When you have clear, well-developed brand guidelines for your business, you have the foundations of a consistent brand. Creating a guidelines document can be a challenge, but with some thought and planning, you can make sure you have all bases covered.
On this page, we’ll look at what brand guidelines are and why you need them. We’ll also look at how March can help you create a guidelines document that works for everyone.
A brand guidelines document (which you may also hear called a brand guidelines template, brand standards, brand book or style guide) contains the rules for the design and composition for all your brand’s collateral. It exists to ensure the consistency, continuity and correct usage of brand artefacts across all channels.
Your guidelines allow you to create an emotional bond between your brand and your audience, using regularity, familiarity and repetition.
Brand guidelines will typically include core items, such as:
Your brand guidelines contain all the technicalities related to your brand identity. Once you have formulated your brand identity, it’s your brand book that brings it to life. Your brand standards will govern the look of your website, marketing materials, retail premises, staff uniforms and anything else that portrays your business.
Case Study: Brand Guidelines for Stem Cell Fairy.
The most successful companies in the world have long and exhaustive brand guidelines. Their brand is the most valuable part of their business, more important than what they actually sell, so it’s worth protecting.
As mentioned before, brand guidelines are your way to enforce your brand identity. Whether your brand is professional or playful, whether you’re targeting CEOs or 5-year old girls, your brand rules crystallise how you will create that effect. For example, if you have decided your brand identity will be serious and professional, your guidelines document may set out a colour palette of dark blues and silvers, rather than bright pink.
The goal of branding is to create brand recognition, so your audience knows your brand when they see it. Moreover, you want them to have your brand in their minds, even when they’re not interacting with you. Your brand guidelines set out all the rules regarding the consistency of your brand, which is essential when aiming for brand recognition. If you saw a McDonald’s logo, but the yellow was slightly lighter than usual, you would probably notice. Guidelines are there to ensure that doesn’t happen.
As your business grows, your brand guidelines become even more invaluable. They show your employees how to use your brand in the right way. It makes the essence of your brand accessible to everyone in your company, creating accountability around how it is used.
Creating brand guidelines is a technical process that can be time-consuming. You need a deep understanding of your business and your audience, as well as some specialist knowledge around graphic design, typography and principles of branding.
Here are five things you must think about as you design your brand document:
If you need some expert help, talk to March.
As your brand agency, we’ll help you build a brand guidelines template that creates the consistency you need to build brand recognition and always show your brand in its best light.
We work with you to define a set of rules for your brand identity which anyone can follow as they produce collateral for your channels: from your website to your email marketing, through social media to posters, event banners and POS materials. Your guidelines document then provides a reference point for internal and external creative activity.
We take the time to get to know you and your business, your customers and future goals. By doing this, we formulate the rules that will get your brand wherever you want it to go.
Brand guidelines aren’t just for Apple and McDonalds. Any business should have a clearly-defined set of rules about how their brand should be used. That way, they can convey a consistent, positive message to their audience.
In today’s marketplace, where your audience does its own research, having a recognisable brand has never been more critical. Don’t leave the details of your brand to chance. Set out your brand guidelines as soon as possible.
To say we're impressed by March's work is an understatement. We've worked with them on everything from branding to back-end web solutions and they never fail to deliver a quality product. They're a pleasure to work with and when they say they will do something, it actually gets done! 10/10.Darcy Carson-Keane