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What Is A Brand Guide and Why Is It Important For Your Business? 

Oct 10, 2022 | Recent

MW Studios colored-spread
Justin Rivera

All businesses have a brand, whether it was deliberately built leading up to its brand or simply developed over time as it continues to grow. The secret to creating a memorable brand successfully is having consistency.

People fall in love with brands, and when companies seek out creative ways to connect with their customers emotionally, they are more likely to succeed to be remembered.

Just look at some of the world’s best-known companies and see how quickly they can be named in seconds based on a memorable brand element-the shimmering golden arches of McDonald’s; the Apple icon; the red square of Uniqlo, regardless of if the characters inside are in English or another language; or the cursive lettering of Coca-Cola. 

Establishing the identity of your brand means building its personality so that it is recognized across all channels, online and offline. That’s why it’s important to devote time to defining your brand and developing a brand guide.

Read How to Establish Your Brand Voice

What is a brand guide?

A brand guide, also known as a style guide or brand bible, is a document that directs all employees and designers on the proper use of the various elements of the brand. 

These guidelines are typically presented as a book or presentation explaining how the brand works and how different elements work together to form the brand’s identity.

It supports marketing initiatives by ensuring all design and communication standards guide the entire company, providing itself as a reference to give them a solid framework to follow when doing their work. This ensures that the content they produce distinguishes a brand from its competitors and is cohesive. 

What are the elements of a brand guide?

Establishing a brand’s identity requires making decisions on certain visual characteristics, including:

  • The color palette: This should dictate the combination of colors that will be used in your brand designs. Your color palette guide should include the exact color codes (RGB and CMYK) that your designers should use for any collaterals they will be creating. 
  • Logo: This should specify how your logo can be placed on different backgrounds, any restrictions on size limitations, different formats allowed as well as alternate color combinations.
  • Typography: This should specify which font families, font sizes, and font hierarchies your brand uses.
  • Imagery: These standards should include the style of photos, wordmarks, or icons your company uses on your website and marketing materials. It may include a mood board or photography guide, especially if your business is a retail brand.

A brand guide also includes a thorough presentation of the brand’s vision and mission, as well as its values, to showcase what the company stands for.

Some brand guides are more comprehensive and include a section detailing their consumer persona, pillars, and tone of voice to ensure consistency across all online and offline platforms. Other brand guides also include elements such as corporate email signatures, out-of-home advertising guidelines, and trade and retail marketing materials.

Establishing the identity of your brand means building its personality so that it is recognized across all channels, online and offline. That’s why it’s important to devote time to defining your brand and developing a brand guide.

When do you need a brand guide?

If you’re a start-up, developing your brand guide is an essential part of starting and growing the business, because it gives your team members a glimpse of the direction you want to take your company. It allows them to become familiar with the brand and align with your vision as a business owner. 

What about businesses that are going through a rebranding process? A brand guide is important for them, too! If your company is going through a brand redesign, it’s important to create a new style guide to go along with it, as this will help you announce the transition to your team and familiarize everyone with the new guidelines.

Why Do You Need Brand Guidelines?

Regardless of the size of your company, brand guidelines are an important tool to position yourself as a top-of-mind business in your industry. Without guidelines, brands can evolve and distort over time, which can damage your brand value and reputation. But with the help of established brand guidelines, you can achieve 3 main goals:

  1. Creating a strong brand identity – One of the reasons you need brand guidelines is that they help create a strong and consistent brand identity internally in your company. You probably know your brand inside and out, but a new employee may not. Brand guidelines are a valuable tool for your employees to keep your brand cohesive.
  1. Maintaining brand consistency – A strong brand identity helps you communicate who you are as a company and positions you in your industry the way you want to be known.

  2. Avoiding confusion – From visual design to tone of voice, the consistency that guidelines create means that brands are instantly recognizable to customers without having to repeatedly introduce themselves.

Every brand is unique. As such, each brand guide should also be unique to the company’s culture and history and aligned to its goals. Are you looking to launch a new brand or planning a makeover for your next relaunch? Ensure your success with a strong, cohesive, and distinguishable brand guide.

We can help! Contact us today and let’s work together to create your brand guide and get you ready to launch. 

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