Effective Branding Guidelines: How to Communicate Your Brand Identity and Values

Branding is the process of creating a unique identity for a product, service, or company. It involves creating a name, logo, tagline, and other elements that will help customers recognize and remember a company or product. Branding can be used to differentiate a company from its competitors and create loyalty among customers. A successful brand can increase sales, attract new customers, and build trust in the marketplace. Companies must understand their target audience and create messaging that resonates with them in order to create an effective brand. Companies should also ensure that their branding remains consistent across all channels including

Effective Branding Guidelines: How to Communicate Your Brand Identity and Values cover

A clear and consistent brand is essential to building a successful business. When your customers understand who you are and what you stand for, it makes them more likely to trust your products or services, ultimately leading to increased sales.

Build Trust: Effective Branding Guidelines

Photographer: MK +2

What is a brand?

A brand is a business and marketing concept that helps people identify a particular company, product, or individual. Brands are intangible, which means you can’t touch or see them. As such, they help shape people’s perceptions of your company and your products.

It is more than just a logo or tagline. It’s an identity that encompasses your company’s values, mission, and culture. So it should be visible across all your customer touchpoints—from your website to advertising campaigns and social media.

What is a brand story?

A brand story is a cohesive narrative that encompasses the facts and feelings created by your company. Unlike traditional advertising, which is about showing and telling about your brand, a story must inspire an emotional reaction.

Your brand story is what sets you apart and makes you a memorable brand. It should tell a compelling narrative that connects with your customers emotionally, explaining who your company is and why it exists.

branding guidelines
Photographer: Surface

How do you write a brand story?

Writing a brand story requires thoughtful planning and creative thinking. It should be focused, concise, and memorable. Start by asking yourself questions such as:

  • What inspired you to create this business?
  • What do you stand for?
  • Who is your target audience?

Next, think of how you want your customers to perceive your brand. What emotions do you want to evoke in them?

Finally, create a narrative that reflects these values and speaks directly to your target audience.

What are brand story elements?

When crafting a brand story, include elements such as:

Mission statement

It is a short statement of why an organization exists, its overall goal, the purpose of its operations: what kind of product or service it provides, its primary customers or market, and its geographical region of operation.

It should be short and to the point, clearly explaining what your company does, why it exists, and how you solve customer problems.

Vision statement

The vision statement outlines your brand’s aspirations and the impact you want to make in the world. It may also include details about how your products will help potential customers achieve their goals. It should be ambitious, action-oriented, and inspiring.

branding guidelines mission statement
Photographer: David Iskander


Your core values are a set of beliefs that guide your decisions and shape how you interact with customers. They should reflect your brand personality and serve as a guide to employees on their day-to-day operations.

Tagline & Logos

A tagline is a phrase that highlights what a business does, emphasizes a value or specific message, and clarifies a brand’s mission. You can think of taglines as a brand’s mission statement condensed into a few words. It can be an essential part of your brand’s identity.

A logo is a combination of text and visual imagery that serves two purposes. It tells people the name of the business, and it creates a graphic symbol representing your firm.

Some logos have powerful symbolic associations connected to people’s memory. Therefore it is essential to create a striking logo that reminds people of your brand wherever they are.

branding guidelines logo
Photographer: Mike Cassidy

Unique Selling Points

Your unique selling points explain why customers should choose your product or service over others. They help set you apart from the competition, so you should highlight them in your brand assets. They should be clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Customer experience

Your customer experience defines how customers interact with your brand. Therefore, it should ensure brand consistency across all its touchpoints, from the website to in-person interactions.

Testimonials and success stories

Testimonials and success stories demonstrate the effectiveness of your product or service. They should be specific, relevant to your firm, and prove how you have helped customers.

What is a brand style guide?

A brand style guide is a digital rulebook specifying every aspect of your brand personality. Apart from being used internally, a brand style guide is shared with partners, media, and agencies to brief them on how to communicate your company’s branding correctly and consistently.

The brand style guide is a company’s set of rules to define how to represent the company’s branding. Therefore, they explain your logo usage, color palettes, font styles, color schemes, and tone of voice for written communication.

A brand guide also set out what rules apply when using brand assets such as photography and illustrations. And will ensure that your content will always be on brand.

branding guidelines brand style guide
Photographer: Rain Bennet

Why do I need brand style guides?

A detailed brand style guide ensures brand consistency across all channels and platforms. In addition, it will make the brand recognition of your potential customers easier, leading to increased engagement and sales.

The well-crafted brand guide should be easy to understand and follow, even for those with no marketing or design background. They should also be flexible enough to accommodate any changes in your brand over time.

Importance of brand guidelines

How do I create a brand style guide?

Designing an effective brand style guide takes careful planning and attention to detail. Here are some tips to create a brand style guide that will help you communicate your brand’s message clearly and consistently:

Identify Your Brand Values

Before developing your own style guide, you must understand your company’s mission and values. Spend time thinking about what makes your brand unique and special, then use this information to shape how you communicate with customers.

Define Your Brand Voice

Once you know your values, you must define a consistent brand voice that reflects them. Think about the tone and language you want to use when communicating with customers, and make sure it’s always kept consistent. It will prevent your firm from sending the wrong message to the target market.

Create Guidelines for Visuals

Your brand identity should extend beyond just words. So first, consider how you will use the design elements like logo design, color palette, fonts, and design style to represent your brand. Then create a style guide.

branding guideline visuals
Photographer: MK +2

Think About Your Audience

Your target audience should also be considered when developing a brand style guide. Consider what type of messaging will resonate with them and use it to shape the way you communicate your brand’s message.

A thorough, well-though style guide puts your audience first. It creates a recognizable, engaging voice and personality with which readers can form a more personal connection.

Set Clear Expectations

Once you have your brand style guide in place, ensure everyone in your organization understands and adheres to the style guide. Again, it’s essential to set clear expectations for how all communications should be handled so that your brand is maintained consistently across all channels. It will ensure that everyone in the organization is on the same page with the branding.

Render a Digital PDF

Even if you have a printed version of your brand style guide, render a digital PDF too! It will make it easier to share and update the brand guide and ensure that everyone in your organization has access to the most up-to-date version.

Review Regularly

Finally, remember to review your brand style guide regularly! It should be updated to reflect company objectives, values, or branding changes. It will ensure that your brand is always consistent and relevant to customers.

What are the elements of branding?

The elements of branding include the following:

Brand Name

A brand name is a name you use to identify the family of products or services you offer or a single line of products or services you offer. For example, Nike is the brand name used on most products manufactured by Nike, Inc.

brand name
brand Photographer: Mnz

Company Logo

A brand’s logo is a visual identifier used to represent a brand. It is typically composed of an image combined with text, such as the Nike swoosh and typography.

Brand Tagline

A tagline or slogan is a short phrase that quickly communicates what the company stands for or does. For example, Nike’s tagline is “Just Do It”.

Brand Colors

Brand colors are the visual representation of a brand and how customers perceive it. When choosing brand colors, consider what feeling you want to evoke in your audience and opt for a primary brand color that will help you achieve this goal.

Fonts & Typography

The fonts and typography used by a company should match the overall brand identity. Think carefully about what kind of message you want to communicate and choose fonts and typography hierarchy to help you achieve this goal.

Each font and typography convey different messages and feelings, so choose the right ones for your brand.

branding guidelines font and typography
iPhotographer: Marek Levák

Brand Storytelling

Creating an engaging story around your brand is an integral part of a successful brand strategy. A well-developed brand story will help customers connect with your company on a deeper level, resulting in stronger brand loyalty.

Color Palette

In the digital world, a color palette refers to the full range of colors that can be displayed on a device screen or other interface, or in some cases, a collection of colors and tools for use in paint and illustration programs.

Your brand’s color palette should be consistent with the overall brand style. Choose colors that reflect the overall message you are trying to convey and select a primary brand color for all marketing materials.

branding guidelines color palette
Photographer: Mika Baumeister

Brand Voice

A brand voice is a distinct personality that a brand has in the communication and connections it creates with customers. That means a brand voice should not only be in some marketing or sales materials but should appear in any content, like a weekly newsletter, that directly addresses consumers.

Brand Promise

A brand promise is a company statement describing what customers can expect when engaging with the brand. It should be concise and memorable and do a fantastic job articulating the brand’s value.

Brand Identity

A brand identity is made up of what your brand says, your values, how you communicate your product, and what you want people to feel when interacting with your business. Essentially, your brand identity is the personality of your business and a promise to your customers.

brand identity
Photographer: David Hurley

Brand book VS a brand style guide

While a brand book is a comprehensive document that contains all of the elements and brand guidelines for your brand, a brand style guide is a more specific, in-depth brand guide that outlines the exact details of how to use those elements.

A brand book will provide general information about your brand’s visual identity. In contrast, a brand style guide will give detailed instructions for using your brand’s name, logo, tagline, color palette, fonts, imagery, tone of voice, and other additional elements.

Brand style guides can also include the best practice and how-tos for customer service, social media, and other marketing channels.

What are the central style guides used today?

The most popular brand style guides used today are Material Design, Bootstrap, and Google’s Material Design. Each design system provides comprehensive brand guidelines for creating a consistent visual language across digital products and platforms.

Additionally, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator have their own rules for creating visuals that meet the highest standards.

How to come up with a company name?

Coming up with a company name can be a complex process. Choosing a name that is unique, memorable, and reflects the values of your business. Consider any words or phrases that capture what your company stands for and brainstorm ideas from there.

Once you have a list of potential names, research them to ensure they still need to be taken. You can also use a company name generator to come up with ideas that are available for use.

After choosing a name, check if it has been trademarked or copyrighted by someone else and secure any necessary rights before using it in your branding strategy.

brand specialists brainstorm brand name
Photographer: Mapbox

How to choose the right color palette?

Choosing the right color palette for your brand is essential in creating a consistent visual image. Consider the message you are trying to convey and select colors that reflect it.

Choosing one or two primary colors and a range of secondary colors will help create a harmonious, balanced look. Try experimenting with different shades and tones until you find the perfect combination.

Additionally, it’s essential to use colors accessible for people with different kinds of color blindness or visual impairments. You can check if your chosen palette meets this criterion using online tools like WebAIM’s Color Contrast Checker. Finally, make sure to keep your brand’s color palette consistent across all of your marketing materials.

Whatever color palette you choose, do not forget to include your brand colors with hex codes for each color. So whether designers use CMYK color codes for the brand’s printed material or RGB values for the website, they can replicate the exact shades every time.

choose a color palette
Photographer: Mika Baumeister

How to choose primary colors to use?

Choosing the right primary colors for your brand is essential in creating a cohesive visual identity. Your primary colors should be eye-catching, memorable, and reflective of the message you want to convey. Consider any words or phrases that capture what your business stands for and use them as inspiration for your color scheme.

Bright colors, like yellow and orange, can convey energy and excitement. Cool colors, like blue and green, can be used to evoke a sense of calmness or professionalism. On the other hand, neutral colors, like black and white, can be used for a clean, minimal look. Finally, vibrant colors, like purple and pink, can be used for a bold, eye-catching look.

Name your primary color if you want to go a step further in solidifying your brand. For example, Netflix calls its primary color “Netflix red,” or Spotify uses “Spotify green.” Doing this creates an air of importance around your brand while claiming the color as your private territory.

How to write a mission statement?

It is a brief, clear declaration that defines the purpose of your business and what sets it apart from its competitors. Start by considering why you started your company in the first place and what makes it unique.

Then, brainstorm words or phrases that capture those ideas and create a concise, memorable statement that reflects the core values of your business. Ask yourself questions like “What do we do?”, “How do we do it?” and “Why does it matter?” to help guide you in creating a statement that resonates with customers.

Once you have your message, make sure to include it in all of your brand materials. It will help customers understand the purpose behind your business and why they should choose you.

mission statement
Photographer: Ian Schneider

Developing logo guidelines

Once you’ve chosen your logo, creating a set of logo guidelines explaining the logo usage is essential. These guidelines can include details like the minimum size and resolution in which the logo must be presented, acceptable colors for reproduction, clear space around the logo, and placement on various materials such as business cards or signage.

Additionally, if your logo features any special effects or animations, ensure to include instructions for logo usage. By creating clear directions for using the logo, you can be sure to present the logo consistently across all of your advertising materials.

Photographer: Jason Leung

Secondary logos

Secondary logos are simpler versions of your main logo and are used on different materials. For example, they can be monochrome or in just one color instead of the full-color version of the logo used in other materials. This helps create a consistent brand identity while saving money on printing costs.

When developing secondary logos, make sure to keep the same general design elements as the main logo and use colors that still represent your brand identity.

Additionally, consider using a more simplified version of the logo that is easier to read and recognize. Doing this will ensure customers remember your company no matter what materials they are seeing it on.

Enforcing consistent brand standards

Once you have established a design system, it is important to make sure all of the materials used in your business adhere to these brand standards. It will ensure that if you hire creative partners to help you with the branding, they use the same color scheme, fonts, imagery, and other elements throughout every element of their work.

Why do I need to hire a brand specialist?

Hiring a brand specialist can help take your branding efforts to the next level. They can advise you on how to position and promote your business, analyze customer trends, develop marketing strategies, create memorable visuals, and more.

A brand specialist will have a better understanding of how to make sure all elements of your branding are working together in harmony as well as how to create a well-rounded, impactful strategy that will help you reach your business goals.

brand specialist
Photographer: Centre for Ageing Better

Best brands are hiring designers to help develop a brand style guide to keep all marketing materials on brand. Concrete examples of brands using a style guide include Apple, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Nike. These brands have become household names through the careful use of consistent design elements and a uniform look across their products and materials.

Having someone to help you create your unique brand strategy will ensure that customers recognize and remember your new brand.

Where do I hire designers to help with my brand guidelines?

You can look for designers on job boards, freelance marketplaces such as Fiverr or Upwork, or even hire a specialized branding agency.

It is important to clearly define your needs and expectations before hiring someone to help you with your brand guidelines. Doing so will ensure that the designer has a solid understanding of what you are trying to achieve with your brand.

Additionally, consider having them provide a portfolio of past work, so you can get an idea of their design style and ensure it matches your brand vision.

Make sure to be clear about the expectations for timeline, cost, and deliverables before agreeing to work together. This will help both parties stay on the same page throughout the process and ultimately create a successful brand style guide.

hire a brand specialist
Photographer: Amy Hirschi

Design Match is also an option to hire designers to help you create a brand guide. Save time and money on the hiring process by signing up for Design Match.

Design Match has a pool of pre-vetted designers with specializations so it would be easier to find the right designer for your project! And you don’t need to pay any fee until your designer starts working with you!

So what are you waiting for? Hire a designer at Design Match and create a brand style guide today!

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