Brand Guidelines Made Easy

Creative Brand Guidelines Made Easy

Brand guidelines can help a company present a united, consistent front across its entire media, so why aren’t more organisations using them? As a professional branding agency, we at SO Marketing create a range of digital and print materials to expand, revolutionise or compliment existing brands, so it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about company image. Brand guidelines are imperative to creating a centralised image for your organisation, and also facilitate a quicker, more personal design process; so if you haven’t compiled yours yet, it’s definitely time to do so.

What are brand guidelines?
Put simply, brand guidelines are a set of documents that define your brand; they tell people where and when it is appropriate to use certain elements, and how those elements are created in the first place. Many companies have a variety of company logos that are used in different circumstances; social networking site Facebook, for example,  has both the full title logo and the abbreviated white ‘F’ on a blue background. The difficulty, however, is in knowing in what contexts it is appropriate to use each of these logos, which is where brand guidelines prove themselves invaluable. Brand guidelines provide all of your affiliates, employees and members with a reference point as to what logo should be used where, and in what context, ensuring continuity between your various company articles.

Secondly, brand guidelines help to ensure that all of your visual elements, including logos, imagery and websites, are strictly uniform, which helps develop a more credible image for your company. Say for example you took a trip to your local Sainsbury’s supermarket, and instead of the warm orange tones on which their brand is based, all signage, price tags and leaflets etc. were black or deep purple; would your first instinct not be to question whether you were in fact in a real Sainsbury’s or not? Strong branding helps consumers trust in the validity of an organisation because it gives the impression that said company is well-established, which is why brand guidelines are so important.

Don’t a-brand-on your values
The chances are that your entire brand image, from the staff you choose to employ to the style of your logo, even to the colours on your websites and uniforms, are dictated by the values that you believe are integral to your company. Successful branding in its simplest form is about connotations and inferences; it’s about looking at the ethics that are important to your company and choosing distinct imagery and colour schemes that properly reflect them. Brand guidelines ensure the continuity of visual elements by providing new parties with access to the specific colour palettes and dimensions of your imagery. This ensures that when they go on to replicate them, the beliefs and attitudes that you prioritise will remain at the centre of their designs. This can also help you demarcate yourselves from the growing number of counterfeit, imitation brands on the market.

A brand new you
We’d be lying, however, if we said that brand guidelines didn’t help us designers and branding agencies out too. Brand guidelines provide us with a steadfast base upon which to expand and develop our designs, again ensuring consistency with your existing digital or print materials.  Even if you’re looking for a complete rebranding they’re still extremely useful as they give us an idea of what’s important to your company, and which areas you’d like us to take inspiration from in future projects.
Regardless of whether you’re looking to expand your e-commerce business online, create a new set of menus for a restaurant, or even develop a new company logo, having specific, fully formed brand guidelines is imperative. These guidelines ensure don’t only help designers and new affiliates understand your brand, but ensure that you as an organisation present an infallible image that your consumers can place their trust in.

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