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How to: Brand Guidelines

    Creating a comprehensive brand guidelines document is crucial for maintaining a consistent and cohesive brand identity. So why do many brands find themselves stalling on such a vital document for building brand voice and partnerships? Here is our checklist of the vital information and details that should be included when developing your brand guidelines documentation:

    1. Brand Overview:
    • Mission statement: Clearly define the purpose and mission of the brand.
    • Vision statement: Outline the desired future state or aspirations of the brand 5 or 10 years down the road.
    • Core values: In 3 to 7 bullets, quantify in order of importance the key values that guide the brand’s actions and decisions.
    1. Logo Usage:
    • Primary logo: Include the primary version of the logo, specifying its correct usage, size, and clear space requirements.
    • Alternative logo variations: Present any secondary or alternative versions of the logo, such as simplified versions or variations for different backgrounds.
    • Logo misuse: Highlight examples of incorrect logo usage to avoid, such as improper scaling, distortion, or unauthorized alterations.
    1. Color Palette:
    • Primary colors: Specify the primary brand colors along with their CMYK, RGB, and hexadecimal values (some will also include pantone.)
    • Secondary colors: Provide additional colors that can be used to complement the primary palette. (Many brands will duplicate their primary brand colors but in a lighter tone.)
    • Color usage guidelines: Explain how and when each color should be used, including background colors, text colors, and accent colors. (This is a great place for enforcing if certain colors represent specific brands or products.)
    1. Typography:
    • Font selection: Identify the primary typefaces used in the brand, including the specific font names and styles.
    • Headings and subheadings: Specify font sizes, weights, and styles for various heading levels.
    • Body text: Define the font style and size for body text, ensuring readability and consistency.
    1. Imagery:
    • Photography style: Describe the preferred photography style that aligns with the brand’s visual identity, including guidelines for subject matter, composition, and tone.
    • Illustrations or icons: Specify the preferred style and usage guidelines for any custom illustrations or icons associated with the brand.
    1. Voice and Tone:
    • Brand voice: Define the desired tone and personality of the brand’s communication, such as friendly, professional, or authoritative.
    • Writing style: Provide guidelines for grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and formatting to ensure consistency in written content.
    1. Messaging and Taglines:
    • Brand messaging: Summarize the key messages and value propositions that the brand wants to convey.
    • Taglines and slogans: Include any taglines or slogans associated with the brand, along with their correct usage and positioning.
    1. Application Examples:
    • Collateral examples: Provide visual examples of the brand applied to various collateral, such as business cards, letterheads, brochures, or advertisements.
    • Digital presence: Showcase examples of the brand’s application on digital platforms, including website mock-ups, social media posts, and email templates.
    1. Brand Applications and Misuse:
    • Stationery guidelines: Provide templates and guidelines for branded stationery items, such as letterheads, envelopes, and business cards.
    • Digital media guidelines: Outline specifications for digital assets, including social media profile pictures, cover images, and email signatures.
    • Brand misuse: Highlight examples of improper brand usage or common mistakes to avoid, ensuring consistency and protecting the brand’s integrity.
    1. Contact Information:
    • Provide contact details for the brand manager or point of contact responsible for answering questions or clarifying brand guidelines.

    Remember, this checklist serves as a starting point, and the specific needs of each brand may require additional elements or details to be included in the brand guidelines document. If you need help creating your unique brand guidelines document – reach out! We can help.

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