How to Write a Brand Guide Book
What is a brand guide book?
A brand guide book is a document that sets specific guidelines for perpetuating brand identity in all external and internal communications.
What do I need to create a brand guide book?
The brand guide book is commonly focused on the use of logo, the use of color, image and photo manipulation, and the tone of voice for the business.
There are three key elements in a brand guide book. These key elements are the about, the visual guidelines, and the communication guidelines, which we will expand more into in the next section.
There are eight key components of a brand guide book that must be targeted, these are: the cover, the contents, the slogan and history of the business, the logo instructions, the color instructions, the font instructions, the graphics instructions, and the positioning. We will expand into the eight key components within the next couple of sections.
What are the Three Key Elements?
The ‘About’ section focuses on four topics: the company mission, the company vision and core values, the company’s brand persona, and the company’s target audience.
The ‘Mission’ should be in the opening lines of the brand style guide. Having a company mission leads to differentiation, inspires greater consumer engagement, and leads to hiring talent that fits company’s vision. It should be devoid of any vague concepts. The company should establish its mission on the following grounds: What is your company’s purpose and its reason for being? What is the difference it is trying to make?
The ‘Vision and Core Values’ guides the brand and all of the business decisions. It points towards long-term objectives, such as gaining brand awareness, trust and customers’ loyalty. Some helpful questions to establish the company vision and core values are: How big do you want your company to get? Do you plan to branch out with products and services not currently offered? What kind of legacy do you want your business to leave behind?
The ‘Brand Persona’ is a guide for a company’s messaging. It defines the qualities that characterize the company and it is vital for getting the right tone of voice for messaging across all communication channels. A well-defined consistent messaging makes it easier for customers to connect and identify with your brand.
The ‘Target Audience’ is the most important thing to define. Knowing your market segment narrows down your audience’s focus and allows for the company message to be tailored to specific demographics. Some helpful questions are: What type of people do you want to use your products? Which people would you like to visit your site and subscribe to your newsletters? What are your audience’s needs, wants, and values – and how do you factor into them?
The ‘Visual Guidelines’ section focuses on the ‘Logo’, which is the placement, the variations for different platforms and channels, the colors, the size, and the proportions; the ‘Colors’, which is the primary and secondary colors, as well as the monochrome version; the ‘Font and Typography’, which is the corporate typography that will be used in headlines and in the bodies of text in official documents; the ‘Photography’, which is the style and the guidelines for consistent presentation, the ‘Brandmark’, which is where to use it; and other topics, such as patterns, textures, graphics, and icons.
The ‘Communication Guidelines’ section focuses on the ‘Language’, which is the official language or languages; the ‘Style’, such as the formatting and whether to use technical or non-technical; the ‘Tone of Voice’, like professional, logical, humorous, etc.; the ‘Social Media Presence’, such as posting types, posting times, and the style; the ‘Emails’, such as the structure, the signature, and the tone; and the ‘Readability and Grammar’, which is the types of sentences, the lengths, the capitalizations, the numbers, the abbreviations, and the acronyms.
What do the eight key components cover?
The ‘Cover’ of the brand guide book showcases the essential elements of your brand identity.
The ‘Contents’ of the brand guide book display a Table of Contents in a solid font for easy and logical navigation.
In the ‘Slogan and History’, the Company’s mission, goals, dreams, and values are discussed. In this section, it is important to share the story behind the brand, the company’s story.
In the ‘Logo Instructions’ there should be multiple variations to fit different carriers and surfaces. It should include: colors, black and white logo, the sizes, how much blank space is left around the logo, where each logo version is used, and it is very important to list unacceptable logo uses.
In the ‘Color Instructions’, it is important to list the main, additional, and accentuate colors that characterize the company’s essence, the no-go colors and shades, and to showcase color samples with their Pantone color system codes and how color each must be used.
In the ‘Font Instructions’, list the fonts (most brands use 1-2 main fonts, 1 additional font, and substitute fonts), list where each font must be used and the minimum and maximum type sizes, as well as the appropriate letter spacing and line spacing and any other parameters, such as alignments.
In the ‘Graphics Instructions’ showcase imagery that reflects who the company is. You can search major stock photography sites for appropriate graphics or use your own photos. It is necessary to have imagery for different uses, which photo editing tools and filters to use, which imagery to avoid and to list other illustrations, interactive elements, videos, etc. that can be used and a variety of ways to match images with different texts and logos.
In the ‘Positioning’ your brand voice defines the way you communicate with your audience. Use the qualities that describe your brand and rely on them to build your positioning. List words that can and cannot be used and use a coherent tone of voice across all communication channels.
What is the benefit of creating and utilizing a brand guide book?
A brand guide book gives your business consistency and adhesion, sets the company’s tone, personality, and identity, and over time, fosters customer trust and loyalty, amplifies recognition, and boosts sales performance. It also establishes and promotes a unique corporate culture and identity, resulting in higher employee retention.
How do I create a brand guide book?
When it comes to creating a brand guide book, there are 3 methods:
One method is Logaster, through which you can create the brand guide book yourself with guidance and a platform. This is a great option for those with zero knowledge of graphic design and they offer a demo book.
The next method is Designer, through which you can hire a designer to create your brand guide book. It is recommended to check out the designer’s portfolio to ensure that it lines up with your vision and advanced payment is required, so you want to ensure that you choose the right designer. You will need to provide detailed specifications and guidance throughout the process. For this method, you can use any freelance website, some examples are: Upwork, Fiverr, and People Per Hour.
The other method is Graphic Editors. This method is great for those with experience working in graphic editing programs, since you will be creating the entire brand guide book yourself. Some graphic programs that can be used are: Adobe Indesign, Adobe Photoshop, and Visme. You can also choose a ready-to-use template from programs, such as: Stockindesign, Desginfreebies, and Venngae.
How do I print a brand guide book?
You can either use an online service. This is a web-to-print technology and it is a fast and easy way to print out a multitude of documents. Some online platforms are: Vistaprint and Printful.
Another option is to use a print shop. You can use your local printing company; however, just ensure that your file meets the shop’s requirements.
You can also print at home. Make sure to use a high-quality printer that supports your select type of paper.