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Charlotte Roberts | Intern
Charlotte Roberts | Intern

Brand Guidelines 101

Charlotte Roberts | Intern

Let’s say you went to the gas station to grab a soda, but when you reach the cooler, you realize none of the bottles are labeled. What would you do? You would probably start analyzing each beverage for something familiar. If you saw a dark soda with a red cap and another with a blue cap, would you know which one was a Coke? 

Of course, you would. Why? The answer is simple—brand identity. Brand identity is the visual interpretation of your brand personality. If you think about some of the most iconic brands, it is not just their logo that makes them distinct. Their brand name, typography, and color palette separate them from competitors, allowing you to recognize their products by something as simple as a bottle cap. 

Attention to detail can take branding from good to great; however, memorizing which font to use with which text type, and which hex code is the exact color of your logo can become overwhelming. This is where your brand guidelines save the day! In this blog, we will review what brand guidelines are, the elements of brand guidelines, and why it’s essential for your business. 

What are Brand Guidelines? 

A brand guideline is essentially a cheat sheet for all things related to your brand. It’s a collection of elements as essential as a logo and as nitpicky as correct hashtag usage. Brand guidelines create consistency among all content and establish an unwavering brand identity for both your internal team and for those outside your organization to follow and properly communicate your brand. So, what is your brand guideline composed of? 

Elements of Brand Guidelines 

Let’s say I met someone new and they wanted to know all about me! If I had brand guidelines for who I am, it would encompass details about me that could communicate my personality, preferences, and more all in one place. But what would that look like? 

Company Name 

For starters, my guidelines would open with my name. My name is Charlotte and I prefer my name to be written as such.  My name should not be written in all lowercase or all caps. It should be noted I don’t go by any nickname, so please don’t call me  Charlie. Similarly, the details of your company name should be written out in your brand guidelines. For example, IKEA is written out in all caps, while eBay only requires the capitalization of the “B.”

Color Palette 

Next, I want to create a color palette that communicates my personality. I like to think of myself as outgoing, sophisticated, and fun. I could see a sunny yellow color in my palette, paired with a never-going-out-of-style navy, and a bubbly pink. In the same respect, your company may use a distinct color throughout its branding,  or maybe your overall color palette communicates your brand’s vibe. Whatever your colors, your brand guidelines should outline them specifically to avoid 24 different shades of red being used to represent your company (Think of the Coke bottle cap!) 


In addition, my guidelines would also have examples of my handwriting so you’d know the unique look of my writing compared to everyone else's. Your company’s brand guidelines should detail the exact fonts you would like used in titles, headings, and body text on websites and graphics. 

Although this example is a little far-fetched (Surprise—I’m not handing out personal brand guidelines to new friends), my brand guidelines would detail a description of what makes me Charlotte! Your company’s brand guidelines do the same for your business. 

How Brand Guidelines Benefit Your Business

The goal of a brand guideline is to ensure consistency across all branding within your company, including products, services, advertising, and more. Brand guidelines are helpful to both internal and external company communications to ensure your organization is building a recognizable brand. For example, if your company collaborates with another business on a project such as merchandise or print distribution, you would share your brand guidelines to guarantee your brand is incorporated into the project properly. Not only does this help your company feel at ease, but it also keeps collaborators from having to guess what your brand needs are. 

No matter the size of your business, brand guidelines can help foster your brand’s identity and establish consistent expectations of any product or service with your logo. If you are not sure where to get started, MADE can help! Contact us and we can work together to create the brand guidelines of your dreams!