Let’s say you have decided to start your own business, or you thought of upgrading or reinventing your brand. One of the first order of things you would be doing is hiring a freelance designer to create your business logo. Your logo would have to say it all about your brand: your color scheme, font styles, feel and so on. Once your logo is up, it has to be put in your website or perhaps have it printed. But sometimes, the whole thing would just seem to be quite off, and you can’t figure out what is wrong.
This kind of situation is the reason why you need to have a consistent and strong brand identity. Especially in today’s modern market trend, when tiny details make or break you. You need to have marketing tools that is of high quality and consistent with your look and feel. Not only does it makes your brand look firm but it would build your credibility, as well.
So here’s the big question: How? – Well, enter the brand book.
What is a Brand Book?
A brand book is a set of rules and guidelines for the use of your brand. A standard if you must. A style guide, in a designer’s context. It basically explains how to properly make use of elements to make sure that it is consistent with your brand.
Why create a brand guide for your business?
- Having a brand book makes it easier to do a project. Example: if you decided to do a packaging for a brand product, presenting the brand book to the designer would make things easier to select font styles, colors, and whatnot and output would be consistent with your brand.
- Makes you look professional. Being consistent with your marketing tools and outputs makes you look professional. Like everything’s planned out to be the way they are.
- You will have control of your brand. Having standardized brand gives your control of any loose ends. If something is not working – a look or feel – you refer to your trusty old brand book.
- Never a cheap moment. When you have a brand that’s solid in all corners, your brand would avoid looking cheap.
You enhance your brand. With your brand’s style regulated, it makes you progress into a finer and solid brand. You are put onto a perspective where you see your brand’s untapped potential and develop changes for its betterment.
What to Include in a Brand Book?
There are several components to include in a brand book. Here are the basics and must be included.
As much as possible, this should be brief. In little words as possible, make sure that the concept for the design of your brand is clear. A designer should likely read this very important part of the brand book; it should tell what the brand is aiming to be, its look and feel.
A logo is the brand’s key component to its strategy; therefore, it should be taken seriously. The brand will likely revolve around the logo concept BUT the logo is not your brand alone. Make sure there are many logo variations for certain styles and backgrounds, and clarify minimum sizes.
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INCORRECT LOGO USAGE
Remember when I said, a detail can make or break your brand? Here’s a common mistake in the branding world: logos are used and stamped upon on almost anything. Your brand has to look professional, and you should know not to mess around with it. If you do, you’re basically messing with your reputation. You have to be careful to make sure that designers or anyone that would make use of your brand logo understands what they can and cannot do with it.
Since your brand revolves around your logo, and your logo revolves around a particular color set, it is imperative to make sure that the use of colors is specified. Specify primary and secondary colors – when and where to use them. Include color palettes, as well as, formats for both print and web end.
COPY AND TONE OF VOICE
Think of this as another key component to your brands personality. It’s how you would want them to “hear” or “read” you — your character. Defining the way you deal or sound like, especially in the social media, is a great way to be consistent. When there are several people writing or doing the copy in their different ways, your brand would seem to have several personalities. That is why it is key to have these laid out properly.
Font is crucial. It also affects your brand’s feel. You have to define what kind of typefaces to use. More so, their size, colors, headline and body typeface. Do not forget to include web and non-web fonts.
Specify what size, spacing, and where to use icons is significant to promote consistency.
OTHER COMPONENTS THAT CAN BE INCLUDED
There are still several components that you can integrate in your brand book. It’s really up to you and up to the industry your business is in. Some components that you could consider include:
- Photography style
- Supporting graphic elements
- Design layouts and grids
- Social media profile page applications
- Brochure/flyer layout options
- Website layout
- Signage specifications
- Advertising treatments
- Merchandising applications
- Editorial guidelines
Who makes a Brand Book?
Usually, brand books are developed by an experienced graphic designer. Sometimes, the agency where your logo is made could do this for you. Even if you already have a logo, you can always hire someone to make your brand book. But of course, it’s better to have the one who made your logo do the brand book for you, as well, to ensure that it flows well with your logo.
It is always better to have a PDF format brand book for you, aside from it being printed. It’ll make things convenient especially during a project where you can always send it via email.
The Bottom Line
Your logo is a significant component of your brand. Several aspects of your business revolve around it, especially in the modern branding world. But your logo alone is not your brand. It’s just a part of your strategy to be identified with. How your logo is treated and used is where your branding unfolds. By having a brand book, you can ensure that everything works consistently to have a strong and solid brand.
- The Web Style Guide, 3rd Edition
- Corporate Brand Guidelines
- Brand Identity
- 20 Top Tips for Designing Effective Brand Guidelines
- The Corporate Identity Manual (Brand Style Guide)
- Website by The PPC Machine