Why you need a Branding Document
4 Nov 2015
Your brand is the face of your business, and whether you spent millions on brand development or knocked up a logo in Microsoft Word at 3 o'clock in the morning you need to be thinking about what your brand says about your company.
It's all about your brand
People often underestimate the importance of brand consistency, but think of it like this: if potential clients are seeing different logos, typography, colours, images etc. on your signwriting, website, social media accounts, printed materials and so on then how are you ever going to stick in their mind? How will they know that they can trust to come to you when they require your products or services? Will they feel confident that they've come to the right place? Will they even remember your company's name? Probably not.
So how can you resolve the dilemma of retaining consistency when you use "John's Mobile Signwriting" for creating your vehicle advertising, "Valerie's Print Shop" for printing your business cards, "Rasheed's Creative" for producing your brochures and "Dominique's Digital" for building your website? They're probably not talking to each other. In fact Rasheed used to work for Valerie and they had a big falling out! And don't get us started on how Valerie and Dominique seem to speak different languages when it comes to design. The answer to resolving this consistency conundrum is simple. Have you ever heard of the saying "just making sure we're all singing from the same hymn sheet"? That's your branding document. Your branding document is your company's visual hymn sheet, and every time you hand it over to somebody who is doing creative or visual work for you, they will know and understand what they can or can't do with your brand. No inconsistent, individual interpretations that don't join up. And no translations necessary either.
A branding document or brand guideline pack will:
- Ensure that your brand is communicated consistently across all platforms and mediums
- Act as a visual rulebook for both digital and print designers to prevent them going on dangerous self-expressive artistic missions that don't relate to your message (it happens!)
- Enlighten your staff as to what your message is and help them to maintain consistency from within the company
So what should a branding document contain?
Depending on the scale of your brand and the size of your company your branding document could vary wildly! I've seen branding documents that are literally hundreds of pages long and others that are only a few pages long. Typically, though, there are some things that should generally be communicated.
A branding document should almost always contain information on:
- The history of the company as well as some sort of mission statement
- Logo variations - common variants include single colour versions, social media icons, and logos with and without straplines
- Logo usage, including safety zones, minimum and maximum sizes and examples of where it is and isn't okay to use the logo, as well as which variation to use where
- The corporate colour palette with colour breakdowns for print and web use - ideally four values for each colour should be given (HEX, RGB, CMYK and Pantone)
- Typography, including official corporate fonts as well as possible fallback fonts for use on the web etc.
A branding document can also contain other branding considerations such as:
- Image styles and what type of photography should be used
- Business card, compliments slip and letterhead designs
- T Shirt, uniform or other clothing styles and designs
- Signage specifications
- Social media guidelines
- Website layout
- Copywriting guidelines
It works for you
A branding document can be as concise or as detailed as you require it to be. One thing your branding document should ensure is that your brand identity is always maintained whilst giving designers the flexibility to be able to create the best designs for you.
We look forward to hearing from you.
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