BRAND GUIDELINES; WHAT ARE THEY?
Brand guidelines define the elements of your brand that should be used persistently throughout your brand communications. The key to building a strong and trustworthy reputation for your business is keeping consistency throughout your brand. Defining the elements of your brand allows you to keep this consistency. Every employee who will be creating branded work for your business can use the brand guidelines as a point of reference. They will be able to work creatively whilst incorporating the important style elements of your brand.
What should brand guidelines include?
Brand guidelines are completely unique to your brand. So, depending on the needs of your business they can be as comprehensive as needs be. The most memorable brands stick in consumers’ heads due to the consistent repetition of strong branding. The more specific your brand guidelines, the easier it’ll be to keep your branding consistent throughout your business.
Take a look at our 5 Reasons your business needs a strong well thought out brand
Here’s some examples of what you’d expect to see in brand guidelines.
An Overview of your Business
The purpose of your brand is important for anyone working with your business to understand. They need to know what message you’re trying to convey to consumers and what values you carry in your business. This knowledge will help employees to create work that portrays your business in the way you intended.
Colour is one of the first things to draw us into a brand. Not only that but a signature colour can increase recognition of a brand by 80%.
Therefore, properly defining your brand’s colour palette is hugely important. The colour palette for your brand determines the visual effectiveness of the content you will create. Extensive style guides specify exactly what colours are used as part of primary and secondary palettes. They also specify uses of the colours, giving examples to illustrate the brand’s vision.
Take a look at Adobe Kuler to help create and explore colour palettes for your brand.
Depending on the type of content it’s used for you’ll need to adapt your logo into different versions for different uses. Brand guidelines should map how and where to use each version, with examples depicting these uses. For example of logo variations, take a look at this guide. Examples of how the logo shouldn’t be used are also useful, as the placement and sizing of a logo can affect the overall visual effect of your branding.
Another visual factor that will impact the overall look of a business’ content is the chosen fonts. Brand guidelines should outline which fonts should be used throughout the brand and for what purpose. Some guides also include examples to further pinpoint the use of the chosen fonts depicting variables such as size and colour.
Graphics and Photography
A style guide often includes examples of the types of images and graphics that the brand’s content should include. It is important to choose images that not only reflect the purpose and values of the business but also ones that compliment the branding. Placement of images on a page and the size of the images is also an important element of a style guide.
Tone of Voice
The tone of voice of a brand will differ depending on its target audience. The language used to address children would be very different to that aimed at adults. Therefore it is important to outline any specifics concerning tone of voice, and even words that should or should not be used in your brand’s copy.
A style guide should keep every piece of work produced for a business in line with the brand, whilst allowing employees to be creative. With 90% of consumers expecting a brand to be consistent across multiple platforms, it is more important than ever for brands to meet this expectation.