A Fresh Guide: How to Develop Brand Guidelines

We're excited to chat about the exciting and essential topic of brand guidelines.

A Fresh Guide: How to Develop Brand Guidelines

After all, brand development is where creativity meets strategy to shape a unique identity for your business. A Brand guideline creates branding consistency.

So, what exactly are brand guidelines? Think of them as the rulebook for your brand. It's kind of like a set of instructions that helps your team be on the same page when it comes to representing your brand.

It’s much more interesting than a typical “rulebook”. A brand guideline is full of visuals, examples, inspiration, and more.

Why are they so crucial, you ask? Well, imagine your brand as a story; brand guidelines are the storyteller’s guide, ensuring consistency and coherence across various chapters. 

Let's begin the wonderful journey of brand identity. Discover how to create guidelines that connect with your audience. Brand guidelines also sets your brand apart in the crowded marketplace.

Here’s a sneak peak of what we’ll be covering:

  • Understanding Your Brand 
  • Components of Brand Guidelines 
  • Tone of Voice and Messaging 
  • Imagery and Photography 
  • Updating and Maintaining Brand Guidelines 
  • Examples of Successful Brand Guidelines

Understanding Your Brand 

In order to understand your brand you need to define your brand identity, identify your target audience, and run a brand audit. These elements are the foundation of branding. 

Defining Your Brand Identity 

In order to define your brand you need to outline your brand values, create a mission statement, and define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). A mission statement is the reason for existence. Your company values are closely tied to your mission statement.

A USP, or Unique Selling Proposition, is like the secret ingredient in your brand's secret sauce that makes it stand out from the competition and leaves a memorable impression on your audience.

Identifying Target Audience 

Finding your target audience is like playing matchmaker for your brand. You want to connect with the people who will not just appreciate but truly adore what you bring to the table! Think of it as curating your own group of enthusiasts who share your vibe. Identifying your target audience is about finding your tribe in this big, online world.

What should you know about your target audience? Great question! Gather information about your target audience’s demographics, behaviors, and interests, paint points, etc.

The more information you have, the better. Understand who you’re talking to and what motivates them. Once you have a clear picture of your brand and who it serves, you can continue to build your brand and share it effectively.

Components a Brand Guideline

Now we’re getting to the good stuff! Let’s talk about important elements your brand guideline needs when it comes to visual Identity. Visual identity is what makes your business instantly recognizable and leaves a lasting impression.

1. Logo Usage 

  • Clear Space and Size 
  • Color Variations 
  • Incorrect Usage Examples 

2. Typography 

  • Font Selection 
  • Size and Spacing 
  • Usage in Different Media 

3. Color Palette 

  • Primary and Secondary Colors 
  • Color Codes 
  • Application Guidelines

It’s like a style guide that tells you what looks good and what doesn’t. You’re basically creating a personal stylist for the brand. Make sure no one dresses your brand with off season materials.

Tone of Voice & Messaging

Defining Brand Voice

Think of your brand voice like your BFF's texting style – it's that unique flavor that makes your brand stand out in the conversation. Is it spirited, formal, or all about the emojis? Define it, own it, and let it be the star of your brand's communication show!

Tone Guidelines for Different Platforms

Imagine your brand's voice is a chameleon – it adapts but never loses its essence. Whether you're tweeting, posting on Insta, or sending a carrier pigeon (just kidding), adjust your tone to fit the vibe of each platform. It's like speaking the language of the cool kids, no matter where they hang out!

Messaging Consistency

Consistency is key – not just in sending good morning texts but also in your brand messaging. From your website to social media, keep that messaging ship sailing smoothly. Making sure your brand speaks the same language, no matter where it's heard.

Imagery, Icons, & Illustrations, Oh My! 

Image style can be full of creativity, with vibrant hues and jaw-dropping compositions that make your brand pop. Photo usage guidelines treat your visuals like VIPs, ensuring they steal the spotlight on websites and social media. Icons and illustrations are like the emojis of the design world – cute, expressive, and capable of speaking a thousand words without uttering a single syllable.

Clarify How to Apply Branding Across Platforms

Break down what the rules are for the brand on each platform. Clear is kind. There’s less room for mistakes, and your brand will look very put together everywhere it goes. From Web Design to Social Media, make sure your brand is easy to spot with its signature look and feel. 

1. Website Design 

  • Header and Footer Guidelines 
  • Page Layouts

2. Social Media 

  • Profile Image and Header 
  • Post Design and Captions 

3. Print Materials

  • Business Cards 
  • Brochures and Flyers

Feel free to shake things up and get creative. How does the brand look on a blanket, a billboard, a dog collar? You can show all the imaginative ways to show off your brand!

Updating and Maintenance 

Just like wardrobes need a seasonal refresh, so does your brand. Refine your brand and guideline without turning it into a saga. Make sure each tweak adds value like thoughtful accessories to a well styled outfit. 

Internally, your communication needs to be as clear as a headline newsflash. Straightforward updates ensure everyone is on the same wavelength, becoming the talk of the water cooler. Apply timeless strategies and subtle tweaks to keep that freshness alive. 

Final Thoughts

From defining your brand's soul to picking the perfect color palette, we've shared our nuggets of wisdom. Now, here's the real kicker – consistent implementation. Be the advocate your brand deserves, and fight for that consistency! As we wrap up, remember, brand guidelines aren't just rules- They're the heartbeat of your brand. 

Want a hand with your branding? We've got some passionate branding pro's on our team at Always Fresh. We'll dig into the heart of your brand with you. Then we'll do all the heavy lifting, creating brand guidelines, brand strategy, visuals, content- you name it!

Let’s turn your brand into a legend together! Always Fresh is your trusty guide. So let’s make your brand story unforgettable!

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