It doesn’t matter what size business you have; a clear set of brand guidelines will be an essential starting point for any collateral or promotional work you develop.
It doesn’t have to be a 50-page encyclopaedia but it should offer five essential elements:
Having that as a starting point will save you time and graphic heartache when you are briefing a supplier about creative work.
Let me give you a quick example of how branding guidelines can help.
I was recently asked to design a report for a client – a simple enough project.
I gave them three concepts to consider however their feedback gave me pause. They weren’t happy with my image choices, the logo was in the wrong position, and the fonts weren’t right. This was a client that had no brand guidelines or any brand reference they could refer me to, but apparently had a very strong view of their look and feel.
I suggested it was time to develop a brand guideline.
The client was also about to redevelop their website and could now use the guidelines to brief their developer which instantly gave them greater value out of their investment.
Without a set of guidelines, a simple project will end up taking longer and cost more. After all, you are letting the person who is designing the work make decisions about the look and feel of your brand. That is fine if you want a fresh look and you don’t mind your designer flexing their creative muscle.
At what stage of your business do you need branding guidelines?
You certainly don’t need one if your only visual communication is a business card but when you are about to develop a website, a presentation or a brochure; it’s definitely time to bring all your assets together and create a quick set of guidelines.
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