If you have every received somebody’s business card after meeting them, but prior to this event had seen their website, a leaflet or an advertisement and they don’t match like that of the big boys, we don’t really take them as seriously as those that do and neither will anyone else when it is to do with your company.
It is actually far more serious than this, as without consistency, there is a fear that your marketing activities won’t even be recognized by prospects as coming from the same company and hinder your building of your brand and public awareness.
To ensure the biggest bang for your buck and optimum efficiency in building brand awareness, you need a brand book from the get go.
What is in a Brand Book?
A brand book (also referred to in the UK as a Corporate ID Reproduction Guide) is essence, is a document that sets out the rules and explains how your brand works, typically including details information such as:
- Brand’s History Overview
- The Vision, Personality and Key Values.
- Logo Schematic and Specifications (including tagline usage)
- Visual examples correct and incorrect logo treatments
- Colour Palette (in RGB, CMYK and Pantone References)
- Approved Fonts and Typefaces
- Business Card and Letterhead Design
For a small company just starting off the above may be enough, however it is not that much effort or more costly to go further and be ready for when you wish to move forward by including:
- Photography Style
- Supporting Graphic Elements
- Design Layouts and Grids
- Social Media Profile Page Applications
- Brochure / Flyer Layout Guide
- Website Layout
- Signage Specifications
- Advertising Treatments
- Merchandising Applications
- Copywriting style i.e. “tone of voice”
- Editorial Guidelines
Remember however that these are just guides to help maintain consistency and are not to be so strict that the remove flair from the designer or author working with them. Rules are to be flexible, but should not be broken; over time when meeting new challenges, you may use the decisions as to what was approved to revise and refine your brand book as you go along.
When and Who Should Develop the Brand Book ?
Preferably, it should be done by a marketing agency that is helping you across the board with all your marketing activities, as they will know what needs to be in there; however if you are not yet using a marketing agency, any professional designer who has experience designing brand books will suffice, just make sure you ask to see samples of previous work.
Your finished brand book should be readily available as a pdf in vector graphic format and with embedded fonts that you can email to anyone that needs it.
How to use the Brand Book
When hiring third party resources such as designers, advertisers, printers or even photographers for that matter, the brand book will help them fully understand the company’s image, message they need to portray.
Here are the most common issues that happen without a brand book:
- Inappropriate use of logo and or tagline
- Incorrect use of colours, typefaces and design elements
- Image of the company is lost by lack of understanding
- Inconsistent message delivery – resulting in poor sales
The Way it is…
The logo is not actually your brand, but the key elements from which everything pivots and the brand books ensures consistency across the board that could otherwise not be guaranteed without.
Here are some good examples of Brand Books: