What are Brand Guidelines?

Brand Guidelines (also called a Brand Style Guide or Brand Book) are a carefully-designed, detailed guide on how to use your Brand System and implement your brand tone-of-voice.

Brand Guidelines can be used internally as a handbook for new employees, or as a reference for graphic designers in the company to work from in order to keep a consistent brand message.

Brand Guidelines create a consistency for your company’s public persona. They serve as a reference point as you (or your design or marketing agency) designs your website, collaterals, and social media presence. They tell the world what to expect from your brand, and how it should express itself.

Ideally, every set of Brand Guidelines should include the following:

› An overview of your brand’s history, vision, personality and key values. We include a summary of what the brand is, and where it wants to be.

› Brand message or mission statement – including examples of ‘tone of voice’. We have also started to include examples of what emojis or hashtags to use on social media - for a more holistic brand message and 'social voice'.

› Logo usage – where and how to use your logo including minimum sizes, spacing and what not to do with it. We also include examples of the social media avatar, or social icon and favicon - as well as examples of how they should be used and applied.

› Colour palette – showing your primary and secondary colour palettes with colour breakdowns for print (CMYK), screen and web (RGB).

› Type style – showing the specific font that you use and details of the font family and default fonts for web use. Remember to break down typographic features here too - including pointers on H1, H2 and H3 (headers) for example.

› Image style / photography – this includes examples of image style and the treatment of photographs that work with the brand. This can also be called Art Direction.

Business card and letterhead design – examples of how the logo and font are used for standard company print collateral.

We take great care in crafting Brand Guidelines documents for our clients. We believe they are important on so many levels for a brand, and should be cherished. Essentially, your Brand Guidelines should be flexible enough for designers to be creative, but rigid and robust enough to keep your brand easily recognisable and 'on brand'.

Consistency is key, especially if you need the brand to extend across multiple media platforms. So keep things simple, and effective.

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