the important part of establishing brand guidelines for your logo is less about aesthetics and more about ongoing functionality over all your platforms.

While you may be clear on the hex code or CMYK color for your logo, describing other important aspects of your logo when it is used in different places—aspects such as:

Size (the minimum size and proper proportions of your logo),
Space (how much or how little white space is required for your logo to maintain its visual integrity)
Color (if there are variations or inversions of the logo that will ever be used)

Color Palette

When it comes to color, choosing a particular “brand palette” will help with creating a more consistent look and feel for your brand.

Most brands choose four or fewer colors to represent their brand, with only a few hues of each color that can be used to maintain the integrity and consistency of their visual identity.

When creating your style guide, be sure to include swatches of your chosen colors and hues, as well as the color matches (PANTONE names and numbers), print colors (CYMK) and digital colors (RBG and HEX codes) you need.

Typography

While it might not sound like it belongs at the forefront of your design strategy, establishing a typography and font scheme for your brand is critical to establishing brand guidelines for your company.

While your brand needs will dictate how many fonts (or font families) you will need, talking through which fonts work best for your ongoing designs and content with a designer is an important part piece of your style guide.

Imagery

Giving examples of the sorts of images you want used with your brand, as well as images that have performed well for your brand in the past, will help you to communicate the personality and feel of your brand for anyone using your style guide.

Additionally, including details on where, when and how to use photography or images for your brand, as well as guidance on spacing, filters and photo treatments, will help those building content for your company stay on brand moving forward.