When creating content or materials for a company, some things are important. Things like consistency in the themes of the content being created and a peculiar set of styling are important as they signify a sense of direction with the branding plans. But, for that to happen, the said company has to have a set of branding guidelines to govern how they want to be perceived by their customers, both existing and prospective. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know what Branding Guidelines are.
Here we would discuss how Branding Guidelines can be created and how important they are.
What are Brand Guidelines?
Brand Guideline is the detailing of a brand’s identity, put out in a format that enables it to be used for content creation and also to utilize the company’s branding elements. This means these set of rules or guidelines direct how every logo, write-up, or advertisement about that company or brand should be.
Brand guidelines ensure that every physical representation of the company being made in the branding process would always maintain or make an impression that the company wants its customers to have about them.
Importance of Branding Guidelines
As a brand owner, you take your branding and brand guidelines seriously.
Consistent use of the branding guidelines creates a recurring theme in all your visual representations. It ensures that your brand’s elements always look professional and recognizable whenever they are seen. While uniformity looks like it limits the range of creativity, in reality, it doesn’t. It serves as a starting point for any sort of content creation.
The more these guidelines are applied in every form of communication with the customers or investors or media houses, you create a stronger impression on them with your branding elements. A relationship is being built between your brand and these external entities and that perception is maintained.
3) Understanding of the Brand:
Beyond the visual parts of branding, branding guidelines help even the company’s new employees get an understanding of what the company is about. This can even reflect in the way that employee treats customers. Ultimately, not just the customers should have a clear understanding of what the brand is about.
The uniformity created by Branding Guidelines creates a sense of professionalism and reliability. Lack of uniformity can be seen as a sign of unseriousness and also a lack of vision or good management. On the other hand, having it increases your company’s perceived value
What Should Be Included in the Brand’s Guidelines
When making brand guidelines, some elements are must-haves. They are highlighted below:
1) Logos and Typography
These two are going to be the most seen form of the brand’s visual element. Without them, the brand could easily lack identity.
These two will be seen on billboards, cover letters, packages and so many other situations that will lead to them been seen by a lot of casual viewers. You might want to make them look as flashy as possible, while also making them look as professional as well.
2) Core Values
Core values are pivotal business practices that can be sold to the public to help them identify with the brand. They sometimes define the attitude of most of the employees while being one of the reasons the customers. An example would be the nice, interactive drivers that the company Lyft has. To wrap up, they are the principles on which your company is built.
This is a statement that defines what the company is looking to achieve. While core values are almost always seen by the public, the mission statement is more of internal motivation. They also define the attitude of the employees sometimes; they act as more of motivation or a driving force for employees.
4) Colour Pallets
From the logo, a colour pallet is established. These are a set of colours that will consistently be associated with any form of media that comes without the logo. An example is how MTN is associated with yellow, or Globacom with green. These said colours for these companies can be found in almost everything they do, from their recharge cards to their Sim colours and even their adverts are with the said colour palette
Other optional things;
Imagery like Nike uses.
Voice and tone like the favourite TV shows “Who wants to be a millionaire” or “Big Brother”
These other ones depend on what the company wants, but the others are very important
How to Develop the Ultimate Branding Guidelines
1) Completely define your brand strategy
This entails you having a detailed plan on every element and also working with a goal in mind. This enables the smooth transition from one point of the branding process to another.
2) Scrutinize your current brand identity
If you’re not creating a new set of guidelines from scratch or you already have an existing set of guidelines, you would need to take a good look at the one you already have. The major reason is to ensure that the existing guidelines and the new ones you’re about to create won’t contradict each other.
3) Know your Target Audience
To be appealing to your particular audience, you need to know what they want. You have to have a deep understanding of that set of people and have knowledge of their wants, needs, and even preferences.
A brand that is supposed to appeal to young adults should have done proper research on what is appealing to them.
4) Identify your competitors
When a company is building a brand, its main aim is to ensure they are different and they stand out from the others, especially their competitors. Attention needs to be paid to how your competitors present themselves, from their choice of visual elements to their mission statement. It is not uncommon to find companies in competition using similar themes. It would be best to avoid situations like this at all costs.
5) Design Individual Elements
The next stage is the creation of all the elements. From logos to images, typography, and every other component. The creation of the logo and typography usually affects the choice of the colour palette. For the visual elements, even after designing them, you’d need to combine them with a set design system to still keep that consistent and peculiar theme.
6) Build your Brand Guidelines
Now that you have the physical element, data for your target audience, and information on your competitors, you can then create a set of brand guidelines that utilize all the said elements.
These guidelines would include how these elements would be used, and for each creation process, these guidelines would lead the way.
This would provide a system that even when the branding is to be moved in a different direction, these guidelines would just be tweaked a little but they would still be important in the new path for the brand.
Examples of Branding Guidelines
The streaming company’s branding style might look simple, but they have their set of guidelines as well. Their colour palette consists of three-colour codes, while the rest of the branding teams are left with coming up with variations for the logo. You can read more using this link Spotify.
Another example, but with some differences. Cisco believes in the interaction with their website visitors. They take you through the brand’s mission, strategy and when it gets to its logo, it allows visitors to type using their very own typeface called CiscoSans. As for their colour pallets, they have a different website that explains those carefully, a clear display of how much they put into both their branding process. You can read more on their brand guidelines here.
They emphasize typography and colour in their brand guidelines while highlighting their purpose and product principles in some other places. To see more on their Brand Guidelines, you can check their website Medium.
Branding Guideline Templates
Here are links to various brand templates that will help in your brand guideline journey
Ultimately, with brand guidelines it is best to be concise to avoid confusion and also be flexible enough to make changes when needed. Don’t be afraid to take tips from top brands to make your own style, but don’t forget to make sure your style is unique to you.