Are you starting a new business? Trying to develop a brand or identity? It’s time we talked about the importance of brand guidelines.
Brand guidelines are rules which unravel a brand’s identity. The guidelines are important because they convey messages about a brand, either internally or externally. They suggest distinct elements to the public, the brand’s affiliates, and team.
People should be able to recognise a brand’s typography, logo, and colours in the absence of the company logo – you only have to look at Superbrands such as Apple, Amazon, Apple and Innocent Smoothies. Anyone should be able to understand a well-structured set of brand guidelines and know what it should or should not communicate. What it feels and looks like are equally important functional aspects of a brand.
These guidelines are kept in a booklet which covers all the elements that make your brand expressly yours. They also show how these different elements come together to complete your brand’s identity. So, what should be in your brand guideline document?
Standards to Include in Brand Guidelines
Brand guidelines are a style guide which will let others know what the brand should look like. There are two approaches: the basic outline and comprehensive. If you’re a small company, the basic approach should be sufficient. The basic guidelines include:
- The brand’s values, personality, history and its vision. It tells the public why you exist and matter. The overview should also communicate why you stand out from the rest.
- A mission statement or message tells “how” or “what” your company sets to achieve and stand for and establishes the tone of voice and language. Your language and tone should be just as unique as your brand. Show passion but be direct and straightforward.
- The document should explain how and where to use the logo, specify spacing, sizes, and list any restrictions the logo has. Choose a logo with the brand’s personality and character in mind. If it’s done correctly, others won’t have any problems using the various logo formats.
- The colour palette shows the primary and secondary colours to use on the web, print, and screen. Secondary colours add depth to the colour palette. Be bold, confident and enthusiastic.
- Font, the font family or a specific typeface is important. It’s another way people recognize the brand and spot an imposter.
- Image and photography are every bit as important to the brand’s identity as the colour palette and font. With this in mind, show a consistent image style.
- Stationery, business cards, paper stock, and finishes ensure consistency of a brand’s standard, logo, and font.
Someone new to the brand may only need the basic marketing tools, however, you should be flexible and allow for growth. You should also know what you want your brand name to reflect. Remember, consistency is paramount, especially if you want to be recognisable within your industry and target audience.
Why You Need Brand Guidelines
To be effective, you need consistency, therefore it is essential that before publishing a logo, you are absolutely sure it’s the one you want. After it’s published, your audience will associate the logo with your brand. Having a style guide will prevent confusion. It will ensure your design will look professional and recognisable no matter the designer.
Although it is key to maintain consistency, change will come with growth. This change will allow your brand to communicate on a more professional level, build and sustain a reliable brand. What you can do to ensure your brand guidelines are effective is to compare them to other great brands.
Your brand should inform the public of who you are and what you stand for. Great brands take a lifeless logo and give it a heart. This is not just a marketing tool, it’s more specific than that.
It’s about your business and its personality and values. Transparency is a huge deal when it comes to identity. It’s important to know how your audience perceives you – how you represent your brand depends on it. Once you have done this, put it in your guidelines. You should also make the do’s and don’ts evident and enforce them.
Still Need A Hand?
At Tartan Otter, we aren’t just all social media management and Star Wars fanatics – we offer all manner of social media and marketing support. If you need a hand with putting your brand guidelines together, just let us know by getting in touch with us at www.tartanotter.com