Brand guidelines are what help create consistency throughout your business –from the exclusion zone around the logo marque in print media, to how emails are signed off.
They are essential to achieving brand consistency, ensuring people know what to expect when interacting with your business.
Whether you’re about to embark on a start-up journey or find that your business is lacking in overall direction – the importance of good brand guidelines to the current and future success of your business merits a lot of thought.
Creating your brand guidelines is one of the last steps in setting up a business. Before establishing them, you’ll want to have completed a lot of things first, for example your market research, the design of your logos and fonts, all based on an overarching ideology.
You need to understand your potential customers and how you want to communicate with them, basing this on extensive research and focus groups.
Your brand guidelines tie all of this work together into a neat package; they will dictate to a certain extent how this knowledge is executed, and ensure that each employee in the company is aware of how their role fits into the bigger picture.
Without these guidelines, while employees may be capable and intelligent, they will lack overall direction. Brand perception is to a large extent driven by the clarity of customer experience – there is nothing more frustrating than being sent in circles to different members of staff, each giving conflicting information.
To be included:
Colour palettes: this may seem like a small thing, but maintaining a homogenous approach to colour usage in logos and overall branding plays a massive part in brand perception. Most of the brand guidelines will produce small, subconscious effects on the way potential and converted customers see you – the combination of these effects are significant.
Typography: your brand may have its own font, designed with the help of a typographer – whether you do or not, your chosen fonts and font sizes need to be used homogeneously across the brand, with each employee aware of the exact uses.
Logo placement: details as seemingly simple as where the logo is placed on company letters and websites are essential. People notice minute differences, and can find them unnerving.
Tone: this is important but also quite abstract and hard to manage; not everyone will be able to automatically adjust their tone to match your brand’s overarching ideals, so this may necessitate training sessions to make sure employees can keep up to scratch.
Brand guidelines are often extensive documents – there’s no detail too small to be included, and this short introduction can’t even attempt to provide a conclusive list of what to include. The more attention to detail you include in your guidelines, the easier it is for employees to conform.
Leaving things out that you think are intuitive will only lead to potential confusion later down the line. What may seem obvious to you as a founder or founding partner may not be so clear to future employees, so you could potentially save time and mistakes by leaving nothing to chance.
Get your brand guidelines and wider brand design practices in place with help from our team at Ice House Design. Call today for more information on +44 (0)1225 466 080.