Not all brand guide are created equal, but they do all have a unified mission and that mission is to provide all the elements of a brand in one location as well as direction and examples of how to properly use them. Some guides may be as small as a single page and contain only the main information, like a the logo, colors and fonts, while others may be several pages long with much more detailed information. Either way, they are a handy-dandy tool to have for anyone who has their hands on any aspect of your business.
Brand guides provide an in-depth description of the appearance of your brand, from the way it looks to the way it sounds. The more information it provides, the better understanding of your brand one can acquire from it. Let’s take a closer look at the pages of one of Storm Cloud’s most recently created brand guides and talk page-by-page, about the information that each section provides and why it’s useful.
Ready. Set. Go.
This is the brand guide for WheelSpaces, an advertising platform that places ad space on local vehicles.
Behold the cover page: a doorway into the wonderful world of brand consistency.
Page 1 is a brief introduction to the company as a whole. It’s your first exposure to the company’s voice and tone.
Mission and Vision (or Tone and Voice) takes a deeper dive into the vibe of the company and provides a baseline for the company’s personality. Casual or corporate? Quirky or classy? This is where you find out. This is especially handy for anyone writing blogs or social content for this company.
This is a page outlining what topics are located where within the rest of the guide, aka a table of contents page.
Pages related to the topic of the logo are to follow. This section will define the main, full-color logo, as well as vertical or horizontal variations, color variations, and usage rules, and will help you to know when you should use which logo.
We’ve reached the meat! On this page, you’ll find the main brand logo with a brief description and some minimum sizing rules. This description may list the font with which the logo was created or some reasoning behind some specific design elements. The size rules help prevent the logo from being produced so small that it is unreadable.
Logo safe zone rules describe the amount of empty space that should surround the logo (any version of it) in order to maximize readability and ensure that it is visually identifiable.
Logo usage rules outline the acceptable versions of the logo. This may include colors, color combinations, vertical and horizontal variations, and/or positive and negative versions. This section may also outline unacceptable logo versions, such as arrangements, colors, and/or rotated and distorted logos.
Pages related to the topic of the car (or other logo mark) are to follow. The logo mark is often the image part of a logo without any text. Not all brands have a logo mark while some brands have a logo mark that is completely separate from the main logo.
This page outlines the usage rules specifically for the logo mark portion of the logo. In this instance, the logo mark is a circle with a negative-space car at a 45-degree angle. It may be used in the brand colors as demonstrated here.
The elements and cropping page describes and provides examples of ways that one may use the logo and/or pieces or variations of the logo and logo mark for design. This is essential for creating branded materials that are visually interesting as well as brand consistent.
Pages related to the topic of brand colors are to follow. Color is an incredibly important aspect of brand consistency. The human eye can distinguish about 10 million colors, so it’s important to define your colors appropriately.
The color palette not only shows brand colors but also provides their individual color codes. Depending upon your medium and/or printing method, specific codes are required to match a color. Common color codes are HEX, used to define colors on the web, RGB, used for screens and digital assets, and CMYK, used for most printing.
Let’s talk about font, baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Pages related to the topic of fonts are to follow. Typically, a brand will define 2 or 3 fonts that should be used on all branded materials.
The typography page lists the brand fonts. These fonts may or may not include the actual font that is used in the logo. These are the fonts that are acceptable to use for any and all materials including but not limited to ads, business cards, letterhead, a website, flyers, signs, posters, billboards, internal documents, etc.
Typographical hierarchy rules illustrate how to use a combination of font, weight, and size to direct a viewer’s eye across a message. Setting and adhering to these rules creates visual consistency amongst branded materials.
Typography and color rules define acceptable combinations of fonts and brand colors. In this guide, we can see that white text should be used on color and black backgrounds. Notice that no black text is used on a colorful background.
Pages related to the topic of graphic elements are to follow. The term “graphic elements” refers to design pieces, in addition to the logo and its variations, that may be used in branded materials. The brand guide typically defines a standard for this rather than defining all acceptable items.
In this guide, we address icons first. Icons are often used in web design and other informative materials. This page shows several examples of icons that may be utilized, defining a style (or in this case, 2 styles) for all icons.
The second element we address is photography. Here, desired photograph style is described and examples are provided. This brand request photographs have an “urban” or “street” feel to them. It also outlines appropriate color treatments that may be applied to photographic images. Again, these rules help maintain visual consistency across branded materials.
Now, we combine graphics and photography and lay some ground rules for how they should be used together.
Pages related to the topic of brand application are to follow. In these pages, you’ll find rules and examples of how to use the previously provides elements and rules in real-life scenarios.
Social media is the first place many people will interact with your brand. This guide shows an example of a profile and cover image.
There are also examples of print materials like business cards, coffee cups, and posters. Other examples might include hats or shirts, letterheads, keychains, and more. This section is intended to give you an idea of how branded products should look.
The back page provides a contact for any additional brand assets you may need or questions you may have.
Can you see now how having a brand guide on hand might be useful to someone creating flyers for your business? Or for someone writing content? Or even for a new sales rep who needs to know the personality of your company before they face the public?
Your brand guide is your assurance that your company’s appearance is consistent. If you don’t have a brand guide or think your existing brand guide might need an overhaul, you’re in the right place. Storm Cloud Marketing can help!