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Branding

Brand Guidelines 101

What Is A Brand Guideline?

A thorough brand guideline or style guide is a must-have for any business, big or small. The purpose of a brand guideline is to break down your company’s personality and aesthetic in a document for other creatives to utilize.  By providing a comprehensive manual for designers to use, you can ensure that the message, tone, logo, and design elements are all used properly, thereby protecting the visual identity of your brand.

Let’s Break It Down

Brand guidelines cover seven key points:

  • An Overview
  • Mission Statement
  • Logo Usage
  • Color Palette
  • Fonts
  • Imagery
  • Mockups

Overview

An overview is used to set the expectations for both your customers and your team. This is an opportunity for you to explain your business’s core values and history.  Ask yourself what values are unique to you and your business.

Mission Statement

A mission statement is essentially a brief explanation of the organization in terms of why and how you do what you do.  It’s important to explain your purpose and overall intention while supporting your vision and direction.  The main two questions to ask yourself while writing a mission statement are: “What is our company’s purpose?” and “Why does our company exist?

 Logo Usage

Designers create logos to be used in a variety of ways, and people without the proper experience or knowledge can easily use a logo incorrectly.  It’s important to provide a detailed visual breakdown of how to use different variations of a logo, the correct use of different background colors, and proper margins surrounding the logo.

Color Palette

Consistency is key when it comes to your color palette.   It may not seem that important, but repeated usage of specific colors is key when it comes to brand recognition.  Companies like Google and UPS are immediately recognizable due to their color palette. The more people can recognize your brand, the more effective your advertisements can be.

Fonts

The consistency and variety of fonts are just as important as the color palette.  In your brand guidelines, you want to display each font your brand uses, along with their font family (variety of weights the font offers). A good rule thumb is to utilize two to three fonts — one for headers, one for body copy, and one for your logo (which may be one of the previous two).

Design Elements

When designers create a brand, specific design elements other than the logo are created to help with visual recognition. Whether it’s a specific shape, background, texture, pattern, or illustration, having consistent imagery will help consumers link visuals to your brand, making them more likely to interact.

Mockups

Providing a visual representation of how you utilize the brand is key.  This is usually in the form of business cards, letterhead, apparel, and other swag. This gives anyone looking at your brand guideline a cohesive snapshot of how your company visually promotes itself in various ways.

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