Your brand guidelines are like a ‘rulebook’ containing specifications on everything that contributes towards the look, feel and voice of your brand. Think of it as a brand bible… You (or anyone who is responsible for marketing/advertising), should constantly refer back to it to ensure the work produced fits with your brand. It is the first step in creating a brand that resonates with the consumer, and this will eventually help to build a brand that customers trust and use over and over again!
Every great brand is here for a reason, and they are always driven by a great brand story.
A brand story is something that defines and describes what your company cares most about. Not only is it used as a guide to internal company decision making, it (perhaps most importantly), help you to communicate your brand values with the public.
Each brand will have its own individual brand story, but almost everyone should include; your vision, your mission and your values.
The very best brand stories add a touch of personality too… Look at Skypes’ brand story! Skype illustrates the conversation that led to the creation of Skype, then explains what Skype is and their mission and they add in a little comedy to the whole thing expressing their brand personality.
Skype brand story
Facebook tells a more traditional brand story, but it still hits all the criteria and it fits with their overall brand!
Facebook brand story
Either way, your brand story is crucial to your brand guidelines, and it is something that should be carefully thought about and put together… This one is certainly not a quick job!
Your logo helps people recognise your brand, and so great logo design and logo guidelines are important to ensure that all logo usage is cohesive. For example, how many times have you seen the Spotify logo in any other colour than the Spotify green, white or black? Never… And that’s no coincidence! Spotify’s’ brand guidelines provide extensive details on their logo usage.
Shopify logo missuse.
It’s essential to outline logo usage to make sure no one sends out the wrong message! Some things that should be included are:
Many brands are now using multiple colour schemes to enhance brand communications, however, you should still include your brand’s core colour palette!
Some brands have a primary colour palette and then secondary colours. Take a look at Google’s brand colours.
Google brand colours.
Defining each colour and referencing each colour’s HEX code, RGB values and CMYK code is important to keep these consistent, and to ensure the information can be easily found by the necessary people.
Companies such as Trello, use colour to define a particular action or function and so they detail every shade available to use!
It is important to consider what is important for your brand, as each is different!
Typography… It’s one of those things that fits in effortlessly when done well, but doesn’t go unnoticed if it’s done wrong! It’s a really good idea to carefully select and outline what font should be used for what purpose. You should also explain the typography hierarchy. This means what fonts are for heading, body text etc. It is also important to remember that too many fonts can have a negative effect. If you’re unsure, try selecting two fonts that work well together; one for headings and one for body text.
Twitter has kept it simple. They have chosen one typeface for pretty much everything! They then explain different variations of the typeface for different usage.
Branding is most definitely not just aesthetics! A consistent brand voice in marketing messages is one of the most important elements to the brand. To determine what your tone of voice should be, you should first refer to your audience as this is who will be reading it! As a very general guide, think about their age group, what things they are interested in, how they communicate with friends, what they want from your brand, what they are coming to you for, and then put yourself in their shoes! You should aim to outline words you like and don’t like, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary and describe tone.
Branding is not what you define your brand to be, it’s what customers think of your brand. A brand guidelines document is important to outline the very core values that every marketing message or customer touchpoint should adhere to and this is what creates your brand.
If this all seems a little too much… Don’t worry we can help! To get in touch, email firstname.lastname@example.org