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Brand guidelines keep your brand consistent and professional throughout all of its visual identity. A strong brand will use its identity, values and tone of voice to reach a specific target audience to make it memorable and recognisable in today’s competitive market.

What is a brand identity?

A brand identity is more than just a logo, it is the whole visual toolkit that makes up your brand: the typography, the colour palette and the imagery. In essence, it allows customers to identify your brand!

So, what are brand guidelines?

Brand guidelines are a set of rules and guides that designers follow when putting your brand’s identity out into the world. If any of these are altered or distorted, they no longer represent your brand the way they were designed to. This can come across as confusing and unprofessional to your clients. You want your brand to build trust and relations over time.

A 2005 study by consultants Booz Allen Hamilton and Wolff Olins found that brand-guided companies outperform their competitors, with results that improve profitability – Ian Linton

A single colour can represent a brand’s identity by itself – Subway’s green and yellow or Twitter’s blue can be easily recognised with no further context. Colours can easily be lost and changed during printing processes, which is why it is vital that you have a set colour scheme with all the CMYK and RGB values at hand. This way, the colours on your website will match the colours on your business cards, your signs, your packaging and so on.

Imagery can play a huge part in your identity too, and without guidelines you can find yourself using images or photography that don’t represent what you are trying to communicate. Your brand’s tone of voice – the way it ‘speaks’ to your customers – is produced through your imagery, as well as the way the copy is written. Once you start to stray from the intended tone of voice you may find your company isn’t reaching your target audience, meaning you could miss out on potential customers.

And finally, your fonts. It may seem easy sticking to a single font, but there is more to it than you think. There are different sizes, weights and styles that all need to remain constant. This is where a simple guide could tell you in a second’s glance what you should be using and where.

All of these elements of your brand need to be kept consistent to enable you to have a strong and recognisable brand with a cohesive body of supporting material. With brand guidelines, you won’t have to worry about inconsistencies between printers and designers, and you will save time and money by not having to amend work and re print inaccurate publications.

When working with clients, we will produce a brand guidelines document so that all of the above remains consistent and professional. Contact us if you are interested in finding out more about how we can use brand guidelines to help strengthen your brand.

Find out how we can help you utilise brand guidelines

Studio Seventeen Office Chloe Morris Design and Development

About the Author

Chloe Morris

Chloe is a graphic designer at Studio Seventeen.