Earlier this week I met up with some friends to say goodbye to one of them. She’d been a client and become a friend and had literally just closed her business the day before because she’s moving to another part of the country.
She told me that she’d thrown away her brand guidelines and that I would have been shocked at the state of them after nine years of use!
I told her I wished she’d given me them, they’d have made a great blog post! (I’ve made them into a blog post anyway 😉 )
It really made me smile that her brand guidelines were well thumbed 🙂
What ARE brand guidelines?
Brand Guidelines are – as the name suggests – a GUIDE for your brand. This means that they aren’t so much RULES, as SUGGESTIONS for how your business should look. In this case, they were quite detailed, not just sharing the colour codes and fonts, but sharing layout, sizing and multiple formats.
They help you to have a consistent brand.
The Brand Guidelines help you to create a brand image for your business that not only looks the business, but is consistent, achievable and emphasises what YOU are all about.
They make your life easier.
Brand Guidelines are there to help your business stand out, to save you time, to help you make decisions and to allow you to outsource your design work when the moment arrives. No need to labour over decisions, it’s all sorted for you.
They grow and change with your business.
They’re a working document. You might add a colour or take one away. Change the accent font. Decide that the body copy needs to be in teal.. all sorts of things can happen. Just make sure you take note of them, document the changes and keep things consistent going forward.
After nine years I’d love to think that your Brand Guidelines would also be well thumbed. A sign that they’re been USED. Not sat in a draw or on a shelf, but scribbled on or stained.
I’d recommend (this wasn’t a thing that was universally easy back in 2010!) that you save the colour codes and fonts inside your phone notes or on evernote so that you can see them at all times. Super handy.
If you’re not already referring to your Brand Guidelines/ Style Guide/ Brand Book – whatEVER yours is called – then go dig it out NOW and have a mini review to check that you’re keeping consistent everywhere. That’s what these are for. Amend if necessary and don’t you dare let them gather any more dust! 😉