Whether your company is big or small, brand guidelines are an essential document for keeping your brand consistent. It’s usually a digital PDF that you can provide to your staff and suppliers outlining how to use your brand properly. Making all your touch-points across social media, advertising, stationery and other collateral all speak with the same visual language.
Consistency is key
With all things brand, consistency is key to creating the right message to your audience. Afterall, your visual and written work all needs to look like its coming from the same company. Imagine someone has gone off on a tangent and recreated your logo in a different colour. Or is suddenly using a hot pink lipstick font for a promo to your conservative male audience. Will your audience know this is the same company? Will it turn them off? How can you build equity in your brand if your audience can’t recognise its the same brand? And that’s what this brand guidelines document is all about. Making sure your brand looks and speaks in the same consistent ‘voice’ throughout all its contact points with your audience.
What’s in a guidelines document?
So designers create brand guidelines documents to outline all the ‘rules’ with your brand and its application. This is where you are going to see:
An introduction to your company, its mission or brand story and anything else from the brand strategy that is significant to communicate.
Tone of voice and key messages (or how to write them) – is it a friendly, casual tone of voice or more professional and authoritative?
Your brandmark (logo) its colour variations and usage
Logo clear space and minimum size – although a bit boring are important elements for using the brandmark.
Your fonts or typography (as we designers call it) – what they are and how to use them.
Colour palette – usually both primary and secondary palettes – with CMYK (print-based), RGB (digital-based) and hex (web-safe) colour breakdowns
Graphic elements - any icons, patterns or graphics used to create the ‘look and feel’ and pull all your brand elements together.
Sample applications – how your brand and its elements are all put together to create business cards, website look and feel, banners, digital ads and other collateral items – so that you can follow how all your touch-points should appear.
Keep your designers happy
The designers have selected each of these elements to truly convey the essence of your brand. They’ve opted for that modern and open typeface to reflect the contemporary tone of your brand and they’ve selected the soft hued colour palette to appeal to your female audience, whoever they may be. It’s all really important to follow these guidelines, as you’ve invested in creating your brand and you need to carry through with this consistency of application in order to keep speaking to, and attracting, your audience.
Shout out if you have any questions on branding and shoot me an email here.