Let’s talk branding guidelines, sounds pretty dull doesn’t it, well I won’t lie it can be, but it should be regarded as quite important to your business. They form a sort of bible to the company, letting colleagues and the design team know the importance of getting your branding right across all platforms, you may ask why does this matter?
Top three pretty good reasons for having branding guidelines
Consistency – Making your brand consistent and recognisable gives everyone a clear message on what you are all about, is your branding all over the place? I may not trust you, you could come across disorganised and look a bit like a bear at a picnic.
It could save you time and money – If you outsource your design work sending over your branding pack gives the designer a good head start and insight into your brand, if you don’t have this there could be a lot of back and forth emails between the designer and your company, time is money. Even If you have an in-house design team its still important, your designer/s may leave which could lead to vital information being lost.
Branding is more than just a logo – Third and very important factor, a company doesn’t just use a logo to define itself, it’s a good mix of various things including colour and imagery, reminders in your branding guidelines will re-force the importance of this. The high-end department store Selfridges is a good example of why keeping colour consistent is key, they even have their own pantone yellow colour swatch named “Selfridges Yellow” of course.
I want one, what’s next?
So you don’t have a branding guidelines you have decided you kinda need one?
Your designer should have at least some idea about what will be needed, some big companies have theirs available online for you to take some inspiration from, including Channel 4 which is absolutely huge but gives you some understanding of what you could include. Here are the basics you could cover…
Stop anyone in the office ever going near Arial again, by using handpicked fonts you have chosen. If the fonts have detailed weights make sure you specify ideally what you should be using for what and where.
Colour is pretty critical in design; know your CMYK from your RGB? Specify your colour values, RGB, CMYK and Hex being the main go to colour options for web and print, you may also use Pantone colours if you are feeling a bit swanky. But do get this right; you don’t want a mismatch of wrong colours representing your brand.
You have a young, vibrant and on trend digital agency (10Yetis) but your website has terrible corporate cheesy stock imagery, just no. Make sure the message of your brand is consistent throughout, use imagery that represents your core values.
You can specify here about spacing of your logo, where the logo should be placed on some projects, and what colours to use for different design solutions. Including examples of good and bad logo placements can prove useful.
Other elements to consider
- Brand history, vision, and personality information. This is more common in a brand bible and might be absent from a standard style guide
- Social media guidelines, including the types of posts that should be shared and how various branding elements should be used on social media sites
- Design layouts and grid standards used online and sometimes in print advertising
- Guidelines for other materials like brochures or business cards
- Examples of usage for all of the included elements
Your branding guidelines could consist of a single page to dozens of pages, It’s totally up to you and the needs of your company. Covering these basics components should give you a good head start of what to include. You could make your branding guidelines public or keep it private, again this is related to the needs of your company.
Don’t neglect it, cherish and update it when necessary
Last and final point, you have a new company logo, make sure you update your branding guidelines, otherwise it becomes as useful as a chocolate teapot, keep on track of new branding assets and update accordingly.