How to Create an Amazing Brand Guide
Today I'll be discussing why creating a brand guide is crucial for your brand. So let's dig in and start with the why. Say you've spent hours upon hours creating a brand you finally love (trust me, I know how hard that can be) but you skip on creating a brand guide. It's pretty much like writing your a novel and not hitting save once. You put so much hard work into creating this amazing project and in the end you don't have a home for it. All that time and effort eventually becomes lost and you are back to square one. Scary, right?!
By putting the time into creating a brand guide you have a place to reference your style guides when needed. How easy would it be if you decided to make business cards and instead of guessing the colour you've used in your brand you could easily get the correct colour code in seconds. Having a brand guide will keep your brand in check and consistent at all times, and not only that but will save you a toooon of time down the road.
So what goes in a brand guide you ask? Let's break it down:
The first thing you want in your brand guide is your logos. I say 'logos' because you most likely have your primary logo and your secondary logo. If you only have a primary logo then that's totally fine, you'll only have to worry about one. If you do have both types of logos make sure the primary one is at the top because it is after all, your main logo.
Next you want to add your logo again but this time inverted on a dark background. This is a quick and easy way to see how your logo will look against a dark background. You should have already tested this out when designing your brand as I've describe in my, How to Create A killer Brand post. If the logo is hard to read when it's inverted then you need to rework your logo so it looks legible in all formats.
Next I will add any graphics I use in my brand. For example, I use the pencil icon that is in my logo, as my favicon (browser icon) and in the future I could use it on business cards or social media graphics if I choose to. If you have more than one graphic make sure to add it but you shouldn't go overboard on your graphics, keep it minimal to avoid a cluttered brand. Less is more!
When adding colours to your brand guide it is suuuper important that you also add the correct colour codes. This ensures you are always using your brand colours instead of guessing a colour that looks similar. To do this follow the steps below in Illustrator:
1. Once you have your colours laid out how you like ( I have them in circles in the image above) click on a colour. I've selected the black in the photo above.
2. Once you have clicked on a colour go over to the colour picker (the black square on my screen) in the left toolbar.
3. The colour picker window will pop up and you will want to copy the code # that I have selected in the image (#221f1f).
4. Paste that code under the colour in your brand guide. Continue doing this until all your colours have their code in place.
Aside from colour, typography is another important item you want to make sure you have in your brand guide. You want to stick to 2-3 fonts for your brand, too many fonts becomes confusing and you start to lose your brands identity.
I like to type the title of the font in the actual font that I'm displaying. For example, I used Brandon Grotesque Bold to type out the ABC's and numbers. By displaying lowercase, uppercase, and numbers you get to see the font used in different formats.
If you have any patterns or shapes in your brand then you will also want to include them in your brand guide. Just like fonts, I like to keep any patterns or shapes to 2-3 at most.
If you are designing a brand guide for your blog then including your blog graphics is something you don't want to skip on. By showing what your blog graphics should look like you will always have it as a reference.
Finally, the last thing I like to include is a few images of my brand inspiration. I use a few of my favourite pins from my Pinterest inspiration board that represents my brand and style the best. Having these images in my brand guide act as a reminder for me of the style I'm after, which prevents me from going in a different direction.
Above are the important things to add to your brand guide however you can also add anything else you find might be important.
Above is my example of a brand board using all of the elements I explained in this post. If you would like to download this template to use for your own brand click the button below. You will also gain access to my resource library filled with workbooks, resource sheets, and more!
Please note this template will only work in Adobe Illustrator CS4 and higher.
If you don't have Illustrator there are a few other options for creating your brand guide. I recently came across frontify.com. After playing around with it I found it to be easy to use and they have a free plan if you don't want to pay.
I hope this was helpful! I'd love to see your finished brand guides :)
Also, if there is anything design related or blog related that you would like to learn please let me know if the comment section, I'm always on the lookout for good content to provide you with.
Phew, that was a lot, but creating a brand takes a lot of work and I want to help you as much as I can and that's why I put together the Create Your Brand ebook and workbook.
it will give you the right tools and actions to help you build your brand from start to finish. This book will not only help you build your brand but you will also learn important branding elements along the way so you're not left in the dark.
Click the image above to find out more and to get your copy!