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IXD103 – Brand Guidelines

What is a brand style guide?

A brand style guide is a rulebook that explains how an organization presents itself to the world through its logo, font and color selections, photography and much more. Put another way, it’s a reference tool that helps maintain consistency in what a brand looks, feels and sounds like. It’s so powerful that some people even call it a brand bible, but don’t let that intimidate you—those are just different names for the same document.

Using a brand book ensures that your brand looks and feels the same, even when you have different people working on customer service, marketing, design and sales.

The Key Components of Brand Identity

  • Mission and vision
  • Target audience
  • Personality
  • Values

Six Elements of a Brand Style Guide

  1. Brand story
  2. Logo
  3. Colour Palette
  4. Typography
  5. Imagery
  6. Voice

Brand Story

Introduce your brand to the world. A simple summary will give people insight into the heart and soul of your company, which will help them understand how to represent your brand.

Logo

Include all approved versions of your logo, describe when to use each one, and show visual examples to make it really clear.

  • Size: List minimum size and proper proportions.
  • Space: If logo requires a certain amount of white space around it, give clear instructions.
  • Colors: Show variations (reversed, in color, black and white) and when to use them.
  • Don’ts: It can be just as important to show how you don’t want your logo to be used.

Colour Palette

Speaking of colours, defining a brand palette will go a long way towards creating a consistent look and feel. Most brands choose four or fewer main colours and don’t stray too far from the hues of their logo.It’s a good idea to pick one light color for backgrounds, a darker color for text, a neutral hue and also one that pops. Heineken follows this rule of thumb to a tee. In your style guide, show swatches of your brand colours. Make sure to include the information needed to reproduce those color accurately, wherever your brand message goes.

Typography

No matter how simple or complex your typography scheme is, make sure it’s used in all the right ways by explaining the choice and giving clear instructions for use.

  • Introduce: Tell the story of the typefaces you are using, how they relate to your brand, and what each one is used for (headlines, body text, captions, etc.).
  • Alignment: Make it clear if you want copy to always align right, left, or centered.
  • Spacing: Include tracking and kerning ratios to maintain a consistent style when font size changes.

Voice

Just like with imagery, you can approach this in a few different ways.

  • Best practice: If you have messaging that works well for you, show those examples here.
  • Build on personality: Remember that list of 3-5 adjectives that describe your brand personality? Use that to describe the type of language that is on-brand.
  • Do’s and don’ts: Sometimes, simple is best. Pick words you like and words you don’t to clearly demonstrate what your brand voice is.

My Brand Guidelines

To create an overall bank of my branding identity, I have used Brandpad to create a set of brand guidelines, which I can use to refer back to when producing my designs.

The link to my Brandpad: https://brandpad.io/jessdonnan

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