What is a Brand Guide?

A brand guide is your reference document for conveying your brand to the world. Your brand guide should contain:

  1. General Marketing Principles
  2. Brand Emotions
  3. Key Messages
  4. Logo
  5. Colors
  6. Fonts
  7. Imagery

You should refer to your brand guide any time you create a new brand asset for any company marketing and operations channels. By consistently following the guidelines in your brand guide, key team members will be working together to build quality, consistency, and recognition for your company. This ultimately increases the value of our brand for everyone involved.

Here are examples of how we use our brand across three different assets in the resource section of our website.

Glowhorn® Have a Nice Funnel ebook cover

Glowhorn® 10 Steps to Website Design Success ebook cover

Glowhorn® 5 Steps to Inbound Marketing Success ebook cover

Your guide should include a simple chart of what your brand is and is not. For example:

Company Z’s Brand…

Is

Is not

Accessible

Ivory Tower, Condescending

Theoretical

Practical

Guru

Peer

The audience for a related brand could be described as:

  • Interested in learning theories, in-depth and over time
  • Prefers to read long articles where concepts are presented in full detail
  • Seeks out the most informed thoughts leaders to learn new information on a regular basis

Section two of a brand guide deals with the question, “What emotions do we want our clients or market to feel after every interaction with us?” Most brand guides include 3 – 5 feelings.

Finally, brand guides include specific examples and information on the logo, brand colors, fonts, and imagery. Depending on the type of work you do, these can be very straight-forward or more complex.

For example, your brand guide should include what version of your logo is appropriate to use, where, and the related spacing. Do you always show it on a solid background? Do you also include the tag line? The logo section should answer these questions and channel users to the correct version of the logo for their project.

In terms of color, most companies have a primary color and 1 – 3 secondary colors. If you use calls to action on your website and social media channels, you may have a specific CTA color. Fonts are very similar to colors because it is typical to have a primary and secondary font.

It is also a best practice to include example imagery in your brand guide. Image examples help convey the ideal tone for your brand from a visual perspective.  

Developing a brand guide is often the first deliverable you can expect when working on a strategic marketing plan. It is worth the time and effort in developing a brand guide as it will last you for several years and is your tool for achieving consistent recognition.