The 7 essentials to include in your brand guidelines

Brand Guidelines (also commonly referred to as “brand standards”, “style guide” or “brand book”) are essentially a set of rules that explain how your brand works. These guidelines typically include basic information such as:

  1. An overview of your brand’s history, vision, personality and key values.
  2. Brand message or mission statement – including examples of ‘tone of voice’.
  3. Logo usage – where and how to use your logo including minimum sizes, spacing and what not to do with it.
  4. Colour palette – showing your primary and secondary colour palettes with colour breakdowns for print, screen and web.
  5. Type style – showing the specific font that you use and details of the font family and default fonts for web use.
  6. Image style/photography – examples of image style and photographs that work with the brand.
  7. Business card and letterhead design – examples of how the logo and font are used for standard company literature.

If you’re just starting out and you only require a few key marketing tools at this point, focusing on the above areas may be enough. However, to make sure all your bases are covered, you may choose to go with a more detailed Brand Book that also includes:

- Design layouts and grids
- Social media profile page applications
- Brochure/flyer layout options
- Website layout
- Signage specifications
- Advertising treatments
- Merchandising applications
- Copywriting style (a.k.a. “tone of voice”)
- Editorial guidelines

Brand guidelines should be flexible enough for designers to be creative, but rigid enough to keep your brand easily recognizable. Consistency is key, especially if you need the brand to extend across multiple media platforms.

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