What are brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines are a set of rules that lay out how your brand’s identity should be communicated across all your business literature. This can include but is not limited to: your logo, colour palette, typefaces (fonts), and imagery. You can expand your brand guidelines with other elements such as copy samples and there should be a section dedicated to how this is implemented in Microsoft Office templates (if this is your software of choice).
American author and entrepreneur Seth Godin says “a brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”
Basically, your brand is your company’s personality. It’s not just a logo – it’s a whole identity. Head over to this page of our blog if you want to know more about why building a strong brand is essential for success.
Take your logo, for example. It’s not really enough to just say, “this is our logo, use it”. Your marketers, writers, and designers need to know which colours to use, sizing restrictions (this helps avoid stretching and warping of your logo and maintain its visual quality), and even how it should look on different backgrounds. If you don’t specify these rules then you will have trouble with how your visual identity is interpreted and it will be almost impossible to have brand consistency in all your design materials.
Why are they important?
Obviously, this is a lot of information to keep in mind. Without a guide you risk design irregularities in your business and marketing collateral. Inconsistencies like this confuse your message, and consequently your customers, weakening your brand.
Laying out a clear set of branding rules gives content creators a tangible frame of reference to work from. It also helps maintain consistent representation of your brand, presenting a solid and reliable image to your customer base. Gradually, this consistency promotes recognition and trust in your brand.
In our experience a lot of smaller businesses (and many larger ones) don’t have clear brand guidelines. If you value your brand and you want it to be consistently portrayed in ALL your documents and presentations then we strongly recommend putting one together. A 3-4 page version will contain the basic information that is vital to communicating a consistent brand message at all times.
If you need help developing an effective brand guide, even the basic version, then contact our expert team today – we’d love to help!