What’s a Brand Guidelines Document?

by Lee Barguss
25 January, 2022

When it comes to building a successful brand, consistency is key. Some of the world’s most successful companies are very recognisable, and they happen to be more than just a logo.

Behind the scenes of any successful company are extensive brand guidelines that describe everything to do with a company’s communication; including how their logo is portrayed, what fonts to use, how colours are applied and matched, and even the style that they write in.

So, what exactly are brand guidelines?

Also known as a brand style guide or brand book. Essentially an instruction manual for how to communicate your brand. It’s a way of making sure that the brand is shown consistently in all forms of communication, whether it’s on social media or on sales decks, across billboards or on the television.

They usually include:

  • Introduction: Company mission statement and your story
  • Logos: Full logos, secondary logos, icons, and how they’re used
  • Colour palette: Primary and secondary colours, web and print
  • Typography: Font styles, sizes, and spacing
  • Other imagery: Photos, illustrations, and artwork
  • Collateral: Print and digital design application
  • Tone of voice: How the brand uses language and emotion

However, there is no strict formula for what’s in your company’s brand guidelines, as long as it’s comprehensive enough to cover all the communication you’re actively creating for your brand.

What’s the purpose of a brand guidelines document?

When you conform to brand guidelines, it ensures you’re promoting a unique and recognisable brand, creating quality and professionalism. You need to stand out from competitors and make sure you’re memorable and familiar to your audience and customers. This process begins the process of creating brand loyalty.

A comprehensive brand guidelines document means that when you’re working with your internal or external communications teams, they’ll be sure to know how exactly to promote your brand’s image clearly and effectively.

Examples of brand guidelines

Here are some of our favourite brand guidelines to start getting your creativity flowing:

Tips for building your own brand guidelines

Brand your brand guidelines

Your brand guidelines document is a showcase for your company’s identity, and what better way to present how your communication needs to work than by communicating it through the document itself.

Do include dos and don’ts

To be sure that you’re getting the best communication out of your brand as possible, be sure to include some dos and don’ts in your guidelines – you don’t want your dark logo variation overlaid onto dark images because your audience won’t be able to read it properly.

Get specific

Just so there’s no way that your teams are able to make any mistakes in their communications, be sure to outline specific rules and regulations. Anything can be included, from how much clearspace to use around the logo as a buffer between other content, to which fonts to use in different types of communications (emails, letters, posters, website, etc.).

Update your guidelines regularly

Although brand guidelines are a great way to centre and keep your company’s communication aligned, industries themselves develop and evolve, meaning how you communicate will need to update as time goes on. Keep your document as an initial reference, but if parts of it don’t apply anymore, don’t be scared to update and add to it.

Not sure where to start?

Get in touch and we can help you construct your own brand guidelines.