The Importance of Brand Guidelines
Over the past days, months, and maybe even years you have spent a lot of time crafting the perfect brand. You’ve gone back and forth with a designer to get your logo just right. You’ve talked with friends, family, and coworkers to make sure your messaging aligns accurately with your brand. And to protect and save those assets, such as your logo, you will need branding guidelines. It’s a manual, if you will, of your brand including colors, typography, fonts, logos, slogans, and more.
“A brand is both a tangible mark and, at its best, a powerful emotional connection with the consumer.” – James Speros
What are branding guidelines?
Think of these guidelines as a toolkit for your business image. It’s a document that provides rules and expectations for how to use your branding elements accurately. Elements can include icons, colors, typography, and more. These guidelines are often shared with graphic designers, marketing experts, content creators, and those throughout your company to maintain consistency among all assets. And across all platforms.
Without solid branding guidelines in place, there is a chance your brand will not stay consistent over time. An inconsistent brand can cause your business to lose customers, especially those loyal to your brand. If they are confused or don’t recognize your brand, it’s easy for them to be lost in the sea of ads.
What is Included in Brand Guidelines?
Take a minute to think about companies that can be identified immediately by consumers: Nike, McDonald’s, Target, Apple. What makes these companies so identifiable? Their consistent branding including colors, icons, logos and even slogans.
Since no two brands are the same, every company’s guidelines will look different. However, there are three main elements that will always be included:
- The company’s color pallette
- The typography that is associated with the brand
- The logo design, including all ratios
While those elements are included in every company’s brand guidelines, there are a variety of other elements that can be included as well.
- Brand Tone
- Brand Attributes
The elements that will be in your brand guidelines depend on the elements that make up your brand.
In addition, some guidelines can provide use cases for all the elements. For example, how to properly use the logo on a website versus a social media post.
So Why are Branding Guidelines so Important?
Now that you have a basic understanding of what is included in brand guidelines, you might be interested in why they are so important. Well, here are just a few compelling reasons:
Every time someone visits your website sees your business card or receives any type of marketing materials from your company, they receive a perception of your company. When elements of your brand are used effectively and consistently you are able to build a powerful and recognizable brand. No matter your business’s size.
By implementing brand guidelines it allows your brand to be more immediately recognizable within your industry and with your target audience. We understand that a recognizable brand can’t be built overnight, but adhering to your brand guidelines can help make your brand more distinguishable than your competitors.
Setting Standards and Roles
As mentioned above, your brand guidelines should be used as a toolkit. It provides guidance on how to implement your brand including when to use a logo versus a favicon, how to space the logo and the hierarchy of color and typography. Although you may know your company’s brand inside and out, not all employees will, especially when there is turnover. Brand guidelines provide a resource for those who may not be as familiar and help to keep everything cohesive.
Having these rules and guidelines are important to keep your company image consistent for any third party that may be using your logo. But they are also a useful tool for employees, so they, too, can use branding elements correctly throughout designs and any other use cases.
How do I get brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines are created after establishing a color palette, logo, typography, and all of your other brand elements. If you are just now building your business and brand, then it’s a perfect time to have your branding done and your guidelines created – and we are here to help!
If your brand is already established, but you don’t have brand guidelines, we’d love to help. It’s never too late or early to build a strong, solid, and cohesive brand that will build a loyal customer base.
Remember that without guidelines, it’s nearly impossible to keep your branding consistent. They are essential in keeping your brand identity consistent, recognizable, and ownable, even as many different people develop content or market your brand. Since brand guidelines are responsible for maintaining a brand’s identity, it’s important to spend the time and resources to get it right.
Have more questions that we didn’t address? Ask our chatbot Ozzie.
By: Stephanie Lownds