Brand Identity Guidelines: The Benefits of Creating a Brand Standards Guide
It takes nine to 13 touches to reach your audience. For those touches to be impactful, your audience should experience your brand consistently every time. That way, they are truly immersed in a brand experience. One essential step to ensuring consistency is to create brand identity guidelines.
There are many benefits to creating brand standards with the most important being brand consistency. Your brand should connect with your audience and be broad enough that it is relevant over time. Having a timeless brand allows you to build brand awareness with each touch.
In addition to the impact on your brand awareness, having a brand style guide provides you with a greater level of comfort and ease each time you to design a new marketing material. Your style guide should provide clear guidelines for your designer to follow so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel each time you work on a new project.
What Should Your Brand Identity Guidelines Include?
A brand manual should include all of the design elements that make up your organization’s brand. Here is a list of items that you should include, as applicable to your business:
Logo & Logo Usage
Your logo is a must in your brand guidelines. You should include how your logo is to be used on different colored backgrounds. It is especially important to show how it looks on both a white or light and dark background. Logo size minimums should also be included, this is the smallest size you can make your logo without impacting the clarity or readability. You should also show the clear zone, the amount of empty space you should have around the logo so other design elements are not overcrowding it.
Typography & Colors
Typography and brand colors are very important elements of your overall brand standards. They should align with and complement your logo. When choosing your typography, focus on having one main style for headings and one for paragraphs. For your colors, select colors that correlate to your logo and complement each other when used in a design.
Icons & Photography Guidelines
If your business uses specific icons or graphics consistently, you should include those within your brand guide as well. In addition, if you have specific requirements for how your photography is taken, that information can also be included. That way, you can provide your photographers with instructions for consistent photo-taking on premise or at events.
Key Messages & Voice
Your brand isn’t just your logo, colors and typography, it is also how you communicate with your audience. Therefore, you should also include key messages like your mission, core values and differentiator in your branding guidelines to ensure that the brand voice is used consistently in marketing pieces. And, if you have a boiler plate that must be used in all design materials, that should be included in your brand standards guide as well.
Brand Guideline Examples
Your brand identity guidelines should also show what the design elements look like when they are in use. You can provide examples of your organization’s letterhead, envelopes, business cards and other materials so designers can see how your brand looks in practice.
How to Create a Brand Identity Guide
Now that you know the benefits of having brand standards and what to include, let’s review how to get started.
- First and foremost, consider your audience. Make sure your audience stays top of mind as you create your guidelines, that way your brand choices will be well-received. Remember, your brand design may not be what you “like,” but instead it should be what resonates best with your audience.
- Consider the design elements you are already using and identify areas for which you are lacking guidelines. You probably have some design elements in place that you are already using consistently, be sure to add those elements into your brand identity guidelines. Also, make sure you determine any new elements that you would like to start using in future marketing materials.
- Finally, once all of your usage rules are defined, ensure your design team is aware of the brand standards.
Remember: As your company evolves, there may be items in your guidelines that need to be adjusted. If that happens, update your guidelines and then ensure all of your must-have marketing materials are updated in correspondence with the new guidelines.
Your branding strategy affects every part of your business as it serves as the backbone for your marketing plan. If you are looking for guidance and support as you build out your brand standards guide, please contact our team for a free consultation.