What Should Be in Your Brand Guidelines

Blog / Article 

So you have a logo. Check.

You’ve got some colors. Check.

You have a couple fonts, some icons, a mascot, a secondary logo, a tagline, and a — are these getting hard to keep track of yet?

That’s what your brand guidelines are for, to help keep all the elements of your visual identity organized with rules applied to each so that every piece of your identity is used consistently across all platforms.

Your brand guidelines document doesn’t have to be long, for many companies 1-5 pages are more than sufficient. However, there are also companies who have 50 page brand guideline books. It all depends on your needs. For the sake of this article, I’m going to ignore all the extra bells and whistles and focus on the necessities.

This is what you absolutely need to include in your brand guidelines:

Logo(s)

  • When should you use a certain version (primary, secondary, with tagline, etc.) of the logo?
  • What are the minimum and maximum sizes your logos should be, online and in print?
  • What colors or effects are appropriate or inappropriate?
  • Are there any applications of the logo that must be displayed a certain way?
  • Are there certain items or platforms that your logos should never appear on?

Need help creating your brand guidelines?

Colors

  • What are your primary, secondary, and tertiary colors?
  • What are the color codes (CMYK, RGB, and HEX)?
  • When is it appropriate to use certain colors?

    Typefaces

    • What are your primary and secondary typefaces?
    • Which typeface is used for each level of typographic hierarchy (headline, sub-headline, paragraph, caption, slug, etc.)?
    • Are any other characteristics specific to the levels of hierarchy, are they a certain color, size, all caps, etc.?

    Imagery

    • What type of imagery do you use (iconography, vector art, illustration, photography)?
    • Recommended sizing and resolution for each application of imagery (print, website, social media, etc.)?
    • How is imagery displayed? Are icons always a certain color? Do photos always have a white boarder? Are all of the illustrations a certain style?
    • Do you source your imagery? From where?

      By creating guidelines for each of these elements and following them you will keep your brand consistent thereby making your company more recognizable. 

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