Good brands need clear guidelines to ensure the brand machine runs smoothly. Brand books can be a designer’s best friend. You are, in essence, creating a how-to guide to using a brand. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the key brand book elements and examples.
The purpose of a brand book
A good brand book should ensure that the next time your client calls it is for a new quote and not for questions like:
- What is my font?
- How can I blow up the logo for a very, very large poster?
- How can I use the logo on social media?
Why should you present your branding with a beautiful brand book?
- Brand books manage consistency across assets, mediums, and channels.
- You create the rules, and the brand book helps everyone to stick to them.
- Brand books also help you and your clients grow. You will have a library of valuable design and portfolio reference points and your clients‘ brand can grow with their business, with every new employee and every new expansion.
The must-have brand book elements
Brand books define the intention of your brand. Brand identity books look very different depending on their target audience, the size, and age of the organization. Other aspects are the industry sector, and the type of brand we are presenting. Apple’s reseller brand book is very strict to prevent brand damage from outside companies. Skype’s brand book, on the other hand, is friendly and appeals to both designers and non-designers.
How do you design a compelling brand introduction section?
Whether you create your next brand book manually, with a brand book template or a brand bookmaker online, the design process commonly begins with an introduction to the brand, the company vision, its mission, as well as its core values. So, this section can include information about the target audience as well as the company and brand history. The last one is particularly relevant in the case of rebranding an established brand.
Ultimately, this section can be anywhere from one page long to many pages – depending on the intention and detail of your brand book.
Logo and usage
Logo guidelines are important to avoid logos being stretched, resized, recolored, or generally presented incorrectly. Most brands use different logo versions in different places for example color, black and white, for web, for print, with or without tagline, vertical, horizontal, or as a round icon.
Depending on the type of organization your brand book may include examples of logo use for staff uniforms or other branded assets as well as brand icons and brand textures, either in this initial section or in a separate section later in your brand style guide.
Every brand book needs clear guidelines on the colors, sizing, proportions, and formats for all logo and brand assets as well as clear space and layout rules and logo misuse cases.
So, for brands using one tagline or multiple taglines, the brand book needs to include clear guidelines on when and how taglines can and should be used.
Color scheme / color pattern
The color scheme and color patterns are another important part of every brand book. Include primary brand colors as well as secondary colors with their relevant color codes in CYMK, RGB, HEX, and Pantone (where available).
Typography is integral to your brand expression. Your brand book is not complete without clear guidelines about your primary typeface as well as additional typestyles and/or typefaces and a detailed explanation of how and where they can be used.
Image guidelines and examples of the brand photography style help the organization to keep the visual representation of the brand consistent across all channels, whether it is for an appearance in a glossy magazine or the brand’s social media accounts. Some brands do not allow stock photography while others set very clear guidelines for the type of colors, focus, and backgrounds preferred in every professional photograph and stock image used.
In completing the visual brand guidelines an informative section for dos and don’ts, showing common mistakes and how to avoid them, can be very helpful to your client and their team.
Brand books may go beyond visual guidelines and include communication guidelines like the brand tone of voice, communication style, and editorial recommendations for a more comprehensive employee brand handbook.
Learn to create a brand book by practice
Now you have an idea of the components of an efficient brand book and are armed with practical examples. Now you can apply this understanding to your real projects. Our brand book tool, Gingersauce, features all the described elements on the brand book. We help professional designers to present their ideas to clients in an organized multi-page book.
Gingersauce is responsible for the rational components of building a brand book. We write content, manage proportions, create variations, and offer versatile color palettes. Add your assets, and create a full-fledged presentation more efficiently. Start HERE for Free with a professional tool for creating brand books for free.