Post No. 55

How Brand Guidelines Keep Your Brand Strong

Imagine you’ve just invested in an amazing new logo that represents your business perfectly. You can’t wait to roll it out. As you think about your business cards, letterhead, website, social media profiles and office signage, your mind runs wild with the possibilities. You enlist your assistant to help order your business cards on VistaPrint. Next, you hire a web developer to refresh your website. Then you send the logo files to your printer for the front office sign.

Before you know it, your brand starts to stray. Those logo colors you loved look a little different on the new sign. Your web developer didn’t get the memo to use your logo fonts for the website headings. Your assistant put her own spin on the business card design. You get a sick feeling because your shiny new brand is starting to have all the issues you thought you left behind with your old brand — shifting colors, inconsistent fonts and skewed logo images. What’s the solution? Brand guidelines.

Brand guidelines are the key to keeping your new brand looking sharp for years to come. That’s why we suggest detailing your official logo variations, color swatch formulas, brand fonts, photo guidelines, web design elements, and more, as soon as your new logo is in place.

Your brand guidelines are the go-to resource for your team and anyone else you work with along the way. They help you keep your brand consistent for years to come.

Resist the Trends

Design trends come and go. Without strong brand guidelines in place, it is easy to get swept up in every design trend that comes along. Over time, your brand takes on multiple personalities and loses itself in the process. When you lose your brand identity, people no longer know who you are or what you stand for. Brand guidelines keep your brand focused so you can resist the pull of today’s design trends.

If you must succumb to some of today’s design trends, do it with your short shelf life content such as social media. As a rule of thumb, you want your core brand pieces (ex: logo, website, stationery) to be in strict alignment with your brand guidelines. These are long shelf life items you don’t want to change on a whim. Your brand guidelines help anchor these core brand pieces to a central design style.

If your goal is to build a brand that stands the test of time — brand guidelines are your best friend.

Consistency is King

Even bad brands that are displayed consistently and be surprisingly effective. Now, we’re not suggesting you try to get by with a bad brand. We’ve built our business around ridding the world of bad brands — one business at a time. But once you have a strong brand in place, you need to display it consistently to build brand recognition. When people remember you, they are more likely to call you when they need your services. On the contrary, if they can’t remember you, they are more likely to call your competitor.

Over time, the consistent use of your brand colors, font families and photography style will build brand recognition. People will start to associate your content with your brand before they even see your name or logo.

Consistency builds brand recognition and brand recognition builds business revenue.

Structure to Scale

When done correctly, your brand guidelines become a valuable resource for you, your team and anyone you enlist along the way to help build your brand. Like many things, when your brand is “all in your head” it also means you’re stuck doing it all yourself. On the flip side, when you document your brand guidelines, you set up a scalable structure. You are free to scale the implementation of your brand beyond your own capacity. It is an amazing feeling when you get to that point with your brand and other areas of your business.

The best time to capture your brand guidelines is right after you finalize your logo design and before you do anything else, like building your website. That way you formalize the look of your brand around the new logo right out of the gate. With your brand guidelines in place, you’re able to move forward with confidence when implementing your brand on your website and beyond.

Brand guidelines free you from doing 100% of your brand implementation while still having the peace of mind that everyone is working from the same playbook.

Are you tired of choosing between doing it all yourself or seeing your brand butchered by someone else? If so, it may be time to anchor your brand with some well-documented brand guidelines. Book a time to talk with Sarah, our Co-Founder & Brand Strategist, to start the conversation about regaining control of your brand.