Why a brand guideline is a good idea
A brand style guide for your business ensures cohesion across all marketing materials you release when you advertise your business. To grow you business, not only do you need to stand out compared to others within your industry, but you must also be instantly recognizable so that potential customers can find you. A good ad, whether online or in print, can easily be traced back to your company through a combination of your logo, your typeface, and your color palette.
This multiple part series will help you develop a brand guideline for your business from start to finish. This first post serves as an introduction to the brand style guide and the main components and sections every document requires. We’ll be covering each section in-depth with ideas and examples to help you format your own brand guideline. Remember, your brand identity is the way you present your business and your services/products to the public. A clear and descriptive brand guideline for your business will help you develop and create marketing materials that accurately capture your brand identity.
The components of a good brand guideline are:
Your Philosophy and Mission Statement
The first part of your brand guideline needs to include who you are as a company and the reason for your existence. What are your ideals, your values, and what drives your business forward? Your products and services may be the best in the industry, but if your customers don’t resonate with your mission statement, then they won’t stick around for too long. A clear mission statement and description of your business helps set up the rest of the brand guideline.
Don’t judge a book by its cover? Sound advice, sure, but we do it anyways. The same goes for your business logo. Your logo is the face of your company – a bad or unprofessional logo will push potential customers away. Do you feel as though your logo accurately represents who you are?
An effective logo is attractive, easily discernible, and instantly recognizable. When including your logo in your brand guideline, be sure to specify how to properly use your logo without hurting your brand identity.
Typeface and Font
Let’s clear up some misconceptions first. Arial and Helvetica are not fonts, they are a typeface. Fonts have become synonymous with typeface in recent years, but you must make the distinction in your brand guideline.
Typeface is the design and look of a given character set, e.g. Comic Sans and Times New Roman. Font refers to the style of the character set, such as the weight and size of the characters. In your brand guideline, be sure to include the typeface you wish to use across all platforms as well as the different fonts and when to use each one. A backup font is also a great idea in case your preferred font is unavailable or doesn’t display well on certain systems.
When creating marketing materials for your business, don’t just pick random colors that you think look good together. Take some time to read up on color theory and play around with different hues and saturation levels.
A brand guideline needs to include your color palette, along with the different values for each color. While you can get away with just including the hex values for each color, it is recommended you include the PMS, RGB, and CMYK values as well. This is important because certain colors appear differently on a computer screen when compared to a printed pamphlet or t-shirt. A good color palette both compliments your logo and is visually appealing.
The above components are a great starting point for the development of your brand guideline. Other elements you can add to your brand guideline include tone and voice, photography, icon usage, and the visual layout of your content.
A well constructed brand guideline will help you grow your business more easily. It enables new employees to get a feel for your business and how to interact with customers on behalf of your company. If outsourcing design work to a marketing and design company, a clear brand guideline facilitates the process of creating new content for your business. If you have any questions or you need help building your own brand guideline, you can send us a message or give us a call by visiting our Contact Us page! We also have other services to meet your small business needs.