Brand guidelines establish the unique identity of your business and outline everything from typography to colour palettes. They are a framework for how your business presents itself internally, and externally to the public through its messaging and design.
Having clear brand guidelines is important for any business, whether it is just starting out or is an established company undergoing a rebrand. The style rules set out in the guidelines allow employees, partners, and clients to carry out their tasks with confidence while ensuring that the company brand is considered consistent, identifiable, and professional.
What should be included in your brand guidelines?
- Brand message – Your brand story, mission and core values ie the business message you want to portray. This should be a one sentence phrase that defines your personality and why you exist, along with any taglines and slogans.
- Logo and variations – Your logo is central to the visual identity of your business. Guidelines should contain a clear example of your logo and any variations for different platforms, including any moving elements for video content, a still image for printed work and some social media designs. This should include guidelines on size, ratios and how the logo should look alongside other elements such as subheadings and images.
- Colour scheme – A breakdown of the primary and secondary colours for your brand’s palette. The primary brand colour is typically the most prominent shade used in the logo. You can include colour breakdowns for both digital and printed materials to allow efficiency when creating designs. The Adobe Color wheel can help you select a palette that does not clash.
- Typography – All of your brand’s text should follow a consistent style with one primary font to be used on all headers and a secondary font for subheadings and smaller text. Guidelines should contain instructions on font type, size, spacing and any adaptations for various formats, as well as a common, widely available font to use when your primary font is not available.
- Visual elements – Outline how graphics, illustrations or any additional visual elements should be displayed and used. This includes rules for borders, filters and any effects when creating media. Guidance on appropriate and relevant image usage, copyright considerations and colour scheme choices should be emphasised.
- Legal compliance – Are there any legal commitments such as copyright and trademarks that should be considered and displayed when completing tasks?
Why are brand guidelines so important?
- Consistency – Maintaining brand guidelines in all pieces of work will show consistency in your business’ values and strengthen your brand’s identity and familiarity among employees, partners and customers. When it comes to crisis management, having clear and concise guidelines will ensure that your communication is in line with your company’s values. The power of consistency comes from the fact that repetition drives brand recognition.
- Employee efficiency – Employees will not have to ‘start from scratch’ when beginning a task, as the format, design, tone of voice and standards will have already been set out. Brand guidelines can help stop employees taking the wrong direction when brainstorming or decision-making.
- Adaptability – Having concise and effective rules for your brand will ensure that your message will translate across any format. This will also eliminate opportunities for miscommunication as there will be a clear set of guidelines to adhere to.
- Professionalism – With everyone sticking to the brand guidelines, your business will display a strong sense of identity and professionalism in your work. This ensures that your business is represented positively.
- Strengthening relationships – Displaying confidence in your brand’s identity will forge strong relationships with clients. By consistently keeping to your brand’s format, customers and clients will gain a sense of reliability and familiarity in your business. Your customers will know what you stand for when they hear your name.
At Effective Communication, our design team is equipped to create high quality brand guidelines. We have the expertise to elevate your business and increase professionalism with a consistent and adaptable framework. If you are looking to rebrand or refresh your brand, get in touch with our team today.