A consistent branding produces 23% more revenue on a yearly basis, surprisingly? Despite the obvious advantages of the above fact, only one-fourth of businesses have formal branding guidelines such as a brand book (also known as brand style guide) that they enforce consistently.
Having and enforcing a brand book’s guidelines is helps businesses achieve the consistency necessary for brand awareness, recognition and, ultimately, loyalty.
Read more to find out:
Benefits of creating a brand style guide
A step-by-step guide to building your style guide
5 brand book examples by tech, retail and beauty giants
They most commonly focus on
- The use of logo
- The use of color
- Image and photo manipulation
- Tone of voice
The Key Elements Of A Brand BookTypically, these type of books contain three main sections:
- Visual guidelines
- Communication guidelines
In this section, you need to specify your mission, values and target audience.
Defining this right from the get-go gives context to the content that follows and adds logic to everything you or your partners plan to do using the brand style guide.
2. Visual Guide
linesIn this section, you should list the following design:
- Logo: Its placement, variations for different platforms and channels, colors, size and proportions
- Colors: Primary and secondary colors as well its monochrome version
- Fonts: Corporate typography that are used in headlines and bodies of text in official documents
- Photography: Its style and guidelines used for consistent presentation
- Brandmark: Where to use it
- Other: Patterns, textures, graphics, icons
This section of the brand style guide defines the following:
Language: the official language or languages in which a brand communicates with its audience
Style: formatting, technical and non-technical messaging
Tone of voice: professional, logical, emotional, humorous etc.
Social media presence: posting types, posting times, different social media styles
Emails: structure, signature and tone
Readability and grammar: types of sentences and its lengths, capitalization, numbers, abbreviations, acronyms, proofreading with Grammarly or any other similar tools.
To do this, define the four components of your business:
- Vision and core values
- Brand mission
- Brand persona
- Target audience
Brand’s vision and core values
Guide the brand and all business decisions. They point the company towards its long-term objectives such as gaining brand awareness, trust and customers’ loyalty.
Answering the following questions can help determine your vision and values:
- How big do you want your company to get?
- Do you plan to branch out with products and services not currently offered?
- What kind of legacy do you want your business to leave behind?
Must be devoid of any vague concepts and establish itself on the grounds of the following questions:
- What is your company’s purpose and its reason for being?
- What is the difference it is trying to make?
Both your mission and vision should be in the opening lines of the brand style guide, so as to underline the reasons why it is important for everyone to be on the same page with the following style rules.
Or personality, is vital for getting the right tone of voice for messaging across all channels.
Consistent messaging that stems from a well-defined persona makes it easier for customers to connect and identify with your brand.
Brand can be thought about as a person with a list of traits you want it to have. Once you identify the collection of traits to incorporate into a persona, they can become a guide for the company’s messaging.
One of the most important things to define - and to do that, you need to ask yourself:
- What type of people do you want to use your products?
- Which people would you like to visit your site and subscribe to your newsletters?
- What are your audience’s needs, wants and values - and how do you factor into them?
A brand style guide should define how to ensure that a distinct logo stays optimized and consistent in different media environments.
It should detail all the variations and versions of your logo and how it will look in these different platforms, what its placement, sizes and white space will be.
It’s standard practice to pick four or fewer main hues as your primary color palette.
This type of book should define when and how to use each color:
Which one is used for the text and which for the design elements?
Which color is for the logo, and which is for the background to make it “pop”?
Sometimes, these books also define the specific brand color names, color hexadecimal, RGB and CMYK values or a Pantone name and number, secondary and alternate colors.
Similarly, there should be a defined font style for both print and digital applications.
In your book, typography should cover how and when to use certain fonts, which typefaces are acceptable, as well as guidelines for additional styling, size, and use of color.
As pointed out by Mayven, most brands use one or two primary typefaces, a complementary typeface, and substitute typefaces.
4. Voice And Messaging
Your tone of voice needs to be consistent across all communication channels - email, social media, press releases, blog posts, ads, etc.
Your brand’s voice should be aligned with its persona, mission, vision, values and target audience.
You can start by identifying words you like and don't like to be associated with.
Then, decide what type of language fits your persona and your target audience.
Go back to your list of adjectives describing your brand personality to come up with language that is on-brand.
Apart from indicating whether you'll be using photos, illustrations and other types of graphics (as well as when and how you'll be using them), your brand book should also detail how to edit images, which colors to place them with, and any other design elements related to image use.
Collect inspiration from successful brands, particularly those that have similar brand messaging as yours.
You can also create a mood board with images that convey the feelings you want people to get when they interact with your brand.
6. Dos And Don’t
Brand style guides that also include the things that marketers, designers, partners and advertisers shouldn’t do - along with the things they should - are double helpful.
Having “Do” and “Don’t” columns with specific items under each helps drive home the point and importance of adhering to branding requirements.
7. Other Specifics
Don’t be afraid to be very specific about anything that you feel is necessary to be explained. The more details you have in your brand book, the better.
It could be helpful for everyone to include specific scenarios, case studies, visual aids and examples of use for different logos, imagery, tone of voice and colors.
If you want to have a different font used across different communication channels, demonstrate this in very specific examples of typeface for body copy, headlines and titles on all of these channels. This leaves no room for interpretations and uncertainties.