I think we can all agree that the overall aesthetic of your brand is what helps draw consumers in and keep them invested. Each little detail put into your brand represents who you are and portrays consistency, cohesive messaging and brand recognition to your audience. Creating a branding guideline will help you break down your brand piece by piece to determine how you can communicate to current and prospective customers within your target audience.
The 6 most important things that you should include in your branding guidelines are:
Vibe, Tone & Visual Appeal
Introduce yourself and your brand to the world to give people an insight into what you do. This includes your brand's mission statement, values, vision, personality and summary all in one. The ideal goal for your story is to give your audience a more personal feel to your brand and let them know what you stand for. After identifying your brand story, this will become the basis for all your marketing materials and promotional strategies moving forward.
Your branding colors are such an important aspect when it comes to standing out against competitors. You want to make sure you choose colors that represent not only your brand, but your personality as well. It will define the look and feel of your brand and give your audience something to remember you by.
It is recommended to choose 3-4 colors that vary from both light to dark palettes. It is also helpful to write the HEX number underneath each color for easy access. These colors will be incorporated into your social platforms, newsletters and carried through onto your website.
Sometimes figuring out a perfect logo for your brand may not be the easiest, but it is definitely a fun process. You should first ask yourself what your brand represents and how your logo can portray that to your audience. Hiring a logo designer, or help from a graphic design team (wink wink gpalcreative) will ensure that your logo will be transpired across a wide range of platforms and keep your branding consistent no matter where it is viewed.
It is important to have a combination logo (logotype and logo mark combined into one logo) and a symbol logo (an icon—or graphic-based logo) to help break up each design in the appropriate placements. For more information on logos, Wix came out with an article to help break it down for you!
The typography used to represent your brand is such an important aspect to your branding guidelines. This will play a big part into how your audience will remember/associate your brand when they see the same typography. It is important to identify a title font, subtitle/accent font and body font to address different sections.
Your title font is usually bold, and specifically designed for headline or display usage. Your subtitle/accent font is where most paragraphs and big sections will be typed and is usually very clear and straightforward. Your body font is subtle, yet crucial because this is what will tie all your fonts together. Canva has released an article that gives examples of great font pairing to help boost your inspiration!
As the owner and creator of your brand, you know what vision you best see your brand moving forward with and what images and graphics will best suit it. Mood boards are a great way to start gathering inspiration and figuring out the overall theme you want to be addressed.
It is essential to include 5-7 inspirational images on your branding guideline that portrays a mixture of textures, tones and informational writing to ensure you cover all the different aspects. No matter what approach you’re taking, make sure that your images are always high in quality and are clearly uploaded for overall best results.
Vibe, Tone & Visual Appeal:
It’s good to write a few words to describe the vibe, tone and visual appeal you are seeking in your branding guidelines. This will help keep all your content consistent and clean when it comes to getting your messages across. Your brand's overall personality will play a key factor in shaping the overall vibe, tone and visual appeal of your brand.
Whether you're going for a professional, clean & modern vibe or an educational, graphic based visual, your message needs to be clear and break through all the noise of social media. This step is so important to help tie together all your branding guideline aspects.
Overall, creating a guideline for your brand and prospective clients will be a huge help in keeping your branding message, fonts, colors and tone cohesive and consistent. At gpalcreative, we use branding guidelines every time we take on a new client to help give them an idea of what our vision is and how we can match theirs. This will not only help you gain brand recognition, but provides you with the necessary tools to maintain your brand's overall cultivated image.