Effective Brand Manual, Brand Guidelines & Brand Style Guide
How to Design an Effective Brand Manual and Brand Guidelines
If you are hiring someone to help you with your logo design or brand identity creation, it can be very helpful to have a brand manual and brand guidelines to show how your brand should be presented and what designers should not do. Brand guidelines show what fonts can be used, what colors are acceptable, what types of layouts and visual designs are consistent with the brand. A brand manual also displays what elements need to be present in all your publications.
Branding Is Important and there is a Reason why there are Rules
Branding has many elements that people often do not think about automatically. People who read your site may not think about what font you are using or how much white space you are leaving on the page. But these simple design elements have important psychological effects. Apple uses sans serif fonts and comparatively small text on large pages with a lot of white space. So does Volkswagen. Both brands communicate sleekness, minimalism, efficiency, and technological mastery over their industry.
Their branding shows that they know exactly what needs to be included in a product and they include that and only that. They show that the customer doesn’t need anything except their product. Though their products are not particularly cheap, they inspire confidence in the customer that they are simply the best, with no fuss and nonsense.
These are two examples of branding that is consistent over all publications and areas. When customers go onto either of these websites, they see a consistent design that is also reflected in all brochures and printings. You need a consistent brand for your business too. Here are some tips for making sure hat your brand is the same everywhere. Create a brand guide and give it to your designers, and you will be able to be confident that the designs they create for you will be consistent with your brand and with your company.
What is the big idea behind your Company?
Is your company’s big idea cleverness? Elegance? Innovation? Help? Altruism? Wealth? Whatever your big idea is, it needs to show though everything your company does and everything your customers see. Instead of thinking, “what would look good on our branding,” think, “what idea are we trying to communicate.”
Use your guidelines to make the guidelines
If you are creating a memo, booklet, or any other kind of publication to give to your design team with your guidelines, that publication itself needs to be made according to your design guidelines.
Balance Flexibility and Creativity
Your design team are a bunch of creative personality types. They probably hate being constrained. Their bedrooms are probably messy and they almost definitely avoid schedules as much as possible. Don’t kill your poor little creatives’ souls. Give them some room to be flexible. This will ensure that you have interesting, eye-catching designs and that your branding doesn’t become monotonous. Consistency is essential, but you can have a consistent brand while also offering plenty of flexibility for design. Just look at Apple and Adobe.
Include a list of Don’ts.
Along with your “Do’s,” you also need a list of “Don’ts.” Especially if your brand has been misrepresented or mishandled in the past, there should be a definite list of things that should never be done in designs or publications related to your brand.
Review your stuff frequently.
Just because you publish guidelines, that doesn’t mean that they will automatically be followed. People follow the rules that are enforced, not the rules that are made. In addition to approving publications before they go out, you will also need to review your guidelines themselves with your design team. Make sure that the guidelines are clear, that they are not having trouble with any aspects of them, and clarify anything that your designers have found to be confusing in the time they have been working with the guidelines.