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Why You Need A Brand Guide For Your Business

Why You Need A Brand Guide For Your Business

(A.K.A How To Make Your Life Easier).

What is a brand guide?


It’s simply a document that describes and defines what and how your brand’s visual communications should be used and applied on print, online and broadcast mediums. A brand guide should be the primary and unifying source of such information.

Why should I create a brand guide?

Without a brand guide, you’ll probably experience incorrect and inconsistent versions of your logo being used, or a lack of clarity of what fonts, colours or tone of voice to use. This results in mixed marketing and advertising messages to your audience and may undermine your professionalism. You really don’t want your brand to be diluted in any way. Having a brand guide will keep everything on point and consistent.

A brand guide also helps you to be efficient in on-boarding a new team member, strategic partner or a supplier/vendor. By providing them with a brand guide, you won’t need to keep explaining or briefing them again and again. This helps you to get projects and tasks done quickly.

Get the brand guide done once and done right to make your day-to-day work life easier.

What should go into a brand guide?

It doesn’t need to be complicated. As a rule of thumb, these are the must-haves:

Why You Need A Brand Guide For Your Business


1. Your official logo and the dos and do-nots of using it

You should include black & white versions of your logo, how to use it with or without your tagline or even a horizontal or stacked version of it. You may also want to set a minimum size that is allowed to keep your logo legible. Other examples would be how to use your logo on a background image or colour.

Why You Need A Brand Guide For Your Business

 

2. Colour palettes

This blue is not that blue. Colours come in a mind-boggling range of hues and are identified by colour codes like Pantone, CMYK, RGB or hex codes, depending on the usage and application. For example, Pantone and CMYK are used for print. Don’t play guess the colour – you should know the exact colour palette that has been defined for your brand, and define their colour codes clearly.

 

Why You Need A Brand Guide For Your Business

3. Typography

Fonts to use on your collaterals should not be picked on a whim. Have a official primary and secondary font, and even a font for web use. This will eliminate the need to select fonts when putting your collaterals together, and help you avoid ending up with something that looks like 10 different people put together.

Why You Need A Brand Guide For Your Business

 

4. Visual styles and treatment

What kind of imagery should be used? Should a graphic style be applied to it, e.g. a washed out look? What should custom photography look like? This extends to other visual elements such as icons. Place a few examples in your guide to help you stay on track.

 

Visual styles and treatment What kind of imagery should be used? Should a graphic style be applied to it, e.g. a washed out look? What should custom photography look like? This extends to other visual elements such as icons. Place a few examples in your guide to help you stay on track.

 

5. Tone of voice

Every business has a personality. Are you informal and friendly, or a little more serious and formal? Describing the type of language that should be used will help to create a persona for your business. You should also have some paragraphs of copy as an example.

A brand guide is a living thing

A brand guide may change as your business blossoms and grows. Needs may expand, or certain improvements need to be made. Whilst the guide is the North Star for your visual communications, it doesn’t mean it is set in concrete. The main point here is that strong and intentional decisions should be made and catalogued into the guide, so you don’t apply elements based on a whim.

Examples of brand guides

Brand guides come in different extents and could be delivered as a PDF or a webpage. It really depends on your needs.

Short and sweet: MailChimp1 and Slack2

In-depth: Skype3 and Facebook4

Brand guides we’ve brewed: Udders Ice Cream5, Exim Manufacturing6 and Synrgic7

(Disclaimer: All brand guide examples are copyright of the respective companies.)

Having trouble defining the styles and guidelines for your brand? Sometimes you’re too close to your own brand and need an outside perspective. We can help – just send us a love letter8!

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Vicki Lew

Vicki Lew Firestarter & Co-Founder of Brew Creative Pte Ltd. A self-taught web designer, Vicki first discovered her knack for design during the course of her film studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Eventually, she packed her bags and moved to Melbourne, Australia to pursue her BA in Multimedia Design at the National School of Design, Swinburne University of Technology. A chance meeting at a networking session saw Vicki working collaboratively with a graphic designer named Gobbs Lim. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one - in 2009, they decided to put all their left and right brains together and started a partnership called Brew Creative Pte Ltd. Vicki has handled projects for businesses of all sizes and industries, but her soft spot is working with start-ups and SMEs. She can often be found breaking out the cheerleading pom-poms to support and encourage her friends to follow their entrepreneurial dreams. In her spare time, Vicki enjoys exploring new cuisines, putting together a home-cooked meal, nerding out at the museum, getting crafty or sipping her favourite craft beers.

This article was originally published in Brew Creative’s blog and has been reposted on Connected Women with the permission of the author.
Image Credit: PexelsBrew Creative
References:
1.  MailChimp Brand Guide
2.  Slack Brand Guide
3.  Skype Brand Guide
4. Facebook Brand Guide
5. Udders Ice Cream Brand Guide
6
. Exim Manufacturing Brand Guide
7
. Synrgic Brand Guide
8
. Contact Brew Creative for help with your brand


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