It’s true: first impressions are everything. And no one (and I mean NO ONE) actually lives by the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Whether you are working on your own personal image, writing the next New York Times bestseller, or crafting the public perception of your business, the same rules hold true:
- Be consistent,
- Keep it clean,
- And pay attention to detail!
That’s why every business (and I mean EVERY business) should have a set of brand guidelines they follow by the book, so that no matter who is producing content, creating graphics, and promoting your business, they all convey your brand in the same way instead of leaving a wake of confused individuals in their path.
A Basic Brand Guidelines Document Should Include:
- Color logo options (in all necessary formats)
- Black and white logo options (in all necessary formats)
- Proper logo use
- Branded colors
- Branded imagery / textures
- Branded fonts
- Font usage
- Icon / illustration style
But if you are feeling really fancy, consider adding these additional pieces:
- Application icon / logo
- Social media branding
- Swag material mock-ups
- Merchandise packaging examples (if applicable)
- Branded voice outline
- Mottos / taglines
How Should Your Business Use Brand Guidelines?
Brand guidelines should be used as a tool and taken full advantage of. They are not something to be created and then tucked away in a dusty drawer like that awful hand-knitted sweater your Great Aunt Mable made you, never to be seen again.
These guidelines are to be viewed as a rule, not a suggestion, so make sure they are readily available to your entire team, both internal and external. This includes contract designers, ad agencies, marketing agencies, etc.
By requiring everyone to follow the same brand guidelines document, you guarantee visual consistency across all of your platforms so that no matter where an individual comes in contact with your business for the first time, they will get the same visual first impression as everyone else!
Should You Ever Update Your Brand Guidelines Document?
Of course! Just like everything else in your business your brand guidelines should be re-evaluated and updated as needed. They will evolve over time, but these updates should be gradual and affect only pieces of the brand.
Consider these changes to your brand guidelines document as sensitive business decisions that should only be made after thoroughly considering your options, evaluating the impact it will have on your customers and potential customers. Only make changes if you have a good reason ton; in other words, don’t just do it because you are bored.
One of the best ways to ensure your brand is clear and consistent is through StoryBrand. Find out how StoryBrand helped transform our business by downloading our FREE case study.