Why You Need a Brand Guide
You are so much more than your pretty face. You have thoughts and feelings that create some of the things you would and definitely would not do; decide on the clothes you’ll wear, witty quips you’ll contribute; how you’ll act at home, work, and a party. Most of these decisions are subconscious—you like what you like, and you act accordingly. Sometimes you’re put in a weird situation at a restaurant or a party and you run through the rolodex of how-the-eff-to-handle-this, and (hopefully) stay true to yourself.
Listen, guys: we know your brand has a pretty face, too—and we guarantee that while its thoughts and feelings might be hard to decipher; it has a message to communicate to the world. Enter: your brand guide—the way the world knows your brand is more than just a pretty face.
A brand guide is a set of guidelines to create an identity from the many elements of your brand, like the colors, typography, and of course, your logo. It helps designers (and the rest of your team) by creating consistency and recognizability. This way your client-facing team can send a clear message of who and what your brand is.
WHAT A BRAND GUIDE WILL DO FOR YOU
The brand guide communicates your company’s expected design standards to any group, be it your design team, an outside design team, or your mom. It makes designers’ lives easier by making it clear what they can and shouldn’t do, ensuring that your message is relevant to brand goals. It distinguishes you from your competitors, and develops a consistent brand voice—visually and conceptually—to create awareness, consistency, and therefore: trust.
WHAT’S IN IT
A brand guide mainly consists of your logo iterations, brand colors, and typefaces. In regards to your logo, the brand guide talks about appropriate size usage, logo size in relation to other assets (like how far away other elements should be), as well as logo treatments that should be avoided (like drop-shadow treatment, warping, or inappropriate color usage). The brand guide will demonstrate brand typefaces and when to use what where; like titles vs. sub-headers vs. body copy. In some cases, your brand guide might include web styles, so web developers know what you want your buttons and forms to look like, for example, or it might include writing samples, powerpoint templates, or a list of words to avoid. Truly the possibilities are almost endless—I mean, it is your brand’s soul we’re talking about.
By creating consistency in how your brand is portrayed, your audience gets to meet the same brand over and over, and not just a clutter of personalities. From this consistency comes recognition, and trust follows shortly after, and then the brand guide’s job is done—until next time. So go on and let your brand show the world its pretty face and its awesome personality.