What are Brand Guidelines?
Every organization or product creates an impression in the mind of the audiences it interacts with. This impression is your brand. What do your clients say about you? How do they describe your service? By designing the uniformity in the look and feel of your brand’s communications, you encourage alignment of your audience’s perspectives with your own mission, vision, values, and perspectives. In other words, your brand helps your audience understand you.
When I work with clients designing their brand, the end result is a set of brand guidelines. These guidelines are defined by a specific set of colors, fonts, logo styles, core values, images and general design styles. Rather than limit creativity, this specificity should encourage your innovation.
What should be included in your brand guidelines?
The core values of your brand are less about what you offer and more about your brand as a whole. These values should guide your overall brand message and help you in decision making. When your brand has a clear set of core values you have a sense of purpose with your message and product you sell.
Your dream client is that one customer that you just “click” with. They are the kind of customer that values your expertise and creative opinion while also providing feed back that helps your working relationship move forward. They have the budget to be able to afford your product and they understand the investment they are making will help them solve the problem they are coming to you for help with.
Brand Position Statement
Your Brand Positioning Statement is what sets your brand apart from your competitors by stating how you uniquely solve your dream customers problem. It can be used internally and your customer never sees it or it can be front and center on your website. Either way, it should guide your decision making when working in your business and promoting your brand.
Logo Styles and Variations
You should not limit your logo to one variation. Your brand design should include a horizontal, vertical and circular option as well as logo sub marks. Sub marks are an additional graphic element that can be used throughout your brand promotion when needed.
Typography plays an important role in your brand. With each brand design I create there are typically 2-3 font families that can be used for headlines, body copy and decorative styles. Using the same typography throughout your website, blog and promotional materials is important for for consistency.
Your color palette should be made up of 4-5 colors, it needs to reflect your brand values and mood see how to pick your brand colors here. The guidelines should list the color values for print (CMYK or Pantone) and web (RGB or Hex).
Other Things to include
Depending on how in depth your guidelines go you can also include;
Business collateral templates (business cards, letterheads)
Social media guidelines
Blog header templates