Companies share their logos for marketing purposes all the time in hopes of getting more people to recognize and associate with their brand. To create brand love, there has to be consistency among marketing materials so a brand can be recognized easily. Brand guidelines are meant to be representative of the core values of a brand while helping create brand consistency among media. These guidelines provide directions for the use of certain marketing materials so that brand credibility is not compromised. There are many items that can be included in a brand guide, but some specifics are essential. 

Phone with an image about branding sitting on a notebook.

Creative Brainstorming

Before creating a brand guide, a company needs to establish who its audience is so it can tailor its marketing materials. This is an important step in the creative process. Colors, typography, and even logo designs might change depending on the target audience. Brand guides need to follow the company’s current design system to create a consistent feel for consumers to connect with. For instance, if a company has a younger audience it might use brighter colors and playful fonts. More classic fonts and traditional colors might be used if the brand was looking to connect with older generations. The colors used in the brand guide should then match what the company is currently using in its logo and website. 

Including important pieces of information in their guide are mission statements or values as a brand. This gives the reader a basic understanding of who the brand is— allowing audiences to make decisions and uncover more about a brand with the use of marketing materials that reflect the brand’s core values. These values showcase what the brand stands for and what is important to them as a company. This information can provide customers with a sense of how the brand should make them feel. Both employees and consumers should have a sense of the company’s voice and what is important to them through their branding.

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Logo Usage

One item that is necessary to include in a brand guide is directions for how to use the logo. This section should include an image of the brand’s logo so users are able to view the intended look. This section should state the appropriate uses of the logo. For instance, many brands do not want their logos tampered with and will include statements such as, “the logo should not be flipped or adjusted in any way.” This prevents any changes that would make it illegible, that would inaccurately represent a brand. The guide should also state whether the wordmark or the logomark is the preferred design to be used in marketing materials. 

Oftentimes, logos need to be resized in order to fit certain guidelines. While this is allowed, it is imperative that the logo remain large enough that it is still easy to read as accessibility is of the utmost importance. Oftentimes, many companies utilize an inverted logo, for example, an all-white logo for a darker background, and that information should be included as well to ensure a brand is visually represented accurately.

A lot of time, effort, and money are spent creating a logo. In an effort to not let this go to waste, providing others with an understanding of why certain creative choices were made is helpful. Providing a description of the logo allows people to understand why the rules put in place through the brand guide promote accurate brand consistency and recognizability. 

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Other Creative Elements

Color is another element that should be included in the brand guidelines and fits well with discussions of the logo. The color palette of a brand is a key factor to promote recognition against competitors. The primary colors for the brand should be stated clearly. These are the main colors of the logo or graphics and should be used most often as they are tightly associated with a brand. Secondary colors should be stated as well—which include colors that are used sparingly but may still be part of the logo or other marketing materials. 

Typography should be addressed in the brand guide as well. This is typically the font that is used in the logo as part of the wordmark. There is always a primary typography which is used most often in headings and larger text. Sometimes, a secondary typography will be introduced which will be used more infrequently. This page should state the versions of the font that can be used, for example, light, bold, regular, etc. 

Inspiration is Everywhere

Most companies have brand guidelines and they are often available for others to view. For instance, Spotify, Netflix, and Starbucks all have brand guides that can be found online and are available to the public. Viewing these examples is a great way to understand what should be a part of a brand guide and what should not. While you don’t want to take ideas directly from brands you love, it is a great way to get inspired and find elements that interest you that best describe your own brand in its unique way. 

Viewing companies that are similar to your own can help you understand what elements are important for a brand guide in your industry. These guides are often included in media kits for journalists and other marketing professionals to use. Working with a digital agency to help create a brand story can be helpful. These agencies provide an outsider perspective and understand the market very well. 

Starbucks drink holder with Starbucks logo

The Importance of Branding

While a brand guide might not seem all that important, it can really help establish credibility for a company. Brand guides ensure consistency among marketing materials and allow consumers to recognize and form a relationship with a brand. Designing a brand guide with creativity and clarity is imperative for continuing brand success and awareness.