As a brand is being developed, it is important to establish certain standards to create the basis for all future branding. The best way to do this is to create a brand standards document that includes all the rules for logo use, color coding and more for your company. As an agency that does a lot of design work, J.O. has developed many brand guidelines for clients. Let’s highlight some important information that should be included.
Logomarks and How They’re Used
First thing’s first: the logo. The brand standards will set out the specific rules when using the primary logo. This might look like how the logo is spaced in design, how it should be resized to fit a certain ratio or what colors versions are appropriate. The document should also outline alternative versions of the logo, such as horizontal or vertical options, when they should be used and their proper size and spacing requirements. Brand standards can also include older versions of the logo to identify what shouldn’t be used. If there are any other subsidiary logomarks that are going to be used frequently, they should be included here as well.
The fonts used across the brand need to be stated. Consistent font usage increases a brand’s recognition. Typically, a business uses different fonts for a different purpose. For example, it is a good idea to declare different headline, sub headline and body fonts. Regardless, all fonts should be included and labeled as to what purpose they should be used for. It is optional to include specific colors or spacing requirements for your text.
What are your brand colors? Establish them here and use them consistently across your brand. It will help to unite the colors with the logo to make your brand memorable. If your brand contains a primary and secondary color palette, specify when to use which colors and how to combine colors. When listing your colors, it is important to include the CMYK, RGB, HEX Code and Pantone version so no matter how you utilize the colors,
the information is available.
Does your brand use a lot of photography? It might be smart to set some standards for the photography style to use that identifies the brand. What kind of imagery should be used throughout? What color tones are they conveying? Are they posed images or more natural? Are the photos energetic or are they static portraits? All these details can be elaborated in this section.
If your brand uses an icon system, there could be a lot of additional rules on how to use these apart from the logos. The icons should be listed in the brand guidelines and if necessary, explained as to what they mean, when and where they should be included on various marketing materials. Make sure to include the color specifications for the icon system.
When writing copy for your brand, you can incorporate set phrases across marketing materials. These phrases can be listed and explained in your brand standards. Define the terms and when it is appropriate to use them. Some brand standards include Lexicons to define commonly used words.
Lastly, it is wise to include a section in the brand standards about your company as a whole. Who are you as a brand? What are your attributes? What is your position, vision and identity? This adds to the brand guidelines by giving viewers a sense of who you are and what you stand for. This section sets apart good brand standards.
Not all these elements have to go into your company’s brand standards, but most of them should. Look at J.O.’s Work Page to see how our creative team has developed successful brands and created guidelines on future usage and development.