Why companies should have brand guidelines

Your brand is the first impression your customer will have of you. Once they recognise it, they’ll notice you within a saturated market, but only if you keep your brand consistent!When a brand is created, the design team working on the project will have spent time to really understand your company values and your target audience. A lot of thought will have gone into the logo design, typography used, colour scheme & the layouts, all these factors combine to ensure the brand is relevant to the company and stand out to their audience.

So what are brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines, sometimes known as style guides, are identity manuals that explain how a brand should be presented. They can consist of many aspects, but mainly focus on; the logo, typography, colour palette and the business purpose. These guidelines are key to brand consistency. Without these guides there is a big chance your brand won’t be accurately represented, which makes it difficult for your potential customers to recognise you within a saturated market.

Consistency is key
It is imperative that the brand is consistent throughout all of your marketing, websites and signage, and this goes much further than just your logo. Your brand is the colours, the fonts, the design style and layout as well as the logo, all these factors help your customers remember and help them have instant recognition of you. If your branding is inconsistent, it makes it difficult for customers to recognise you within your market, whereas keeping consistency makes your company look more established and differentiates you from your competitors.

Inconsistent Branding
Recently whilst abroad, I came across a store named Aldi. Now I am aware of the supermarket company Aldi in England, but this store looked completely different, as you can see below, this made me question, is it even an Aldi? It is this uncertainty, due to the branding, that you don’t want as a company. You want your customers to recognise you as fast as possible which will then increase the chances of them using your service or buying your product.

After looking into the Aldi branding further it turns out they have two companies Aldi Sud (South) and Aldi Nord (North). This explains the difference in branding, but for people unaware of this they are less likely to trust the branding that they don’t recognise.

Companies with brand guidelines
Below you can see examples of brand guidelines. Walmart and easyGroup both show the logo variants and how they should be applied; including the spacing, colours, minimum size and how to incorporate the tagline. They both have colour palettes, giving you the pantone reference for each they use this ensures the colours will be the same across all media. Then the typography, explaining what font/font weight should be used for different circumstances such as, headings or body text. They even explain what not to do with the fonts.

Now when these companies are outsourcing work, or even within an in-house design team they have these brand guidelines to refer to, to ensure the branding is coming across as intended. They know their branding is going to be consistent across all medias; print, web, advertising, packaging etc.. Thanks to their brand guidelines!

To conclude companies without brand guidelines are at risk of their branding being inconsistent, causing confusion to their customers which results in less sales. So if you’re running a business and don’t have brand guidelines I highly recommend you get them designed, to make your company look more established, professional and unique!

Written by Studio116 on Friday July 29, 2016
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