Strong and robust branding guidelines often act as a foundation to underpin how people perceive and view a company or organisation. They provide and help to establish an effective brand base for both employees and suppliers helping them to understand the values a company is trying to relate to its target audience.
A poorly conceived or inconsistent brand message can at best leave your clients feeling confused and unsure of your overall ethos, and at worst can have tremendously detrimental effect to your company’s reputation.
Promoting a consistent message throughout all levels of the business is vital to the continued success of a brand without dilution of the company core brand values. They provide a clear brand voice and reinforce key strengths of an organisation and its business ethos. A well thought through brand guide is an investment that will save both time and money in the long term so it’s important to get it right from the start.
As such, we have detailed a few points to consider as you embark on the journey to finding your companies inner voice and visual identity that will become your brand moving forward.
Questions to ask before you start
What challenges do we solve for our target audience? What does my organisation represent? What sets us apart from the competition? What are our core values? How do our customers perceive us?
Who are our key customers and what do they want from of our business? What drives their buying decisions? What are the main goals of the branding process? Is the main purpose to evolve the existing brand or to create a different brand identity all together?
After collating the answers from both internal and external audiences, it is time to move finding the Brand Identity.
Develop a clear and concise brief
The findings from the research should form the basis of a briefing document, regardless of whether the project is handled internally or externally. It should include an overview of the results from the research and recommendations for the direction of the brand as a whole.
A design concept normally takes the form of a visual identity (logo) with rationales for each option. This will also include graphical elements, typography, imagery and colours. It should outline ways in which the components can be used in different mediums, in different sizes as well as covering any potential sub brands, products or services streams.
Evaluate brand concepts
Design is subjective so it will be imperative to review more than one concept. A brand can also evoke emotion from people, so getting buy-in internally and externally early on in the process is almost essential to ensure that there is no disconnect.
Logo/brand design stages
Rome wasn’t built in a day and a brand will not be born without many iterations. After receiving feedback you will most likely go through a collaborative process to develop the final logo (brand identity) and this is where the brand style will be determined by refining the concepts into official guidelines.
Ensure that you receive all the graphical elements, typography, base image library and a set of branding guidelines in a variety of formats to ensure full use across multiple areas. This would at the very minimum include final primary logo in JPG/ TIF/ EPS/ PDF formats, secondary logo options (e.g. whiteout versions, alternative colour versions) as well as the colour palette in Pantone, CMYK and RGB references.
Your official brand guidelines should provide the following overview for your employees, partners, suppliers and other stakeholders.
- Mission Statement; a concise and compelling statement to establish the visual and verbal tone of your output to both employees and the marketplace as a whole.
- Logo rules; outlines of how and when the logo can be used and in what format. This will cover exclusion zones, negative space, graphic elements, colours, images and different mediums.
- Colour-ways; provides a guide to the colour palette, where and how certain elements can be used.
- Typography; an overview of typefaces and header styles to be used throughout the collateral. This area will cover general typography, type alignment, spacing, positioning and negative space.
- Graphic element usage; highlights how and when any graphic elements can be used throughout the brand. This may include specific icons, info-graphics and illustrations.
- Employee templates; this will be a set of employee templates in various formats (e.g. PowerPoint, Word), these will allow employees to use pre-defined styles to assist in presentations, collateral etc.
- Imagery; outlines the style of imagery to be used throughout the brand to help promote consistency and introduce a clear image style in your marketing, including colour setting, composition, feel, background options and quality.
- Practical scenarios; more often it’s becoming required for comprehensive branding guidelines to illustrate practical scenarios for do’s and don’t when creating different types of marketing collateral.
If you are about to embark on a journey to create a new brand or refresh an existing one, just give us a call for a friendly chat on how we could help.