Why brand guidelines are important
Brand guidelines are often reserved for big corporations with offices around the world and thousands of staff. However, we believe its essential for everyone to have brand guidelines no matter if they’re just a one-person band or if they have multiple staff or teams. So why do they matter?
Essentially they keep everything on track. How many times have you seen a social media post that looks like it came from a completely different company to the one posting it? Or visited a website to see different fonts or colours randomly used because someone fancied them on that day? With brand guidelines, you or your staff have very clear rules that can help your customers identify with your content much more clearly. So what should be included? We’ve identified key aspects that help your brand guidelines become a meaningful document for any staff member engaging with your customers.
- Your purpose and vocal style
At the front and centre of any brand guidelin should include your overall purpose, this will help keep the tone of any marketing material consistent. If your purpose is to help keep your local community proud through beautiful garden services, then say it, but also include your personality tone, if you’re a friendly and approachable business state that discussions shouldn’t feel forced and always keep things informal. I recently chose a mattress from a particular business because the tone of the employee was so friendly he didn’t actually care about the sale, he was just ready to talk and help.
- Colour palette
It’s essential that your brand keeps to your core colours at all times, even throw away colours for special events etc. should be accounted for ahead of time and included. If you’re business relies on blue and yellow, the same two versions should always be stuck to, meaning you should document the CMYK and RGB versions of your colours. For instance we also include our text grey and splash of pink colours.
Like your colour palette its important to have set out which fonts you will use and where, if your header is Futura while your body text is Helvetica then this needs to be stated. However again take this time to outline any special fonts so that even chaos is controlled. I.e. in our social media posts we use an additional font for marker pen notes to add variety and a hand crafted approach, but it is the same font each time.
- Brand assets
Your brand should consist of a set of styles including your images and patterns, if you take a look at our brand style it relies a lot on illustrations to capture the essence of what we are talking about, illustration is great for this as you don’t need great individual photos to represent your idea, however its is extremely important that they all tie together in a visual style, your brand guidelines should show this.
- logo types
If you only have one logo design for use across all of your media you have been short changed, your brand guidelines should show your logo in different colours for use against different backgrounds but also show how the logo should be changed depending on size and orientation, e.g. just as an icon, or as a left aligned logo or central logo etc. All should feel like the same logo but show how it is optimised for differing conditions.
There are countless many extras that can be included in brand guidelines but for a business that has none, these will keep everyone on the same page.