A brand guideline might also be known as a brand style guide or a brand bible. It is a document that aims to ensure brand consistency. Consistency across your materials is a sign of professionalism and implicitly enhances how likely people are to trust you.
Your brand has a certain style and look. Your brand guideline contains everything required to create and recreate that. It means that you can employ anyone to create your business cards, brochures, website, or social media banners, and everyone can reference how to recreate the style of your brand.
It will take some time to create, but you only have to do it once. It will then save you time and reduce the chance of costly errors. Whenever you employ someone to create material that requires your branding, you have a comprehensive guide to hand.
If you have a designer already, he might have all the details in his head. This might make a brand guideline document seem unnecessary, but what do you do when he leaves the company, or goes on vacation. You’ll have to explain everything to someone new and supervise them to correct their errors. Or you can send the new hire your brand guideline.
Your brand guideline document doesn’t need to be pretty. At the least, it should include:
Specify your preferred logo size and how it should be placed on any page. Designers are naturally creative, so make sure to spell out what they are not allowed to do with your logo.
Pick your colors and stick to them. Unless you’re working exclusively in black and white, provide the exact HEX codes for the web, and CMYK values and Pantone colors for items for print. Make sure that these are accurate by testing them to avoid costly errors later on.
The font you use is a meaningful part of your branding. Being consistent here, therefore, is essential. If you use several typefaces across your branding, establish which typefaces are used for what purposes. Stick to the plan.
You can also dictate font elements such as sizing, kerning (the spacing between individual letters and words), and leading (the space between lines of text), which all affect the feel of your writing and alter how customers may respond.
A photographic style can make your brand instantly recognizable. Provide examples of photographs that suit your brand and explain the elements that unite them.
Your style guide doesn’t need to be stylish. As long as it simplifies and unifies the design process, it will be doing it’s job. Get in touch with us to learn more about branding and how we can simplify your processes.