What are Brand Guidelines

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When a company invests in an identity for their organisation it is imperative that the logo sets the tone for how the business is visually communicated. Uniformed design with a consistent visual language that communicates a desired public perception is the cornerstone that all successful businesses are built upon. In order to achieve this level of visual consistency, brand guidelines are essential. In this article we give you the definitive answer on one of our most common client queries, What are Brand Guidelines.

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What are Brand Guidelines?

Brand guidelines are a set of rules that define how your brand visually communicates to your customer base. Brand guidelines explain how your brand is to be represented both internally and externally. This is done by sticking to fundamental design rules based on your business ethos, principals, identity, colour palette, imagery, typography, advertising, stationary suite and copywriting. Brand guidelines are essential is maintaining a visual and tonal consistency for your brand.

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Why is it important for your business to have Brand Guidelines?

Brand guidelines are an essential tool used to communicate your organisation’s message consistently to your target audience. Think of brand guidelines as the equivalent of a movie script. Would a movie studio shoot an expensive movie without have a script? The answer is of course not, it is too much of a risk. Your business should be no different. Brand guidelines relay who you are to your audience. In an increasingly competitive and noisy market place to be able to speak to your audience with a consistent visual message is the difference in being successful or not. By setting stringent rules of visual communication for your company, you are drastically reducing the risk of presenting your brand in a visually inconsistent light.

As well as maintaining a consistent message, brand guidelines can also save you money. By having an organised message, set branding rules and pre-prepared design templates for both online and print, you ensure that future design is turned out quickly and in a cost effective manner.

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When should your Business have Brand Guidelines?

The simple answer is you should invest in brand guidelines at the same time as you design your logo. A business is not just about a logo, it’s about a message and being consistent with the message. If you decide to hire different designers for your logo design, web design and printed material, it always leads to inconsistency in the overall brand design. By having a set of guidelines from day one, you ensure that all your branding maintains a consistent visual message.

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What should be included in your Brand Guidelines?

Below we have noted some key areas to consider when developing one’s brand guidelines. The guidelines should be able to instruct future users on what your brand is about, how it is to be presented visually and give the reader precise technical instructions of both online and printed mediums.

Business Overview: Your history, personality, vision and values.

Mission statement: What your business wants to achieve, preserve and guarantee their clients.

Tone of Voice: This is how the company wants to be seen and heard. This is achieved through the tone of the copy and visual language.

Logo Usage: This is how the logo should be presented. This includes size restrictions, backgrounds, space restrictions, various versions and do’s and don’t’s on the logo usage.

Colour Palette: These are the primary and secondary colours that should be used both online and in print.

Type Styling: These are the primary and secondary typefaces that should be used both online and in print.

Image Styling: This sets the tone of what images and illustrations that should be used with the brand. In some cases brand guidelines come with a bank of images and illustrations that are to be exclusively used for the brand.

Templates: This usually involves layouts for the stationary suite including business cards, letterheads and complimentary slip. Additional templates for both online and printed materials can also be included depending on the amount of brand that is commissioned by the client.

For any more information regarding our article entitled ‘What are Brand Guidelines’ or to avail of our services please call Opus Creative on +353 (21) 242 8689 or email us on hello@opuscreative.ie


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