You may have heard about brand guides a time or two, but WHY are they so important? One word: consistency. If you’ve followed me for awhile, you’ve likely heard me preaching its importance before. A brand only becomes recognizable when it’s consistent!
Whether you’re working with internal or external partners, having a clear set of guidelines will ensure that everything created is in line with your brand. It will also make any marketing and communications decisions so much easier in the future!
Think of your guidelines as your “brand bible” – it should include all the necessary deets to ensure that you know exactly how you want your brand to look and feel at a glance.
Here is what I would recommend including in your brand guide. You may want to include more or less depending on what make sense for your business.
Your mission, vision and values
Summarizing your mission, vision and brand values in your brand guide makes it clear upfront what your direction is, who your customers are, and what you want to achieve. It’s a good overview for yourself, your team, and any contractors you may have to get a clear understanding of what your biz is all about.
Here’s an example of Virgin America’s mission in their brand guide:
Your brand personality traits, voice and tone
Including your personality traits, voice and tone in your brand guide is crucial to ensuring a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints. This is something that any team member or contractor should be well aware of. (Need some help defining your personality? Check out my FREE brand personality checklist to get you started!)
Here’s an example of tone of voice from EasyGroup.
You can see they give samples to ensure clarity around their tone.
Logo usage (primary and secondary)
Every brand guide should include details on your logo. You should include both the primary and secondary logo and be super clear on how you want it used and how you don’t want it used.
In this sample from adidas, it’s very clear HOW to use their logo and how it SHOULDN’T be used.
Make sure to include both primary and secondary colour palettes and their colour codes in CMYK, RGB and Hex codes. Be clear on when and how to use each colour palette.
Here is Delta’s colour palette. They’re super clear on how to use the colours, their codes and when to use each colour.
Fonts and typography
As much as possible, you want to be consistent in the font you are using. Your brand guide is where you outline which font you use for what (print versus digital) and how to use it.
Here’s a sample from AirBnb. You can also include information on what font you’d use for subheads, body copy, pull quotes, etc.
Brands are becoming increasingly visual and so it’s a good idea to give some thought around how you want to support your brand through photographs. Do you want to only use photos of people a certain age? Are you okay using stock photos? Get really clear on what you’re looking for and remember to tie it back to your brand personality.
Here’s a sample of how the University of Cambridge describes their photography style.
Now that you know what to include in your brand guide, it’s time to get to work on all the pieces of it! If any of this seemed confusing and you don’t know where to start, I can help! Book in for a FREE brand clarity action plan call and we can discuss all your branding questions together!
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