What Is a Branding Guide, and Do You Need One?

There are many names for a branding guide: brand style guide, brand book, brand style book, to name a few. They all refer to a document that you create that describes how you want your brand to be communicated to the public.

Large companies will have their marketing teams create thick documents that stakeholders can follow when creating marketing materials to represent the company. Small businesses can benefit from creating an abbreviated version of a guide. Going through the process is extremely beneficial for an entrepreneur who needs clarity on how they want to be represented from a marketing standpoint as well as what they want their company to stand for.

Components of a Branding Guide

The first part of a branding guide is your logo. Your logo designer should have presented you with a logo kit once you approved the design. The logo kit includes several files of the logo in different file types and should include the original artwork. It should also include the numeric codes of the colors used and the font style name and where it was purchased.

The logo kit should also include several variations of your logo, such as a grayscale version (black and white), and a reverse version (where the colors are reversed to work on a dark background).

Your branding guide should make note of the logo files, the color codes, and the typography used in your logo. Additionally, you may want to create guidelines for how it can be used. A common example is how much spacing you want to require around the logo when it is displayed.

Some branding guides will describe styles for images to be used in marketing. For example, if you want all of your Instagram graphics to have a purple border 5 pixels thick, then you should include that in your guide. Another example is your letterhead; a copy should be included, and the template should be consistently used across your business.

The elements described above make up your brand identity. Your brand guide should also include other brand strategy elements. These can include:

  • Mission, vision, and values statements
  • Your personal story about why you started your business
  • A description of your ideal client. In marketing, this is called a persona
  • Messaging, which can include tag lines as well as descriptions of tone of voice and other details
  • Your positioning in the marketplace; how you would like clients to perceive you
  • Research on competitors and how they are positioned

You don’t have to have all of these elements to create a brand guide, but as you can see, completing these items is a great exercise to help you gain clarity about your brand. It also helps you to create a common look and feel across all of your marketing materials, which further strengthens and solidifies your brand.

If you’d like to find out more about creating a brand guide, feel free to contact us anytime.