Do you know the secret to effective brand imagery? Would you like to know how successful brands ensure brand retention and loyalty? Do you know what role guidelines for your brand play in growing your brand and business?
Visual brand guidelines, the tone of voice and brand messaging, are all instrumental in creating a brand that works. These are all vital components of your brand bible — guidelines for your brand will ensure consistency across all brand communications.
One Guide to Rule Them All
Have you ever wondered why giant corporations or even small yet successful startups seem to have mastered the art of communication?
The secret lies in well-thought-out brand guidelines. Your brand bible acts as a set of rules that you can refer to whenever you want to communicate your brand. It contains your brand’s unique DNA and will contribute to setting you apart from your competitors.
Brand guidelines not only contain visual pegs and instructions. It is also guidelines for your brand anything and everything that makes it distinct. It contains all the exact ingredients that when put together, create a brand that has its own character and personality.
Some companies make the mistake of ignoring the importance of guidelines for your brand. They would cite either the lack of time or resources as some reasons for skipping this very important tool.
However, when you think about the work hours you spend briefing every new artist, agency, or third-party supplier about every nuance of how your brand should look or feel like, then creating a brand guideline in the first place would have been a more cost-effective option.
When you do decide to build your own brand guidelines, it is also important to seek the expertise of brand specialists. There are brand agencies that specialize in helping companies come up with their own brand guidebook. They pour hours of comprehensive research and analysis of your brand and company to deliver a brand book that encapsulates the soul of your brand.
Whether you are a local grocer, an on-demand fuel delivery company, or a multinational pharmaceutical firm, having a working brand book will significantly contribute to the success of your branding efforts.
Here are some of the tips that you should keep in mind when creating your own brand guidelines:
1. Color palette
Colors play a vital role in branding. Some of the most well-loved brands are easily recognized just by their colors. Coca-cola, Starbucks, and Tiffany & Co. are some examples of brands that are readily associated with the colors red, green, and the trademarked iconic hue of 1837 Blue, more popularly known as Tiffany Blue.
While colors are not the end-all and be-all of creating successful brands, color theory is central to creating an emotional and psychological connection with your target audience. Red, for example, is a tricky color to use since it might connote anger or danger. However, used correctly, it can also excite your audience since it is scientifically proven to increase blood pressure and heart rate.
Name a primary color and stick to a palette. Consistently apply it in your communications. Be specific with your color mix, going to the extent of even officially registering a Pantone shade.
A brand guideline will also make it easier to communicate brand rules to third-party suppliers. Details on how to properly carry out or implement artwork, iconography, illustrations, and photography will ensure that everything is aligned with your brand vision and identity.
Include dos and don’ts on how, when, and where to use your brand imagery. Be specific on how these can be applied to various communication mediums, even down to the last millimeter.
Your brand logo is a crucial element in your branding efforts. Just look at how the Golden Arches are directly associated with McDonald’s or the interlocking C’s are readily identified as Chanel.
Your brand guidelines will provide a clear direction on how to properly use your logo. For example, some companies are very clear that their logos cannot be placed on high-contrast or printed backgrounds. The Volvo Ironmark, for example, must have a specific clear space around the logo and must never be tilted this way or that.
Other rules may include on what merchandise the logo can be used on, what versions may be used for a specific medium, or if there are black and white versions for certain applications.
Another element that you should include in your brand book would be the typography. It should identify which font or fonts are allowed and how they should be applied to brand communications. Other companies create their own unique typefaces to distinguish them from the rest.
Your brand guidelines should contain kerning, leading, and sizing of your specific fonts. This will also make it easier and faster to create brand-specific communication.
5. Voice and tone
One key aspect of your brand guidelines would be the brand tone and voice. It should have clear instructions on how the brand should be “heard” by its publics. This will greatly help you in getting your brand message across.
For example, you can take a cool and playful tone if your company is a children’s theme park. On the other hand, if you are a life insurance company, then you would be better off with a formal and more professional tone of voice.
One Book to Guide You
When you want to elevate your brand and distinguish it from the competition, then it should take the time and effort to create a brand guideline. This guide will help you or your brand partners properly execute your brand vision through key elements such as the color, imagery, logo, typography, or tone of voice.
Ideally, you should partner with a reputable brand agency that can help you research, analyze, and understand specific factors that will be fundamental in creating brand guidelines. With the help of brand experts, you can reach out to your customers in a way that is coherent, compelling, and consistent.