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Brand guidelines (or sometimes also referred to as brand standard, style guide or brand book) are in essence a guide on how to execute your brand.

Brand guidelines are usually completed last in the branding process as it serves as a handbook for how to properly express your brand, maintain brand strengths and ensure consistency going forward.

What is included in brand guidelines?

Once the logo and visual identity has been developed, the brand guidelines (or a smaller identity overview document) should be created.

A brand guideline should show best practices and uses of all elements across multiple applications. This can include logo use and misuse, font specifications and usage, colour palettes with relevant values, imagery style and usage, grid layout guidelines, messaging principles and tone of voice.

Typography guidelines can include both primary and secondary font usage for headings, subheadings, and body copy. It is also good to define what fonts to use for digital and print, and substitute fonts for cross-platform applications.

Brand guidelines sometimes also include a short introduction to the company and its background, and any relevant information from the brand strategy, such as values, vision and mission, personality and brand hierarchy.

Do I need brand guidelines?

All brands need brand guidelines, but not all need to be as extensive. Some guidelines can be up to 100 pages, which would be overkill for a small company.

For start-ups often a smaller identity overview document, summing up logo, type and colour use, will suffice. But for a bigger company or a brand, it could benefit from a more detailed guideline document to ensure consistency and ‘on brand’ executions across all applications.

Check out our other articles if you want to learn more about branding and How to choose the right branding agency. If you are looking to create a corporate identity or rebranding a product or service, get in touch today and we’ll be happy to chat through our process and options.