What is a Branding Guide, and Why Do I Need One?

One of the most fun aspects of a new business is coming up with the fun things like the name, logo, colors, and sharing it with the world. When it comes to using those assets to create a new website, print marketing materials, or cool polos for your staff, it really helps to have all of these things in one easily accessible place: A Branding (or Style) Guide. This helps communicate a consistent message to your audience and creates the point of recognition that will drive more consumers to your business.

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What’s In a Branding Guide?

The normal visual items include logo, color palette, and fonts. This is to be used with any company marketing – from trade show booths to pens and mousepads. That way, everything remains consistent in its appearance. Why is this important? So that your brand gets recognized instantly. You don’t see Coca-Cola logos in blue or AT&T’s iconic globe in red, and that is because they strictly adhere to their brand style guide.

Logos

These guides include approved versions of the logo in particular, making sure that they are the correct size and proportions, if they need to have a certain amount of space around them, and also include a list of limitations with it.

Colors

Colors, perhaps even more than the logo, help identify a brand. Straying even a slight shade away from the approved color can wreck the perception of a brand (for example, Duke fans wouldn't want their team's blue getting too close to North Carolina!), which is why having the PANTONE, CMYK, RGB, and Hex codes is paramount and ensures exact matching every time.

Fonts

Many brands have iconic fonts that make them instantly recognizable, like Walt Disney, Mobile, and Goodyear, along with TV shows and sports teams. Your font can set the tone of your branding. It might not sound like much, but the wrong font next to the most beautiful logo can wreck the whole design.

Other items that branch outside of this, depending on the size and scope of your company, include copy writing, tone, style, brand story, and imagery. This allows you to identify your audience and your companies’ personality, and to convey your vision, mission, and values effectively.

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