If you run a business or organization, one of the most frustrating situations you can be in is finding that you are unhappy with how your brand looks to the public.
You may have said, "I'm fine with anything" because you were too busy running your organization to consider how you wanted your brand to look to your customers, only to realize that you weren’t actually happy at all.
Having brand guidelines (also known as brand guides or brand style guides) can help you avoid this WHOLE situation by giving you a basic guide to how your brand should look and sound.
And yes, brand guidelines can be extremely helpful regardless of how big or small your brand is. Here is how.
One of the easiest ways for customers to identify you amongst the crowd is by having a consistent look, feel, and tone. This doesn’t mean using the same images repeatedly, but rather using something similar that shows your audience who you are and what you’re all about.
For example, if you're a brand that brings comfort to people you may want to use images of people hugging or holding hands and have warmer colours like oranges and reds.
This is a great way to avoid constantly redesigning your content which we know costs more money and time in the long run.
One way to keep all (or at least the majority) of your creative assets in one place is to have them as links in your brand guidelines. If files aren’t bookmarked on your computer they may fall by the wayside.
💡Pro Tip: Keep a zip file of the downloaded font on Google Drive then keep a link to it on your guideline.
While you're working on your brand guidelines, you’ll need to take a look at all of your creative assets to see how they can fit into your brand. This is the perfect time to prepare social media templates or any content that you think your audience would be interested in.
Some social media templates that you might want to have include: meeting your staff, future events or volunteer opportunities, FAQ, tips and tricks, client testimonials, services you provide, and special promotions or offers.
What Should Be Included
Your brand guidelines should include these sections:
Who are you targeting? What do you know about your customers in terms of demographics? What are their needs, attitudes, and challenges?
What are the different versions of your logo? What colours and fonts do they use?
What fonts will you be using?
If your brand was a person, how would they speak?
When your customers hear the name of your brand, what images do they associate you with? If you are taking your own images, what do you want your customers to see? If you are not taking your own pictures, what stock images will you be using?
What are your brand colours?
What platforms are you using? (If you're not sure, check out our blog post about choosing the right platforms for your business.) How do you want your social media to look? What messages do you want to send to your customers?
💡Pro Tip: Include your social media templates directly in the brand guidelines with links to your Canva files.
Special Occasions & Holidays
What dates do you want to celebrate throughout the year? Are you closed on those days? Do you have special offers for your customers?
Anything else that’s important to your brand!
Although putting together brand guidelines may seem like more work, this is a tool that can help you be organized, consistent, and prepared, and save time in the long run. It won’t solve all of your problems (we wish it could too!) but it can help you move in the right direction – and the more specific you are the better.
If you want help getting started contact us and we’ll be happy to help!