What makes a good Brand Guide?
A Brand Guide should begin with an introduction explaining the goals of the document. The introduction should also help the reader understand why it’s important to adhere to the standards.
All of your employees should know and understand your mission statement. This document is the perfect opportunity to relate the mission statement with the other standards of the company. Why you do things - relates to how you do them. From a tagline to a more in-depth look, different versions are important for the employees to know. Your mission statement is the heart and mind of your organization – so make sure they’re clear to all employees.
It’s said that 38% of communication is tone-of-voice, speed, volume, etc. Especially when we are communicating via website, social media, and print materials, it’s vital that the overall tone of everything coming from a business is uniform. If subtle, dry, sarcastic humor, or simple, professional language is part of the company culture, it should be expressed and explained so that the entire staff understands what is acceptable or expected. The voice of your company should be as clear as your mission.
If your logo was created by a professional, then there was a lot of thought and effort put into every aspect of it. Don’t let that effort go to waste! A section on logo guidelines should have a range from basic to technical information. Acceptable colors and their various codes should be listed as well as the allowed color combinations. Other information such as how the logo should be displayed on a dark or light background, how much space to allow around the logo, and other do’s and don’ts are important as well.
Some companies have standardized colors other than the colors in the logo. Usually there are a couple primary, secondary, and possibly even tertiary colors. In order to stay consistent, the PMS, CMYK, RGB, and Hex codes should be listed just like it was done for the logo’s colors. Go a step further and explain what these colors “mean” to your company, why they were chosen, and how they should be used in order to make them most effective.
Here’s your chance to list them all! It’s a good thing for your employees to know when they need the little “™”. The logos, taglines, products, or anything else that may be trademarked should be listed and their uses explained.
All black and white? Only photos with people? How are the people dressed? When are images acceptable and where shouldn’t they be used? Now is the time to answer these questions and more. If there are specific settings that need to be used while editing images, the process can also be listed. All of this is in an attempt to keep a consistent look across a whole organization’s brand.
List all of the approved fonts, their sizes, weights, and styles that should be used, and where each of these options should be utilized in marketing materials. Capitalization, italics, and punctuation deserve explanation as well. Depending on the size of this section, there might be cause for a subsection that covers the finite grammatical standards such as the use of serial commas, how to display dates/times, and bullet point type.
There are many other things that could go into a Brand Guide, however, above are the basics to help you pull together your brand and consistently represent your organization online and in-person. With a little bit of effort, you can ensure your brand is represented well both externally to current and future customers and internally to successfully onboard new employees and create a solid culture. Stay tuned for a future blog that dives into other, more specialized Brand Guide suggestions!
Written By: Brad Kercheval, Project Coordinator & Designer, Fetch Multimedia