If you are a business owner, you might have heard your graphic designer rave on about a ‘Brand Guidelines’. They may have suggested that you invest in one… but what is a brand guidelines and why do you need it? Brand guidelines are your design bible, they hold all of the answers you will ever need when it comes to your brand. Maintaining visual consistency is the key to a great brand, and a clear and thorough brand guidelines will help you achieve that. This will give you confidence when sharing your brand with the world, you will know you have nailed it!
If you have spent the time and money having a beautifully crafted logo for your new or established business, why ruin it by disregarding the power of a brand guidelines?! The contents of a brand guidelines will vary depending on the size and industry of the business, but below is a list of the basics that should be included.
Brand Guidelines Checklist
- Primary logo, secondary logo, social icon – when to use each logo, minimum print size etc.
- Colour Palette – primary and secondary colours, CMYK, RGB, HEX codes etc.
- Typefaces – logo typeface, primary typeface for copy, web-friendly, Microsoft
- Supporting graphics – marks, icons, illustrations, patterns
- Branded stationery – business cards, email Signature, letterhead, PowerPoint template etc.
- Social media templates – examples of social grid, captions, hashtags etc.
- Imagery – moodboard, library of imagery to use across collateral
- Brand voice – brand ethos, values, language etc.
- Packaging – if you need it, any specifics to do with design, layout sizing etc.
- Anything else to do with maintaining consistency across your brand! (E.g. uniforms, vehicle signage, building signage etc.)
Brand guidelines should be used as a tool to stay visually consistent across all of your marketing collateral. Whether your business is large or small, it is crucial to have this guideline handy to help you and your team work effectively. Without this document, your brand’s overall visual presence could change at any point due to improper usage. Someone handling your brand may not have all of the information they need, so they go rogue!!
Why are brand guidelines so important?
- Maintains visual familiarity and recognition – remember consistency is KEY!
- Sets standards and rules to follow, meaning less room for error
- Provides tools, saves time, and sets you up for success
- Avoids any confusion or misuse
- Supports your business objectives and brand identity
- Sets you apart from other brands
It’s never too late to invest in this powerful and priceless tool. If you already have a brand guidelines, when was the last time you updated it? Brands, and their guidelines, should evolve over time. While a great brand is timeless, you will need to check in with your guidelines every now and then to ensure that there are no unanswered questions.