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The Importance of Branding Guidelines

They are known by various monikers, brand guidelines, style guides, brand standard or brand books, however their purpose is simple and focused. They help guide how your business communicates with its target audience and customer. Branding guidelines help establish the basic rules about the logo, colour, palette, imagery, photography, visual device, typography etc. It sets out a concrete list of do’s and don’ts for those using the brand’s logo or other communication material and provides symmetry to the brand’s visual communication with the people. This helps as a guide in maintaining a strong brand personality and projecting a uniform face to its target demographic.

Your brand is one of the most valuable assets you have. To ensure that it is projected in the right way across the board is of prime interest. Branding guidelines provide the users of the logo, its colour palette etc. set rules for what can and cannot be done. They also help explain why and how the employees, distributors or other agencies and vendors should use the brand to achieve their objectives and provides guidelines to do the same.

The most important goal of branding guidelines is to make sure that all the concerned individuals and agencies using the brand, use the brand elements as intended and consistently so. These guidelines provide crucial information and set standards of using logos, typefaces, brand names and other design elements in ads and other marketing and promotional material. These guidelines give a brand the control over the visual aspect of their promotion and make it consistent across the board.

These guidelines are also crucial time savers as they help those concerned understand rapidly how the brand needs to be projected and/or used. Agencies often waste time on redoing their designs because of a logo used unlike how explained in the branding guidelines, something which is anathema to any creative agency. It might be okay for a small business to not have branding guidelines, but sooner or later as the business grows these guidelines become important. Increasing opportunities to market your brand have made branding guidelines crucial for businesses. Branding guidelines give your brand a sheen of professionalism and provide you a consistent projection of the company’s values and ethics while laying down the rules for communication.

Branding guidelines can contain the following items:

About the business – This may or may not form a part of your branding guidelines, but including it just makes the whole process a lot simpler. It explains how the company functions, its ethics and standards. This can also included a vision statement or a mission statement of the company which is in sync with the guidelines and work-ethic expressed.

Tone – Each company has a particular voice in the branding sphere, branding guidelines help the user identify key words and phrases that the brand identifies with and helps them better express and showcase the brand. Keeping the voice of the brand consistent is crucial to keep the attention of the audience focused.

Logo – The use of the logo identifies how the brand is being promoted. Different sizes can do various things to the logo and its clarity. Branding guidelines help you identify size restrictions, space restrictions, colours to be used, and how it works with different backgrounds.

Typeface – The logo of the company may be written in a particular font which is used by the brand across the board. The branding guidelines help identify fonts used for the logo, headings, sub-headings etc. and help make it look visually appealing and symmetrical.

Images – If any images are to be used around the brand these guidelines provide you an understanding of what kind of images must be used and the feel they should project.

Branding guidelines can also contain templates for visiting cards, brochures, letterheads etc. which help the user understand how the brand can be used for various collaterals. These guidelines are crucial to the survival of a brand and help it be identified easily and effectively by its target customers.