How to Build Your Brand Guidelines
Does your business have brand guidelines? These are rules that specify how your brand will be represented across different channels, both in tone and visuals. They are typically presented in either a printed or digital package, and allow you to convey a consistent message and image for your brand in all different avenues, from print to digital to video.
Why are Brand Guidelines Important?
When creating any new marketing materials for your brand, your brand-guidelines should be the go-to reference for internal and external partners creating new visuals and media. It is also helpful for any affiliates advocating for your brand in keeping a true representation of who you are.
By being consistent in your message and identity, this helps consumers with the recall and recognition of your brand, which will in turn build familiarity and hopefully keep people coming back to build a loyal consumer base. Did you know that brand consistency is attributed to 23% of annual revenue increase for brands? Having mixed-messages or being unrecognizable from place to place makes consumers confused, and we all like knowing exactly what we are getting when we deal with a brand.
Not only that, but in keeping a consistent message and tying together the company image, employees may begin to feel more connected and understanding of the organization that they work with. They may also become more understanding of their own goals within the company, as well, in coming to understand the organization better.
Of course, in addition to specifying how to properly present a brand, guidelines can also instruct on how not to represent the brand, and key areas to stay away from. These “don’ts” can be just as important as the “dos”, to ensure that your partners or affiliates are not falsely representing your brand.
Building Your Brand Guidelines
So what goes into brand guidelines? Where do you even begin? We have broken down a few key areas to include in your brand presentation that can help you in building consistency and identity for your brand. 1. Logo
The first introduction many people have to your brand is the logo! It gives a quick overview of your image, name, and what you are about. It makes sense to include this in your brand guidelines. But don’t forget to also include specifics of where and how it can be used. For instance, is there a specific amount of space that needs to be around the logo in order to be properly displayed? Can elements or wording be removed or moved, or should it all remain the same? Is there a minimum size needed to show the logo properly? Include these details to make sure your logo is being shown off in the best light, and keeps your brand representation strong.
Your brand has a color palette, with each color chosen for a specific reason. Make sure you include the specific pantones or codes for these colors for designers to use, as it will ensure that everything remains consistent in printing and digital displays. You can also consider including specifics of where and how prominently each color should be displayed. Do you want your main logo colors to be the focus with a different accent used sparingly for little areas of interest? Be clear about the intent for each color.
Fonts have personality; therefore, the fonts that you choose for the logo and marketing of your brand will show off this personality! Typography is a big part of design, and choosing your brand typography is all a component of building your brand’s visual identity. Traditional serif fonts can create a classic look, with clean sans serifs being easy to read and great for a sleek and modern feel. Play around with different fonts and font types in combinations to create the vibe of your brand.
4. Photography, Imagery, Iconography
Your brand will likely come up with a collection of images, symbols, design elements, and photography that can be used, and will be a part of the iconography of the brand. When looking for new images or creating new elements, always have clear guidelines about the types of symbols and photos to draw from, to keep a consistent look across platforms.
Does your brand want to come across as professional and down-to-business, or more casual, fun, and friendly? This can be expressed in your brand voice, and the manner in which you deliver your messaging. Understanding your target audience is a great way to start developing your brand voice and pin down the way you want your brand to “speak” in all of it’s written and verbal communication.
6. Message and Values
Be clear about the message and values that you want your brand to express. This is why your company exists in the first place! Understanding your brand values and being able to express them clearly, in a specific way that doesn’t leave room for interpretation can get people to understand your brand better. Your brand guidelines can therefore help in dictating how you want your message to be shared and how.
No matter what your brand is set out to do, your brand guidelines give a clear set of rules for representing your brand consistently in all different forms. Create a set of brand guidelines that present a consistent brand, and this will help consumers to remember and build strong associations with your business and its values.
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