What is a brand book and why is it important? For any company, the main reasons are to establish how your brand looks to a customer, but also to maintain all visual consistency and build trust and stickiness over time. Professional marketers use these books when working with designers, web developers, app developers and PR professionals to maintain that same look and feel at every touchpoint. Every person will naturally put their own spin on the brand so this tool allows accuracy when a large creative team is involved. If your business is comprised of many people or part of a corporation, a brand is critical in maintaining a high-quality look.
Identify your end-users. Is this to be used mainly with your designer group and communicators, or for potential buyers or investors?
Components of your brand book
The development of standards and guidelines ensures that even with a high creative level, all elements will be aligned with one another, as well as with your business strategy. Look for high consistency across the following elements:
- Brand aspiration, values and mission
- Logo usage
- Taglines and usage
- Typography usage
- Color palette
- Stationary and business cards
- Email signatures
- Photography treatment and iconography
- Creative samples: website, ads, sell sheets
- Brand Voice
Each page, including the covers, should be designed and this challenge gives a great designer room to stretch and show off their skill set.
The accurate use of color in packaging, logos, product, on-shelf signage, across all communications work together to make your brand sticky. Making the selection of a family of colors that fits your market space, size of the company, and brand personality takes the specialized skills of a designer with branding experience.
Brand Guidelines – Assembly Required
Determine if this will be shared in a printed book or digitally. Your main communications department needs to have access to this information, as well as finance, leadership team, and HR.
Brand Voice and Tone
This takes place across multiple channels, such as the brand’s pitch deck, positioning and value statement, mission statement, tagline or campaign slogans, press releases, social media posts, articles and white papers. It can even be used to formulate appropriate on-hold messaging and music selection. Like the specific treatment of images, your brand voice conveys if this is a serious company (investment banking) or in the Joie de Vive category (children’s toys).
When does a brand guideline need updating?
Brands undergo refreshing from time-to-time, so your brand guidelines also need to be updated during that process. If your logo is reworked, those changes will need to be included. Review it periodically, give it love and sunshine.