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8 Undeniable Benefits of Brand Guidelines

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8 Undeniable Benefits of Brand Guidelines


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Black Pearl Matrix

What Are Brand Guidelines For?

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When we talk about brands, we are referring to issues and elements that go far beyond the logo. This subject encompasses symbols, colors, fonts, shapes, tone of voice of the brand’s verbal expression, style and photographic direction, illustration style and iconography. When you think of Coca-Cola, what comes to mind first? Maybe the curvy text, probably the red color of the can.
Everything that is produced, from the tone of voice on social networks, to the brand’s positioning in the market, must follow the line and criteria defined as brand identity to ensure consistency. And consistency is just as important as creativity when it comes to capturing audience hearts and minds. Taking these elements into account, it is possible to build a strong brand.
The problem is that, unfortunately, maintaining consistency is not simple. That’s why an identity manual is important.
However, it is worth clarifying some concepts about the different types of manuals possible and also how to align aspects of your brand to create a unique and strong identity.
What is the Difference Between Brandbook, Identity Guidelines and Brand Guidelines
There are several nomenclatures for brand manuals, and most depend on the depth of the material.

1. Brandbook

When we put together a mini-guide, we have a simpler version with technical guidelines for application and quick implementation of the brand.

2. Brand manual (or identity guidelines)

It is a little more complete, with guidelines, uses, suggestions for parts.

3. Brand guidelines

It is a complete version along with the strategic part and branding system.

How to Align All Aspects of Your Brand

Brand identity has to do with people’s perceptions of your brand. These insights come from everything from your logo, your brand story, and even marketing campaigns.
BPM Identification of Visual Symbols.png
To build a strong brand, all aspects need to be aligned in the same direction to consolidate this narrative. That way, contributors have a guide on how to communicate their message effectively, and designers have the elements to work on their visual image.
For example, if you’re a company that puts the environment first, you can use nature-based colors in your branding, share messages that promote eco-friendly practices, and even market with a focus on your ethical practices.

Tips for Getting Started with Brand Identity Research

The goal should be to define your brand through visual and verbal solutions. So there will be aspects of the current identity that may need to be changed. For example, the brand image can be perfect, but the voice can be fragmented.

Questions to help define your brand visual and verbal identity:

1. What kind of messages have worked for the brand in the past, including advertising, email marketing, advertisements, etc.?
2. What is the brand positioning? What is the positioning in relation to other companies in the same market segment?
3. What questions often come up when you have to make a decision that involves visual image and message?
For a branding toolkit to be effective, you need to answer all the questions people might have about your business.

What Should a Brand Identity Manual Include?

The brand manual is the guide to the different representations that a brand can have and goes beyond the visual identity.
The handbook provides basic standardization information, guidelines, and inspiration that should be used when creating a company’s brand.
The manual, therefore, guides the creation of a unit between all the strategies adopted in all channels and parts.

Netflix Brand Book

In the Netflix brand manual page, for example, the logos section explains letter spacing, background colors, and even the ideal brightness contrast so that the logo is not degraded to read.


Definitions of graphic design terms that were used in the manual and that the reader may not be familiar with.


They must be an explicit reference to the construction and implementation of the company’s graphic branding, such as logos and branding; symbols and shapes; typography and fonts; photography and illustration; primary and secondary colors.


It should include elements and characteristics that help the logo achieve a powerful brand, such as voice and positioning.


It should explain all forms of use of the brand’s designs, from stationery, signage, merchandise (a concept in the marketing area that indicates a technique for planning and promoting a product, in the right place and at the right time), iconography, etc.

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How to Create a Brand Identity Manual for Your Brand or Business

Here, we create a “step by step” of what is essential to have in a brand manual:

1. Set a Goal for the Brand Identity Manual

Although there is general information that every manual needs to present, such as typography, correct logo applications, colors, etc., each manual is structured according to the behavior of the brand in question. Each brand has its own behavior, and your handbook needs to best represent it.
For example, it is necessary to indicate what is the launch strategy of a new brand and what is the rebranding strategy.
With the right identity guidelines in place, you’ll have everything you need to ensure teams implement the new look or vision smoothly.
Before starting to write a manual, define the result you want to achieve. By “outcome” we mean the effect the final brand image should have. Do we want to gain credibility among consumers? Or become a brand for teenagers? The entire manual should provide guidance towards this goal.

2. Define Who Your Manual's Target Audience Is

Lots of people view, interact with, and promote your brand. The target audience is anyone who represents the brand in some way, whether working for the company or working with the company. For new employees, for example, the identity manual helps them understand how they should and should not use the brand on and off the job.
Before proceeding to build the identity manual, have a clear idea of who these users are so that you can shape the manual to best suit their needs.
Adobe is a great example of a brand identity playbook, with over 60 pages of crucial information about voice, appearance and more. Adobe understood that the people who would use their brand guidelines most often would be developers and designers, which is why the guide is so rich in detail.

3. Choose Format

The format of the manual depends on who will interact with the content. Typically, the most common is a PDF file. The formatting is the same as a book, with the content divided into index, chapters and subchapters. In terms of the experience of the classic brand manual, the digital manual is an online document that, in a practical way, can be used by anyone through a link. It should only be accessed via a password.

4. Determine the Content

Determining the content of brand guidelines means deciding on the various elements, the most common being:

4.1 Brand Platform

A brand platform encompasses the brand’s purpose, core values, mission, vision, positioning, brand attributes and promise. These components cover the basics of who and what your brand is. They define the story the brand tells.
BPM What the Brand purpose needs to have.png

4.2 Main Messages and Tone of Voice

Key messages and tone of voice shape how your brand presents itself through language. This includes guidelines for choosing tone and words, how and whether to use emojis, memes, being more formal, etc. Key messages provide specific, intentional guidelines for how third parties can describe, reference, and promote the brand, as well as what they shouldn’t say.
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4.3 Visual Identity

 Visual identity is the public’s first contact with your brand. It generally covers logo usage rules, iconography and graphic styles, color palette, typography and font guidelines, photography and illustration rules, and templates.

Some of these aspects may already be created, but it’s important to evaluate all elements of the business and make sure they support the identity you want to create. And maybe you need to make some changes.

5. Define Specific Usage Rules

Some items are indispensable when we talk about a brand application guide:

5.1 Brand

It is a Framework that helps to clearly define all the pillars that are part of the brand’s branding.

5.2 Persona

These are fictional characters created to represent different types of users within a defined demographic, attitude and/or behavior who could use a website, brand or product in a similar way. Personas are a market segmentation tool or method.

5.3 Visual Identity

All elements that are part of the visual identity, such as logo, typography, colors, photographic style, graphics, illustrative style, iconography and compositions.

5.4 Type of Treatment

Brand identity guidelines should include usage rules around acceptable brand fonts. Most brands have default fonts chosen for titles, captions and body text, or have specifications on fonts used in digital formats such as newsletters and emails.
Your brand guidelines should provide clear examples of how to properly use branded fonts. It should also include clear guidelines about which specific font uses or type treatments are not allowed.

5.5 Logo and Color Variation

Your brand logo and color palette are specifically designed to positively represent your brand and mission, so don’t misuse them. Your brand identity guidelines should include some “don’ts” regarding your logo and color palette, such as: don’t change colors, don’t use colors in certain ways, don’t make the logo semi-transparent, and don’t rotate or Play around with the scale of the logo. These recommendations will help maintain your brand integrity.

5.6 Message Requirements

How you talk about your brand matters. That’s why it’s critical to have specific messaging requirements available in your brand identity guidelines.
Depending on the industry or company you work for, there may be certain language requirements that dictate what you or others can and cannot say about your brand. Or, you may simply have preferences for how you want your brand represented.
The more specific your usage rules, the less likely your brand will be misrepresented, making brand consistency easier to manage. And as you know, brand consistency leads to brand trust, which leads to increased sales and increased bottom line.



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6. Create the Guidelines

Now it’s time to bring all the different elements of identity together into one comprehensive guide. It’s worth remembering that brands are constantly evolving, so identity guidelines also need to evolve regularly.
The elements are the same used in the creation of the brand. Therefore, it is important, during this process, to have all the steps cataloged and organized to assist in the assembly of the final manual.
Routinely audit your brand identity guidelines to ensure they are in line with recent changes. And always make sure you choose the format you choose to house your brand identity guidelines, it could be a webpage, website or document.

6.1 How to Ensure Your Team Knows and Understands the Brand Manual

Just handing over your brand guide isn’t enough. Brand training aims to go through all the items in the brand manual in an intuitive and functional way. It’s a session with all the people involved in managing and creating pieces for the brand, for any format or platform.
Depending on your business and its needs, brand training will likely need to take place on a regular basis. Ongoing brand training will help ensure that all team members are thoroughly familiar with the guidelines and their updates.

Examples of Visual Identity

1. Asana

While some logos may seem random, savvy companies create them with a specific strategy and meaning. Asana explains that the logo’s three dots highlight the limitless potential of human collaboration. With this graphical representation, the company hopes to communicate a sense of clarity, balance, and purpose-driven design.
Micah Daigle, who co-led the company’s rebrand, even published a book about the origins and building process behind the new brand.

2. Uber

Ride-hailing app Uber communicates its brand to the general public through nine key elements: logo, color, composition, iconography, illustration, motion, photography, tone of voice and typography. The company brand page provides an overview of each of these elements, along with top examples for quick insights.
An overview of the illustration section, for example, shows that the company uses limited color, clean lines, negative space, and basic geometric shapes to give its illustrations a branded feel.

3. Amazon

Using the right layout and voice in your ads is essential. You need to make sure you’re saying the right thing to your audience, and Amazon knows how to do that. In the brand manual, you can find examples of how to use a specific voice on and off the e-commerce site.

4. LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s branding playbook is simple, effective and straightforward. It’s easy to follow and feature-packed, including downloadable color palettes that can be used to create new marketing materials.
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FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Brand Guidelines

1. How do I define my ideal target audience?

Find it through direct research with the audience you believe is right. After this phase, go further segmenting your searches. Once that's done, you'll find your ideal audience.

2. Which usage rule should I use more?

Without a doubt, it's the persona!!! With a series of peculiarities, personas present the main characteristics and behaviors of their buyers, those who see in their products and services the ideal solution to a problem or need that they have.

3. Why should I have a Brandbook?

They aim to guide the standard of corporate communication. It is the main tool of the brand management or branding process, making them indispensable in any company.
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Did you see how building a strong brand brings great benefits that can be great safety factors even for a small company?
So, get to work. Work on building your brand.
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