Brand Guidelines: The North Star for Your Brand
Building an instantly recognizable brand takes time, consistency and discipline but it’s well worth the effort. Brands like Apple and Nike could never have achieved their iconic status and lofty valuations without the dedicated effort of everyone associated with the brand including their employees, partners and affiliates. How did they get there? Once the creative work of fully and comprehensively defining their brand identity was completed, you can bet they put one simple tool in every stakeholder’s hands: clear brand guidelines.
This vital document is a key deliverable with any brand work Kinetic conducts for clients — it’s crucial in helping them establish and maintain an effective brand identity. You can have the world’s most elegant logo design or catchiest tagline, but apply them inconsistently and you’ll diminish them over time.
What are brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines are a set of rules everyone can follow to create consistent internal and external marketing materials and other documents. They typically include a set of tools and standards on how to use your branding elements to create and maintain your company or organization’s brand identity.
- The company logo – This section demonstrates how your logo should be displayed in different formats and will include size restrictions, appropriate colors and variations depending on the background. Examples of incorrect logo usage are often included.
- The color palette – Using a consistent color palette with your brand is essential to maintaining its identity. RGB and CMYK color codes are included to keep colors consistent across web and print formats.
- The typography – Typography will outline the different fonts used in association with your brand, including typefaces and families, font sizes and the hierarchy of the fonts used.
- Writing samples that define brand identity such as mission, core values, personality and tone.
- Collateral such as letterhead, business cards or PowerPoint templates.
- Photography guidelines to define visual styling as well as appropriate content and quality levels.
Graphic elements that can be used separately from the logo to evoke a sense of brand personality and consistency. Examples include icons, shapes and pattern backgrounds that further define the brand.
- Signage and clothing examples that show how the brand should be represented on external materials such as these.
- Social media treatments and presentations across platforms. For example, how the brand should be used in profile backgrounds on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Brand guidelines at work
Our client Cox’s Honey offers a great example of how even established businesses can benefit from a renewed focus on branding.
Cox’s Honey was founded in Orderville, Utah in 1880 and later moved to Shelley, Idaho where the business operates today. Cox’s Honey produces natural, raw honey free of added flavors or filler ingredients like fructose, agave or corn syrup. The fourth-generation family-owned business sells raw honey via its website and at businesses throughout Idaho and Utah.
Cox’s Honey recognized an opportunity to update its brand messaging to better communicate its value, brand story and differentiators. The first step in the process was the client discovery meeting. The Kinetic team headed to Shelley, Idaho, to meet the client, capture the complete picture of the business and products and answer critical questions. From there, we developed new brand messaging and updated brand design elements including refreshing the logo.
The brand guidelines that Kinetic provided wrapped up all the branding changes neatly in a format the company’s stakeholders could refer back to easily to ensure consistency across the board.
Need brand guidelines? Get yours today!
Whether we do your brand work or not, Kinetic is happy to wrangle your brand identity to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investment. Give us a call!