Today we’re going to talk about creating a Brand Identity Guide. You’ll learn why it’s so important to have, and how to create one. This guide can be applied to a company, theme, client website or anything that requires brand consistency. So let’s get started!
Why a Brand Identity Guide is Important
If you’re wondering why an identity guide is important, then you may as well be wondering why you should even have a website.
The reason you need an identity manual are as follows:
- To stay consistent without distorting the brand
- It will improve your marketing efforts and show that you’re confident
- You’ll understand you’re own tone, expression and character better. The more you refer too it, the more acquainted you’ll become with your own brand and the more focused it will become.
Sometimes you’ll hand your project off to someone else who knows nothing about your brand. Without an identity guide to refer too, it’ll seem like that person has a lack of respect or understanding for your brand, and rightfully so. With an identity guide you can avoid such ignorance.
Make sure that anyone who’s involved with your brand studies and understands the Identity Guide, you’ll be much happier for it.
Now that you understand the importance of an Identity Guide, join me as we explore how to create one.
"Make sure that anyone who’s involved with your brand studies and understands the Identity Guide, you’ll be much happier for it."
Step 1 - Explain Your Brand
Write a full description of your brand and what it stands for, containing the following:
- Values: What are the values that you want to set
- Voice: Create a list of words (adjectives) that explain your voice
- Uses: Where and how can the brand be used, including its symbols
- Mission: What is your mission statement? It’s important to identify a one sentence mission statement for any project. It gives you a clear focus of where you want the direction of your brand to go.
Step 2 - Set Specific Colors
Make sure to set the specific colors for your identity to maintain consistency. Your colors set the tone for your brand, so choose wisely.
Step 3 - Add Brand Elements
Add specific elements for your identity, including trademarks, image styles and brand signature (eg: email). These elements need to be consistent in all communications, including your website.
Step 3 - Set Typography
Try to limit your font choices down to two, but no more than three. Too many fonts will break the consistency of your visual identity (with the exception of your logo).
Include what type of spacing and line-heights you want and what situations each font can be used.
"Too many fonts will break the consistency of your visual identity."
Step 4 - Explain Your Styles
This is where you’ll define a few styles for your identity. Are your buttons flat, shiny, square, rounded or have gradients? Are you clean and minimalist, aggressive, abstract or abrasive?
These are important questions to answer when creating your visual identity. All of these will speak a different tone and if you don’t know what what they are, then you risk dropping off the consistency wagon. You can’t have shiny web 2.0 buttons on your website when your logo is a vintage style.
Step 5 - Set Appropriate Backgrounds
Decide what type of backgrounds are appropriate for your identity and include them in your guide. These can be a general style or specific backgrounds.
Step 6 - Define Your Tone
Explain your tone in as much detail as you can. Are you corporate, friendly or humorous? Your tone will create a personality for your company or project, so make it clear and focused.
Now you understand why a Brand Identity Guide is so important and how to make one. With your new guide; whether your creating a brand for a new company or simply defining the identity for a project, you’ll have a clear understanding of the identity with a valuable reference if at any time you lose touch with it.