What are Brand Guidelines?
Brand Guidelines are a sheet or manual that take your brand - your logo, vision and values and translates it into your companys image.
A Brand Guideline is a rulebook that explains how you present yourself to the world through your logo, font, colour selections, photography, tone of voice and much more.
It’s a reference tool that helps you maintain consistency in what your brand looks, feels and sounds like. Using a Brand Guideline ensures that your brand looks and feels the same, wherever and whenever your company is seen.
Why is it important?
It helps your customers and clients recognise and trust you. Inconsistency will confuse and alienate your customers from your brand.
Are you using your logo correctly? You may know what colour your logo should be, but do you know how it’s going to look in different environments? Brand Guidelines will ensure your logo is used in the way you intended - everytime and in every platform. It will also prevent you looking amateurish, you’ll know not to stretch, alter, condense or have you logo on the wrong colour background. In your Brand Guidelines you’ll have clear examples of how to use your logo with visual examples to make to make it really clear. - You’ll have a minimum size it can be used. - You’ll know how much space you should have around it. - You’ll know what colour it will be and how it will look on different coloured backgrounds.
Defining your brands colours. Choosing your company’s palette will go a long way towards creating a consistent look and feel. Generally you’ll have 2-3 main colours and all should work well with each other, it’s important that the hues are similar. It’s a good idea to pick one light colour for backgrounds and a darker one for text. In your Brand Guidelines, you’ll have swatches of your own brands colours. Depending on who needs to know what colour you have depends on your answer. If your Graphic Designer or Printer asks you’ll need a CMYK or Pantone reference. If your Web Designer needs it, it’ll be RGB or Hexadecimal and if it’s your Sign Writer it would be RAL. Knowing your brand and your colours specification will ensure wherever your company is seen the colour will be consistent.
Choosing the right font for your business Another major part of your brand identity is your font or typeface choice. Depending on what you do and who you’re appealing to will determine your font choice or choices. Your choice should however work well with the font or image used in your logo.
In your brand guidelines there should be instructions as to how to use the font and typography so it remains consistent throughout all your corporate material. Sometimes you may want a different font for your headings or sub-headings while leaving a different one for your body copy. You need to establish if you are to have the text appear centered, range left, range right or justified. You then can also specify how you want the letter spacing and leading (space between the lines) so that it is consistent. There may be instances, for instance on a website when your choice isn’t available so you need to know what the best substitute is. By having guidelines you will ensure your brands text is consistent wherever it’s seen giving you a strong, credible image.
What do your brand guidelines cover? Your guide could be a single sheet or a full on guide showing how your brand will be represented and perceived.
There are essentials that should always be there: - Logo - Typography - Colour There are additional items which can be shown including. - Stationary - Website - Signage - Promotional gifts - Clothing - Advertising - Social Media - Photography - Tone of voice Having the right basic elements specified and sticking to this consistently will make your brand image grow in professionalism and trust.