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Create brand guidelines

Use case

Portray a consistent image across all messaging.

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1. Select a format for your brand guidelines that will be easily accessible by the members of your team and any additional partners, such as contractors or a marketing agency.

Consider how many users that are associated with your business will need to access the document when determining the best format to create it in. 

For example, if you have a small internal team that needs access to your brand guidelines, a simple PDF document may suffice. Or, if you have a number of contributors such as an agency and freelancers who regularly collaborate with you, it may be more convenient for everyone to host your brand guidelines online.

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2. Outline the elements that need to be covered in your brand guidelines to create a basic framework for the document.

Consider beginning this outline in an easily editable and shareable document you can come back to later if anything needs to be updated or adjusted. Your brand guidelines should include detailed information on the following categories:

  • Mission statement.
  • Values, purpose, and vision.
  • Brand personality.
  • Brand promise.
  • Brand voice and tone.
  • Target audience and buyer personas.
  • Logo and logo variations.
  • Color palette.
  • Typography style.
  • Iconography style.
  • Photography style.
  • Templates.
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3. Gather the assets that will be included in your brand guidelines from your team members, compile them into the document, and add detailed instructions for how each element should be used to represent your brand.

Collaborate with the designers and marketers to create each of the elements that make up your brand identity. The detailed instructions you add for each element might also include parameters for use and variations for certain elements. For example, you might have a different set of customized logos designed specifically for signage, and another for your social media platforms.

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4. Set specific usage rules for visual elements to identify how to best represent your brand identity.

Describe the specific parameters for how elements like your logo, brand colors, and typefaces should and shouldn’t be used. For example, you might specify no alterations should be made to the colors or hues of your logo. You might also have specifications for certain fonts being used as different types of headings within your content.

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5. Enforce your new brand guidelines by distributing the guide to all team members, contractors, or other third-party contributors, and hosting a training session for your team about implementation.

Hosting regular training to educate your team on your brand guidelines and best practices will ensure everyone stays on the same page for how to accurately and consistently represent your brand to maintain a positive brand reputation and public perception. Determine how often to hold new training sessions, depending on how many new team members and third-party contributors work with you.

Remember to establish an accessible way for everyone you work with to obtain and study your brand guidelines, whether you have an in-house copy, a downloadable version on your website, or both.

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6. Monitor your brand guidelines quarterly or bi-annually, and maintain them by adjusting or updating the elements and details to match any changes in your brand identity.

Be open to making adjustments to your brand guidelines if you need to correct any elements that are confusing to your audience or simply fluctuate over time with changes in your core audience or the market. Consider hosting regular strategy meetings with your team to analyze and address these types of concerns for your brand.

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Current Playbook:

Create brand guidelines

Sep 19, 2021

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