Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple, and McDonald’s. What do these companies have in common? In this article, we discuss the Benefits of Having a Brand Board & Guidelines
At first, the question might not have an obvious answer but if you think harder you will notice one common feature. All these firms have a great brand identity that makes billions of people instantly recognize them. The creation of such an effective brand image is not a breezy task as it requires consistency in the usage of all visual assets.
A brand board and guidelines are ultimate solutions if you want to create an effective visual representation of your business.
Below we uncover the impact a well-structured brand board can have on a company, what it should include, and which aspects should be considered before its creation.
What is a Brand Board?
Before getting an answer to the question, let’s clarify what brand is in terms of design.
A brand is a visual representation of a company or product. This representation is very useful in creating an image and associations within the minds of end-clients. Once you think about a certain company inside an industry and know how it looks across different communication channels, it is a great example of successful branding. The value of visual assets should not be underestimated, as they serve as a distinct feature of a business.
So, what is actually the brand board?
The brand board is a document containing all visual brand elements. The board covers items like logo, color palette, specifics of visual elements positioning and presentation across different channels of communication with customers.
The main value of brand boards is the ability to provide all design assets and express the brand’s values and uniqueness at a glance.
Brand guidelines accompany brand boards. These guidelines are represented in the form of a document that describes how your brand is positioned, how it can and cannot look throughout online and offline mediums.
The importance of brand guidelines lies is in building consistency across all communication channels. Guidelines help businesses look and sound the same when they communicate with their clients through visual means and media.
Brand guidelines clearly state the rules and include all possible variants of usage for the following design elements:
This one is the most vivid element symbolizing a company. It is necessary to specify logo display on different backgrounds, provide restrictions for its sizes as well as color variations. Since a logo is a company’s property, a wise idea is to indicate it alongside with wordmarks, if such options are applicable.
Also, to better convey the idea, it is possible to display how it is improper to use the logo. For instance, designers can showcase such instances by placing a logo on different backgrounds, changing its colors, sizes, and other elements that contradict the established rules in the guide.
For the inspiration, take a look at Starbucks, Nike, Coca-Cola, Chanel and other famous brands that nailed the creation of company logos and their guides.
Each brand should use a limited number of fonts and typefaces. All possible variations of fonts, their sizes and hierarchy should also be a part of the guidelines. Great examples of successful use of typography include such brands as Netflix, BBC, and Uber.
Color pallets are an integral part of brand identity. They should be limited to a few. Colors should stay in sync with the logo and contemplate it when used in the design.
By including RGB (e.g. #FFFFFF) and CMYK color codes (e.g. cmyk -100%, 0%, 0%, 0%) and allowed shades of colors, it is possible to ensure brand consistency on the web as well as in print formats.
A great example of such combinations in Google Visual Assets Guidelines, where the company provides possible variations of its color palette.
Brand identity does not resolve only around logos. Different icons and visual elements that are used to identify a product also become a part of it. Brand guidelines also explain how icons and graphics should and shouldn’t look and provide visual examples of both. The above-mentioned guidelines by Google clearly illustrate such instances.
Any brand wants to share some explicit messages with its target audience. It is important to know what the message needs to convey to its customers and in which tone it communicates through all visual means and throughout different mediums.
A good practice is to include all visual elements in different environments. Such examples usually include mockups of business cards, email signatures, placement of logo on T-shirts, cups, and other branded items.
Brand Board and Guidelines & Their Importance for Brands
All big companies have established brand guidelines that help to follow the same image throughout all mediums. Such manuals have a huge value for a brand and their importance should not be underestimated.
Below you can see the list of key benefits of creating and following brand guidelines.
As was already mentioned, consistency plays a huge role in creating a brand identity. Every time customers interact with your company and product they create some perception of your brand. For example, they can scroll through a website, check a business card, receive marketing materials or see the product’s packaging.
Companies that have brand guidelines can easily sustain their brand identity. These guides are valuable both for in-company teams that are working on marketing materials and for partners who need to use a logo on their website and in social media.
A brand is the most prized possession and intangible asset that could worth billions like in the case of Coca Cola. In the long run, it helps to cover the cost to build an app, expenses to create a new product or money spent on company development.
Unified resource for a reference
Brand guidelines are a necessity, especially for big companies. Even if one team is working on a project, new employees may join, who naturally do now know how visual materials are utilized. Here is where brand guidelines come in handy.
They consist of ground rules for logo usage and wordmarks, how spacing should be applied, a hierarchy of colors and fonts as well as which changes are acceptable and which are not. This way, it is possible to avoid confusion with brand expansion. If a company is involved in franchising, brand guidelines will help all its franchisee companies to have unified image.
The brand design aims to make a company or product easily rememberable and reliable in the eyes of customers. By being consistent throughout communication channels, it is possible to become a highly recognized brand.
For the company, it means that clients can distinguish the brand from competitors. When the time comes, they are more likely to choose the company or product they know rather than the one that does not strike recognition.
Brand identity outlines the main message that a brand wants to send to the target audience. Brand guidelines with strictly define voice, tone, and visual elements will help all team members understand the importance of sending the same message through all communication channels.
Minimization of time waste
Creating a new marketing campaign or coming up with new design ideas – these actions should be based on the unified brand guidelines too. Each team engaged in the department should have access to the manual and clearly understand how and when to use each visual element. This way, employees save time and efforts on the creation of marketing campaigns, promo materials, etc., resulting in higher efficiency and cost minimization.
Expansion to new markets & creation of new products
Brand guidelines become especially important if a company releases a new product or solution into the market. With their guidance, it is easier to turn a product into an integral part of your company and uphold the established brand rules and values.
It should be mentioned that a new product can be separated from the main service. With the help of visuals that deviate from brand guidelines, it is possible to create a new identity and associations in the minds of clients.
Long-time intangible asset for a company
Brand boards and guidelines are an integral part of a big mission of creating a brand identity. They quickly make up for the resources spent on their creation. In the long run, brand guidelines bring undisputable value to the company, helping it to reach new heights with the powerful tool of visual brand representation.
All famous brands have their own carefully-designed manuals that help them to promote their services and products successfully.
Why Do You Need to Create Brand Board & Guidelines: Concluding Thoughts
In the modern world, where thousands of new companies are created daily, having brand guidelines is a must-have requirement.
Brand boards are not made out of the air. A lot of factors should be considered before getting started, namely:
- Audience analysis – brand identity should resonate with customers. Designers need to work together with marketers to identify the target audience, their interests, pains, and desires. Knowing the audience is the key to building a consistent brand identity that stands out from the crowd.
- Audit of grand elements – if a company has been on the market for some time and wants to rebrand, it is necessary to study all its former visuals and its messages These elements either should be redesigned according to the new brand vision or added to brand guidelines without changes. Also, it is possible to provide a visual comparison between old and new elements to help team members better understand which changes were made.
Once brand guidelines are ready and polished, it is important to make them available to designers, marketers, and everyone working at a company. Then, it is important to ensure that they understand the described rules and sustain them when they create various materials in their departments.
To sum things up, brand positioning influences every aspect of business operations and servers as the stepping stone for all marketing activities. It should be approached carefully and well-documented to avoid confusion among team members, clients, and even partners. The long-lasting effects of brand guidelines clearly outweigh the costs and efforts dedicated to their creation, regular revisions, and updates.
We hope these Benefits of Having a Brand Board & Guidelines have been helpful, and if you would like to learn more about Brand Strategy we highly recommend Brand Master Secrets its a fantastic online course and worthwhile investment.
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Ana Lastovetska is a technology writer at MLSDev, a web and mobile app development company in Ukraine. She has been researching the field of technologies to create educative content of distinct topics including app development, UX/UI design, tech & business consulting, etc. The opportunity to deliver information for people who want to understand more about IT and app development processes is something that inspires Ana.
Also published on Medium.