Sometimes you need to refer to the user manual to get it right and your brand is no different. It too needs a set of instructions in order to operate correctly. It's not enough to just design a great brand, it also needs to be well managed.
Brand guidelines are used to instruct users on the correct way to to apply the brand across a variety of applications. Consistency breeds recall and recognition which supports your brand. Generally speaking, every brand should have guidelines of some form, but more importantly is the reason behind it; consistency.
Corporate Brand Identity Guidelines
For a corporation or a business with multiple locations, with many employees, you absolutely need brand identity guidelines. rand guidelines explain how a brand should be used internally and externally. These guidelines will be passed on to outside contractors to make sure they apply your brand elements consistently across different applications.
What does the signage on the outside of your building in San Diego look like compared to the signage in Boston? How does your store's letterhead in Atlanta look compared to your store in Portland? Are the menus at your restaurant in New York similar to your restaurant in Seattle? Hopefully they are identical. If not, you need to create brand guidelines, and enforce them so that your brand is expressed consistently.
What to Include in a Brand Identity Manual
What's included will vary depending on the type and size of your business and what is relevant to your brand. At the very least, your guidelines should include:
- Brand values and spirit
- Logo usage and specifications
- Color palette
Other possible sections to include in your brand identity uidelines are:
- Copywriting and tone and voice
- Layouts and grids
- Templates for stationery or often used applications
- Web specifications
- Positioning, size and clear space
- Additional brand elements
- Packaging specifications
What you add to your guidelines may be figured out as you go. Some things will be obvious but others will have to be added as your business grows or changes. The important thing to remember is that your brand identity guidelines are a living document and are to be updated and expanded as needed.