Brand guidelines or brand identity guidelines, are often a document but more importantly a structure that can be used to help build and identify your brand. This document can then be used both internally and externally to ensure consistency and continuity with your brand’s visual identity. Your brand guidelines are a document that anyone could pick up, look through, and fully understand your brand, what you’re about, how you want to come across and everything you embody.
You might think that your new company logo and business cards are the most important part of a branding or rebranding exercise, but in reality they are but 1 element of a much bigger exercise.
You’r brand, how it’s presented, how it should and shouldn’t communicate, and what it looks and feels like is what’s important. Not just a logo.
At the end of your project, your marketing agency should give you a full set of assets, a PDF version of your brand guidelines, which clearly explains how the assets should be put to use.
What Should Be Included in Your Brand Guidelines
So, what should be included in your brand guidelines?
Well, just like anything else, you can go for the basics, or the fully comprehensive approach.
Let’s explore both options:
- Who are you
- Logo/Core parts of the brand
- Fonts & Colours
- Stationary & Adverts
- Brand Story
- Brand Mission
- Tone of voice
- Graphic Elements
- Sub Brands
- Social Media
You may think as a small business, well what are the benefits to me? Well in a nutshell it’s all about consistency and staying on message. You may think you are going to involve anyone externally, agencies and such like. Yet, internally and just yourself, it’s often incredibly useful to have a framework that keeps you on message. Your brand is everything, it’s your first sales tool and you need to make sure it gives the message(s) you wan’t and gives them consistently to have the biggest impact and value.
For bigger organisations brand guidelines can also give you protection to brand damage. Losing colours, shapes, formatting, sizes etc. can completely change the appearance and impact of your brand and in some cases damage it altogether.
The best way to approach your brand guidelines is to get them out of the way nice and early. Sit down and spend some time outlining all the above and get a really strong framework outlined that will keep you, the business, the team and anyone externally on message and on brand. That way you give a consistent message and are constantly adding value and longevity to your brand – which isn’t just a logo!
Here are some examples;
As always, any questions, get in touch!