Think of your brand as the face of your company – it’s one of the most important assets that you have. Your brand communicates who you are, and what you do. While you might feel that branding is secondary to other facets of running a business, we want to remind you that without a clear brand, you might be spending way more time and money on marketing and advertising than necessary.
A necessary component to building a clear and reputable brand is to create a set of branding guidelines. You may have heard of brand guidelines referred to as a Style Guide, Brand Standards, Mood Board, or Brand Board. What these really are is a set of guidelines that represent the different, and precise elements of your brand.
Brand guidelines create consistency, and they become a tool for efficiency. Guidelines keep the company message and identity clear and concise for potential customers, outside vendors, internal design and marketing teams, and even for the rest of the employees within the company.
Creating Brand Guidelines
A few of the most common elements included in a company’s brand guidelines are:
Logo Design: A visual representation used to identify your company, products, and services. Some companies use a symbol or icon (like Apple or Nike), others use a text logo like FedEx. Many incorporate both. Either way, a logo should be a stand-out, memorable visual that helps to define your brand.
Typography: The different fonts and families used to represent your brand. Having a set of predetermined fonts removes the guessing game of what fonts to use in various marketing materials, on your website, or even when designing your logo. You want to use the same set of fonts across the board to keep all digital and print materials consistent.
Color Palette: A set of specific colors that make up your logo and other visuals used throughout your company, both digitally and printed. Your color palette should really tie into your overall brand and messaging. For example: If you were a company promoting products to help you sleep better, you would want to use a softer color palette to promote a sense of calm, as opposed to bright or neon colors. Color psychology is a fascinating field to study – ever wondered why so many of the fast food restaurants use a similar color palette? It’s no accident!
In addition to these main elements of a brand, you can also incorporate additional components into your brand guidelines:
• Graphic Elements
These additional branding elements should be used to help further organize and clarify your brand. You don’t want to overload on too many different visuals, but it can be really helpful to have a set of elements or textures that can be incorporated into the design and layout of your marketing materials, website design and even on your social media platforms.
Your Message Matters
Another essential component to a company’s brand is the overall messaging – the language, the phrases, the tagline. While this is not a tangible design element, the tone of your company matters just as much as the visual elements. If you have anyone writing copy for your business (i.e. website copy, advertisements, or printed materials), you want to make sure that your company’s tone is accurately and consistently conveyed. Because the truth is, even if you have clear and consistent design elements, a brand lacking a clear message and tone can feel just as disjointed as if there were no brand guidelines.
How Brand Guidelines Work FOR You
Now, let’s get to the point of why we go through this branding process to develop a set of guidelines – because it’s not just to make things look pretty. Having a clear set of branding guidelines is actually going to save your company an abundance of time and money in the long-term.
Think of it this way – say you need a brochure designed to hand out to local businesses. If you call up your trusted graphic designer to create that brochure for you and you already have the exact logo, typography, color palette, and graphic elements, the designer already has a powerful and precise outline to work with. You’re essentially removing the need to start from scratch and develop a new creative direction every time that your company is creating something new.
Think it’s time to create your company’s set of brand guidelines? We’re here to help! Give us a call today at 508-652-0012 or request a free quote online.