The Art of a Brand Guide
Whether you’re a small local business or a multi-million dollar corporation, an essential element of your business is its brand guide. Why? Simple: a brand guide acts as the blueprint to your brand; whatever it is you’re developing, be it an ad or packaging, you build it up from this.
The brand guide sees to it that your brand identity is upheld through any and all of the mediums in which it is applied, maintaining your look and your sound at all times. The information and criteria found in the brand guide influences all aspects of communication related to your brand, from its graphics to the type of content posted to your social media. Its purpose is to maintain a solid and unified brand message, and to help first, second and third parties to understand the brand values, their basis, and the brand image. While brand guides can range from a few pages in length to the size of an actual encyclopaedia, with detailed categories, sub-categories, and sub-sub-categories, there are certain key elements that can be found amongst them all:
Your logo is your signature and the easiest way to be recognized, so you want to make sure it’s being applied and represented properly. From spacing, to placement and size, your brand guide dictates how and where your logo is used as a way of ensuring that its integrity is kept.
Dictate the primary typefaces that are to be used for any text that comes out of your brand, be it in print or digital form. The styles in which they can be used should be indicated, as well as any sizing restrictions, and any colours that can or cannot be used for your type.
The colours you choose to apply to your brand are chosen for a reason, therefore it is essential that they be properly represented in their application. Your brand guide needs to precisely specify each colour by name and value, and the ways in which it should be employed, be in its usage on the logo, on the packaging, on the website, or any visual property related to the brand.
The same way your brand has a look, it also has a sound. Your brand voice should be clear and consistent. Anything and everything you say should be in keeping of your brand’s character and image. What your brand says reflects what your brand is about, so to help maintain a specific tone, your guide should list key words that represent the brand and that should be used. It should also list terms and sentence structuring that should be stayed away from.