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What You Should Include in Your Brand Guideline


A brand guideline details the nuances of your brand, and helps people alter old or create new ‘communication assets’. These assets include your brand positioning, tone of voice, colours, fonts & layouts. Do’s and don’ts across use on print, interactive and spatial mediums.


No two brands are the same; hence, the elements included in your brand guidelines will not look the same as another brand’s guidelines. However, there are three common elements contained in every brand identity guideline:


  • The brand’s colour palette.
  • Your brand’s typography, including the different typefaces and families.
  • The different versions of your logo and how to use them.


When used effectively, guidelines influence people behaviour and brand recall.


While these three elements are included in almost every set of brand guideline, other elements that can be included are:


  • Graphic elements can be used independently of your logo.
  • Symbols may be included in your brand contains any.
  • Wordmarks are included when appropriate.
  • The brand tone is also included if your brand has an established tone of voice for messages and content.


The elements in brand guidelines depend on the features that make up your brand.


See Google brand guideline.



Brand Messaging


Nike’s Messaging: Just do it.



The “brand message refers to the value proposition of your brand, which you convey to your customers through your brand personality to set your brand positioning.


It’s what makes your target audience relate to your brand by persuading them, motivating them, inspiring them, and ultimately making them your brand loyalists and ambassadors. 


Here are a few examples of brand messaging you may recognise, in the form of slogans:


Nike: Just do it.

Adidas: Impossible is nothing.

Walmart: Save money. Live better.

Levis: Quality never goes out of style.

Coca-cola: “Enjoy” and “Happiness”


But the brand message is not limited to taglines – Taglines are crafted to give voice to the brand message.


Your brand message is what resonates with the wants, needs, or luxuries of your target audience. It is the basis people choose your brand.




Colour Palette


Lyft’s Colour Palette



Your brand’s colour palette creates a vibrant visual experience with your target audience while simultaneously showcasing your distinctive personality. The right shade of colour does not just make your website, marketing materials, and other brand merchandise more attractive; they also change the way that people interact with your company. 


Your colour palettes are the colours that make up your brand. 


Your brand guideline would include RGB, CMYK and Pantone colour codes, so your colours stay consistent across platforms between web and print formats.






Typography refers to the style and way of presentation of text. When developing a brand identity, a persistent type of font should be used, each with a specific aim. 


Typography allows you to create a particular context and have a specific personality.


And just like colours has meaning, typography is also as powerful in representing the tone and values of your brand. Each classification of typeface has a different set of connotations and therefore, will create a different depiction of who you are and what you stand for as a brand.


Your brand guidelines will include typefaces and families, font sizes, and the hierarchy of the fonts your brand uses.




Logo Design


Volvo’s Brand logo guide



The way your logo should be displayed in different formats is an integral part of your brand guideline. This could include which colours to use, size restrictions, the way your logo should be displayed or how your logo looks on different backgrounds. It can be advantageous to show how logos should NOT be presented, as well.


Additional Elements that may be included in your brand guideline:






Lyft’s Brand Imagery



Brand imagery refers to the aesthetic appearance of your brand’s core messaging. It is just about anything that you can see, touch, taste, smell or hear is that brand’s imagery.


For example, How does your favourite fast food taste? , what does your preferred brand of perfume smell like? What does furniture from BoConcept looks like? The aim is to connect the right messages with your target audience so that they will have strong feelings when they experience your brand imagery. When there’s no opportunity to feel, touch, smell or taste, something, sight quickly becomes the most valuable sense.



You should add the style of photographs, wordmarks, or icons your company uses on your website or marketing materials to your imagery.




Brand Tone


Uber’s Brand Tone



Brand tone refers to those words that your company chooses to use to show your brand’s values and personality.


Just like your real human voice, your brand’s tone of voice is how you communicate with the outside world. It includes all of your written marketing materials from a printed flyer to a website.


Your brand’s tone is a reflection of your brand’s personality. Think of a friendly or charming person, you know. Their tone of voice is inviting, warm and personable. Now imagine someone who is a daredevil. Their tone of voice is, confident, strong and slightly aggressive. These individuals’ tone of voice helps you recognise how to relate to them.


It’s difficult not to be impressed with the openness of Uber’s brand design team and how they have dedicated sharing the evolution of their brand online. In its latest guise. They take you through the core brand elements, the story and most importantly brand’s tone of voice. They explain with visuals how they used to speak and how it should be applied today, along with easy to follow guidelines and practical examples. A best in class example of how to instruct their marketers on how to ‘sound like Uber’.


Brand guidelines are “not open to interpretation’. They are definite rules that should be followed. Every time your logo is stretched, in the wrong colour, with the wrong type, altered or squished, you lose brand equity. 


Altering elements may make your brand unrecognisable to your consumers or clients. A brand guideline helps your company hold the value in its brand for many, many years.


Without brand guidelines, it is almost impossible to keep your brand’s identity consistent. 


Do you want to start a brand identity, a rebranding project, or create a brand guideline for your brand? Get in touch.


Olayimika Babajide
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