The Digital Lizard Blog

Developing a Branding Guide

Posted by Janice O'Driscoll on March 28, 2018 at 12:53 PM

build your brand

Brand strategy is boss these days. Just about every company relies on its “brand” to capture prospects, boost loyalty, and create an enduring image that drives new sales and growth. It all starts with brand recognition. Just look at Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola. Their brand power is so pervasive, it only takes a glance at a print ad or social media post to know it’s theirs. From there, consumers take notice and respond.

To get your company to this same point, you need to establish your brand identity. Many small and mid-sized companies produce the one-off PowerPoint presentation, direct mail piece, or sell sheet, without taking any stake. But every effort is an investment in your brand. Make sure they stem from established branding guidelines, so you can benefit from the same recognition as your noble counterparts. This will also make it easier to maintain consistency as you grow, no matter who creates your marketing, PR, or advertising materials.

Here are the top four points to developing a corporate style guide:

1. Logo Treatment — Take a look at the ads of major companies. The first thing you’ll notice is their logo. Consistency in size, placement, surroundings, colors, etc., is perhaps the most critical component of brand recognition. Test out different options for your logo’s appearance, then stick to the one(s) that work best. Understated is usually best. Make sure your branding guide gives concrete examples not only on using your logo, but also how not to. Never skew, warp, or otherwise distort your logo, as this will defeat your branding effort!

2. Color Palette — With so many projects being digital nowadays (business cards, stationery, direct mail, etc.), four-color printing is the norm. So it can be tempting to cover the rainbow. Yet, colors say a lot about your company, so you’ll want to make your selection purposeful. See this post for help: http://usabilitypost.com/2008/09/29/a-guide-to-choosing-colors-for-your-brand/

Make sure to test out your palette on the stock(s) you will be printing on (coated gloss vs. dull or uncoated) and make sure you can match all colors on screen. Your branding guide should never be a moving target.

3. Fonts — Fonts too convey an image to your audience. Some fonts are friendly, some trustworthy, some innovative, and some more serious. You’ll also want to decide between traditional versus modern or cutting-edge. Choose two or three max, and stick with them. Then, make sure to define their use (headlines vs. body, size, etc.), so you can establish recognition.

4. Voice — Finally, your content is extremely important. It works hand in hand with your design elements to convey the brand image and feel you’re working for. Your type of business will dictate how you begin. Professional service providers will want to stay more authoritative and trustworthy, whereas healthcare groups should seem approachable and caring. Graphic designers can do something more edgy. Think through how your content will read in your marketplace. Word choice, structure (i.e., quick bullets, long copy), and calls to action all matter. Develop a voice that best portrays you, then provide examples in your branding guide, so that anyone can follow it.

An LSC Communications company, Digital Lizard works with hundreds of businesses in enhancing their brand. Whether we’re creating online ordering portals with materials your staff can customize, or designing pieces to your standards, we work to ensure 100% adherence to your brand standards. Moreover, we work to help you build a lasting image that drives your success.

Contact Digital Lizard today at 1-866-494-6155 for support with your brand strategy and marketing materials or click below.

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Topics: Graphic design, Branding, corporate branding guide