What Are Brand Guidelines?

by | Branding

Brand guidelines are also referred to as brand style guides, and it is a composition of building blocks that create a brand’s overall appearance. 

This unique composition includes elements such as the logo, colours, fronts, visuals, voice and tone, and many more. 

The looks of a brand aren’t simply for aesthetics either because it ties into the general feeling of the brand. It also contributes to the brand’s consistency and acts as a reference whenever it presents itself to the public.  

A brand without proper and effective brand guidelines will only result in a haphazard design that fails to resonate with the audience or the core of a brand’s identity.

Therefore, there is no doubt that brand guidelines are equally as important as other components of a brand’s identity. 

How Should I Design My Brand Guidelines?

As aforementioned, there are numerous elements included in a brand guideline. Brand guidelines include important aspects such as the logo, font, visuals and many more.  

However, the concept of brand guidelines is still confusing for some. After all, we hadn’t covered how these elements work in tandem with brand identity! 

Thus, we’ve compiled a short list of components that any brand owner should take note of: 

1. A Memorable Typeface or Logo 

The logo is akin to the face of your brand.  It is the first thing that consumers will associate with a brand.  

Therefore, a memorable logo is essential to create a lasting impact on consumers at a glance.  The brand’s logo should also be consistent and feature different variations for varied purposes. 

The logo design should also reflect qualities that convey the brand.  

For example, Secret Recipe is a simple typeface on a red background, and the logo’s simplicity expresses the feeling of mystery.  The italic font also conveys a sense of refined elegance that perfectly describes their sophisticated menu of foreign and local delicacies.  

READ MORE: Branding Vs Marketing: Difference Between Branding and Marketing

2. Colour Palette 

All well-known brands and smart business owners are aware that the colour palette is integral to the delivery of a brand. After all, humans are visual creatures that digest visual cues best.  

The overall palette of a brand should complement the brand’s identity.  

For example, the colour palette for Mister Potato mainly consists of vibrant colours.  

The choice of vibrant colours is suitable for a fun and casual food brand mainly consumed by children, teens and young adults.  

However, brand identity isn’t the only factor to take into account. The colour palette should also be complementary.  

For instance, a pastel pink font on a white background lacks contrast.  It becomes a combination that is difficult for customers to read.    

3. Suitable Typography 

Typography is the composition of a brand’s logo and palette. It adds “personality” to the brand and contributes to initial impressions. 

Aspects of typography that can be tweaked include weight, direction, length, spacing and many more.  

Depending on how typography is used, it can completely alter the feeling of your brand! 

For example, OldTown White Coffee features unique typography. The word “OldTown” is significantly larger than the “White Coffee” under it, adding an emphasised focus to the image of an “old town” kopitiam setting. 

READ MORE: Branding in the era of IR4.0 Malaysia  

4. Brand Aesthetic 

Every brand should have a consistent aesthetic for any image. This consistency can be in the form of a specific filter, photography style or even overlays and edits. 

Aspects such as a consistent aesthetic supplement the style of a brand. 

When consumers associate a particular style with your brand, they’ll immediately know “it’s you” whenever your brand uploads new visual content. 

Maniqure is an excellent example of a consistent brand aesthetic. This nail salon has a pattern of showcasing new designs in artistic and soothing ways through photoshoots and elegant typography.  

However, photos aren’t the only method to cement a brand aesthetic. Mediums such as illustrations and art are also artistic ways to convey. 

5. Brand Voice 

Forming a brand is akin to character creation. A brand has a specific way of communicating and connecting with consumers.

A local and casual brand might have a brand voice that incorporates local slang and dialect, while a high-end brand tends to have a sophisticated and refined vocabulary. 

 It also gives customers a first impression of the kind of brand that they are interacting with.  To consumers, it’s getting to know a brand through the way they talk- similar to a person.   

For instance, The Chicken Rice Shop uses a combination of English and Malay words. This combination invokes a feeling of familiarity and resonates with the locals.  

It also gives newcomers the idea that this restaurant is a local brand!  

READ MORE: SSM Business Name: 5 Tips Choosing a Business Name in SSM

…And Many More Elements Make Good Brand Guidelines!

We’ve only covered a few crucial points in forming brand guidelines. But these few points are core to the diversity of brand guideline conventions.  

As long as you understand how these elements tie into creating a compelling brand identity, you’re one step closer to being a master in creating brand guidelines. 

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