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Elizabeth Brass – Coloring Inside The Lines: A Look at Brand Guides and Your Business

As kids we are taught to stay in the lines when coloring in a coloring book to create a seamless, cohesive, beautiful picture that your mom would hang on the fridge for everyone to see. When we first started at this, none of us were experts. It took practice and patience and quite frankly some of us rebelled against staying in the lines all together just for the sheer joy of knowing we were breaking the rules. Now imagine if you went outside the lines of your brands guidelines.

Brand guidelines, brand book, brand identity, style guide, brand standards, whatever you want to call it are much like staying in the lines of a page in a coloring book. Let’s talk about what a brand guideline is, why it is important to have one, and if your company should use one.

What is a Brand book?

A brand book is a set of guidelines that a company uses to create cohesion between platforms; such as print, web and mobile. It also creates a strong brand that should be more recognizable. They most often include rules on approved colors, typography, use of logos and logo variation, imagery, photography, stationery and how all these things can fit together.

Why is a Brand Guideline so important?

Simple – Brand consistency across all mediums. A brand guideline helps everyone working inside and outside the company stay on the same page. This creates brand consistency and can help your brand stand out among today’s growing oversaturation of media and imagery. For example, Amplify Relations’ brand colors are magenta, black and white. Below is an example of some of the ways we use our brand guidelines to help us stay consistent.

Now imagine if any of these colors were off or a different color was substituted.

As you can see pretty quickly, the brand’s integrity is lost.

In addition to brand consistency, a brand guideline will save your designer(s) a lot of wasted time correcting work that doesn’t have the right font, the colors are just off enough to be wrong, and using non-approved imagery.

Should Your Company Have a Brand Guideline?

Absolutely! It is always a good idea to have some sort of brand guideline. If you’re just a one man shop, it’s not as important because there is no need for communication. However, if your company plans to grow or expand to different mediums, you should have a set of guidelines for both existing and future employees (or vendors) to stay between the lines of the brand. 
So although as kids we may have struggled with staying in the lines, with a detailed set of brand guidelines, there should be no reason anyone should be scribbling outside your brand’s lines.

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