What Are Brand Guidelines and Why Do You Need Them?
You may have heard talk of brand guidelines, and even possibly dismissed their importance as extraneous to your brand. But the truth is, boxed in or unnecessary as they may seem, brand guidelines can communicate a wide range of significant information about your brand, both internally to your staff, as well as externally to the public at large. Well-thought-out brand guidelines can provide a valuable resource for honing and harnessing your creative powers and optimizing their potential to grow your brand!
Think of brand guidelines as a set of rules that create a strong and unified identity for your business or start-up by skillfully and strategically connecting multiple brand elements such as fonts, logos, colour palettes, imagery, tone, and stylistic choices. They’re not just for rebranding or starting a new business. Consider the following reasons to create a set of brand guidelines for your brand:
Consistency is recognizability
Every time someone visits your site or your social media platforms, picks up a business card, or happens to see a poster or flyer, they build upon a perception of your business that is not directly related to the actual content they’re seeing. By having a standardized set of rules and restrictions, it is possible to achieve a brand identity that is consistent. Consistency, in turn, is key to making your brand reliable and recognizable to all who come across it. Not to mention, when you take pride in details, people take note.
Communicating cohesive values
Maybe your brand stands for top quality. Or affordability. Or maybe convenience is at the top of your list. Or perhaps it’s a mix of all of these. Whatever for brand’s foremost values are, when your identity is cohesive and well-defined, it increases your brand’s perceived value. True story: you’ll appear more professional and credible. By implementing brand guidelines that achieve your goals, you make it easier to maintain the ultimate integrity of your image.
Setting the bar and sticking to it
Although you may know your brand’s identity like the proverbial back of your hand, all new employees face a learning curve. Since your brand guidelines are made up of rules on how to properly utilize visual and stylistic elements, what better training manual could you offer a new team member? You can and should include specifics on when to use a logo versus a wordmark, how to space the logo, and a colour/typography hierarchy—to name a few.
Elements to consider including in your brand guidelines:
It is typically wise not to use too many colour options in your colour palette. Be sure to include both RGB and CMYK colour codes so your hues stay consistent between web and print formats!
Outline your brand’s correct uses of typography in the form of typeface, font styles and sizes, the look and size of headers and body text, and anything else pertaining to the appearance of your text.
Be sure to spell out how your logo should be displayed across different formats. This could include size restrictions, which colours to use, and how it should be displayed on different backgrounds.
When it comes to brand-approved imagery, you might include the style of photographs, illustration, or icons cleared for use on your business’ website or marketing materials.
Tone of Voice
Brand tone refers to the type of language and specific wording your business chooses to use in order to showcase your brand’s values and personality. Find your voice and commit!