Imagine this scenario; you have spent time and money on rebranding your company image and you want to ensure that it is used properly across your materials. This is where a brand guideline comes in hand. It prevents employees from incorrectly displaying a logo or using the wrong font, but also helps customers recognise your brand and creates a stronger brand identity for your company. After all, a brand is an investment and a brand guideline will help keep that investment prosperous.
Sometimes called a style guide or brand identity guide, they all serve the same purpose. There are many variations to a brand guideline; long and comprehensive, including every brand element designed and used, as well as short and succinct that summarises the most important key aspects of the identity.
What is a brand guideline?
A brand guideline works as a visual tool for your brand identity. It assists with clarifying what your brand is all about, from the logo design, to fonts and colour palette, to the proper use of photography styles.
The other important function is how everything works together in terms of content. It explains when to use certain fonts and photography, or when to avoid certain imagery. Making sure that the brand guidelines are laid out in a clear and concise matter makes it easy for anyone to use them.
When do you use one?
Whenever in doubt of how a brand identity is applied, the guidelines are used as a reference point. This is especially useful for when your employees apply brand items throughout their tasks and need to ensure that these elements are used correctly at all times. It is your brand’s way of communicating its identity.
It can also be a good reference point when opening up a new branch, moving across countries or even during major shifts within the company. Whenever in doubt, the brand guideline is the place to find your brand answers.
Does my brand need one?
Short answer: Yes. All companies should have a brand guideline in order to correctly communicate its identity to employees, customers, competitors and markets.
The breadth and comprehensiveness of the guideline depends on your business. With large corporations spanning several countries, it is vital to have an in-depth style guide covering all aspects. A smaller company can get away with a shorter guide, covering the basics of their brand image.