Insights / Branding
Branding is one of the most critical aspects of any business, yet often small business owners overlook its importance and end up with branding that lacks clarity, consistency and impact. To create a strong brand, one couldn’t ignore the Brand Guideline that unified all the branding elements and efforts in building a brand.
In this article, we will dive into the definition of a Brand Guideline and why you need one for a successful brand.
What is a Brand Guideline?
A Brand Guideline, also known as a Style Guide or Rule Book, is a set of standard rules, tools and guides that help inform the marketing department or employees on the brand elements’ usage. Designers, writers and marketers can use it to create coherent branding and marketing collaterals.
It is an essential branding and marketing document that communicates the brand identity, personality and purpose to the employees to better comprehend and present the brand image in an appropriate way. Likewise, it also helps guide them in building employers’ branding. While a comprehensive Brand Guideline commonly outlines crucial branding information from Mission Statement to Brand Essence Wheel, sometimes a simple one only includes a Visual and Verbal Guide. A typical Visual & Verbal Guide contains the logo and its usage, colour palette, typography or font, imagery, brand tone and voice.
For every brand, the logo is undeniable the most crucial element. It is the main element that fosters brand recognition and familiarity for the consumers. Therefore, your Logo Guideline should comprehensively cover the colour variations, format, usage and more.
- Colour Variation: This should include the original full colour, black & white version as well as the usage.
- Logo Formats: This could mean the logomark, logotype and icon. Or it could also refer to the digital and print versions of the logo.
- Logo Usage: Referring to the guidelines on using the company logo on different kinds of backgrounds (plain or patterned) and media platforms (social media or website).
- Logo Localization: This refers to how to localize your logo for a different market which may include the languages and alignments.
- Dos / Don’ts: The specific rules of using the logo such as instructions on the minimum or maximum size and the alignment of the logo. Remember to include things to avoid to ensure the brand’s image and equity.
ii. Colour Palette
This is especially important for designers. Be sure to include primary, secondary and grayscale colour palettes as well as the colour codes like CMYK, HEX, and RGB.
iii. Typography / Font
This includes the typefaces or font family of the brand for internal and external communications. You should include the type of font used on headlines & body copies as well as the copy formatting preferences of the brand’s digital media.
This includes the branding guidelines on the usage of imageries such as illustrations, pictures, graphic designs, elements and icons. Depending on the services or products provided by your company, you could categorize the images into various categories. For instance, CUBEevo categorizes its icons in terms of the services they provide.
v. Brand Tone & Voice
In this section, brand owners like you should explain the brand personality and voice to your employees. This includes the tone and manner of the brand such as fun & quirky or formal & sincere.
Why is a Brand Guideline important?
1. To Ensure Brand Consistency
One of the main reason consumers could recognize a brand is because of brand consistency. Without having to limit creativity, Brand Guideline is there to provide suitable and particular rules to ensure that the brand is coherent across various platforms such as social media, websites or packaging.
Moreover, consistency also holds the power to cultivate brand recognition and a strong brand identity for the consumers. Take Nike for an example, the Swoosh has become so iconic that the logo word ‘Nike’ isn’t necessary for recognition. The Swoosh is a versatile branding icon that presents a great example of brand consistency as it is used widely across all Nike’s products, digital platforms as well as marketing collaterals. With a strong brand identity, Nike is also able to avoid confusion with its industry peers.
2. To Maintain a Professional Image
Your brand is the first touchpoint between your customers and company. Whether you want to present your brand as fun & friendly or serious & authority, having a complete Brand Guideline is able to help maintain a professional image to your audience. This is because a Brand Guideline is able to guide your employees and designers on the appropriate ways to represent your brand.
Let’s be honest. Having mismatched brand taglines, logos or brand voice across all the platforms not only looks bad but also causes consumers to get confused and hesitant to use your products or services. Brand confusion creates frustrations and bad perceptions toward consumers. In turn, they might opt for other brands that they are more familiar with instead.
3. To Aid Your Employees
Not only that, but your employees would also love you if you have an extensive Brand Guideline. As a tool, it could help direct your design and marketing effort in the right direction without having to go over a trial and error way.
When you have a Brand Guideline in hand, your team will be able to quickly narrow down all the ideas and concepts to produce adequate solution. The workflow will be more efficient and productive as you will be able to save time on the brainstorming and decision-making process.
In fact, it could also take the burden off your Branding or Marketing manager’s shoulders. Your newly recruit interns or executives would be able to refer to the guideline instead of constantly relying on their managers. Having an accessible guideline is also convenient when you outsource your branding and marketing projects because your partner agencies or freelancers will always be using your brand elements in the appropriate way and create a consistent experience for your customers.
In conclusion, having a detailed Brand Guideline could largely benefit your brand. Now that you have learned the importance of having one, it is important to find a suitable and professional branding agency to help create a comprehensive and complete Brand Guideline for you and your team.