- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
Branding guidelines are an essential aspect of a good branding strategy. They help grow your brand and make it more identifiable. Having clearly identified guidelines can help create cohesion across all of your marketing and other branding materials. These branding guidelines can be used by employees to ensure they are working within the company’s branding, but they can also be used externally by outside marketing managers, and so on.
After creating a branding strategy, you should be able to create branding guidelines fairly easily. You should already know what you want and what is important to your company, so the guidelines should come quickly. Branding guidelines should be condensed to a document that can be easily distributed among anyone who needs to see it, and it should be easy to read and follow.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN BRANDING GUIDELINES
There are many different things that could be included in branding guidelines, but that doesn’t mean that everything should be included. Small companies probably only need a one-page document to outline all of their guidelines, whereas large businesses or corporations may need a much more in-depth guideline.
- Logo design. The logo design and its variations should be included in all branding guidelines. Make sure it is printed clearly and the colors are well-defined. Don’t leave anything up to the imagination. A logo should be flexible, but only within the defined guidelines. Include any color or spacing variations that are acceptable, and be sure to include a full black and white version of the logo as well.
- Brand fonts and typography. A good brand is consistent and easily definable, and that includes the font and type that is used on all marketing and company materials. You may have a list of 10 acceptable fonts, or you may only have 2 that are acceptable. Whatever the case may be, make sure you define the fonts, sizing, and spacing that fall within the branding guidelines.
- Branding colors. Similar to the fonts and typography, the colors that are used in the branding strategy are essential to creating a consistent brand. You should have primary colors that are used across most of your products and logo, and you should also have secondary colors that can be used as accents. It is important to make sure there are variations of colors for print and electronic use, as these colors can vary greatly.
- Social media content. An essential part of branding guidelines is the social media content that is being produced. Regardless of the social media platforms you are using, consumers should be able to recognize your posts from a mile away. Use your accepted color scheme and typography, use photographs and other images that fall within your guidelines, and above all else, keep it consistent.
- Stationary and other assets. If you are a company that will be using letterhead, business cards, brochures, or other printed media, make sure they are all consistent and easily recognizable. Use the same logo across all media, and make sure the fonts used are within the guidelines. Stationary is something that should remain consistent over a long period of time. Don’t change your leather head every month, even if it still falls within the guidelines. Keep your branding consistent, especially with printed materials.
CREATING A BRANDING GUIDELINE DOCUMENT
A branding guideline document does not have to be complicated, and it should not contain more information than necessary. If you are working with outside marketing agencies or other 3rd parties, you may need to include more information than you would for employees, but you still should not overwhelm them with information.
A branding guideline document should include all of these above elements in a manner that is simple and easy to follow. It also needs to be in a format that is accessible to everyone who needs it. Typically a PDF is a good format for an electronic document, but it is always a good idea to have a printed version as well. Make sure the printed version of the document is in color and gives just as much detail as the electronic version.
A good branding guideline document should outline all of the accepted versions of the above elements, but it should detail a few unacceptable versions of the above elements as well, especially if they may be easily confused. For example, if it is acceptable to put the logo on the right side of the letterhead, but not on the left, include a picture that clearly states that it is unacceptable on the left.
Always keep your branding guidelines updated and consistent. Though you may not make changes very often, be sure to update the branding guideline as soon as you do, and distribute it to everyone who may need it. Make sure it is clear that the new branding guidelines are replacing the old ones, and that the old guidelines are no longer valid.
In terms of actually building the branding guideline document, it can be put together in a simple Word document, or it can be created in a program such as Photoshop or Canva. It does not matter how you create the guideline document, so long as it includes all of the necessary information.
IMPORTANCE OF BRANDING GUIDELINES
Now that you have an understanding of how to create branding guidelines, you can begin to prepare your document and distribute it to those who need it. Branding guidelines help create a cohesive look among all of your marketing materials, and it helps create customer loyalty and brand recognition. Through the use of branding guidelines, your business will grow and you will certainly find success.
Stay up to date
Want to know anything else?
We’re an open book so hit us up if we’ve missed anything here or if there’s something else you’d like to know.
Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell