Brand Identity Guide: Your Map to Success
KEY ELEMENTS TO A BASIC STYLE GUIDE
A large brand style guide can be a massive document. Adobe's corporate brand guidelines, for example, span over 60 pages long. Longform brand style guides such as these can cover everything from an overview of the brand, including history, vision and personality to writing style and voice.
They typically then go in to depth about logo specifications and examples of usage, typography palette, color palette, image use specifications (including photography style), letterhead and business card design, design layouts and grids for print and web-based projects, brochure guidelines, specifications for signage and outdoor advertising, social media guidelines and visual examples to support each rule (plus visual examples of proper and improper use for clarity).
Whew! Super overwhelming, right?
But while a huge international corporation such as Adobe may need such a manual, most small to medium businesses don't. With small organizational structures and fewer levels of decision makers to unite, a complex brand identity guide just isn't as necessary to get everyone on the same page.
But this doesn't mean you should be flying solo sans guide! @@If you're in business, whether you know it or not, you have a brand.@@ If you're a solopreneur, you are the brand. And at minimum you should spend some time defining these aspects of your visual identity. Hiring a professional design team to outline these things for you is a relatively simple undertaking though; so if the idea of selecting a complimentary color palette makes your eyes go crossed, outsourcing this task to the pros will be well worth your while.
Key Elements of a Simple Brand Identity Guide
1. PRIMARY LOGO
2. SUITABLE LOGO VARIATIONS
3. USAGE GUIDELINES
6. SUPPORTING GRAPHICS, ICONS, or PATTERNS
Once you have these items defined, creating all of your future marketing should be much easier. You now have a way to gauge whether something is "on brand" or not; or at least be forced to justify why you've decided to incorporate a font or color you've never used before.