How to create your own brand guidelines
Branding is the public face of your business. It’s what gives it an identity in all areas. To do so, it needs to be consistent, which is the main purpose of brand guidelines. Consistency ensures that wherever your brand is present, people can easily distinguish it without question. Consistent branding is also important for maintaining trust with your customers – if you never look or sound the same, how can they become comfortable with you?
In order to be able to keep things consistent, you need to create a set of rules that anyone working with your brand must abide by. Make sure you do the following to get started on creating your brand’s guidelines…
Create a document
By creating a written record of how things should be done, you can avoid confusion or discrepancy. It should be easily accessible to everyone, and since you’re an e-commerce business and online is your thing, we’d recommend making the copy available online as a non-editable pdf. If you don’t have a shared file repository, you can use tools such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
The file should not be editable by anyone apart from those who are authorised to make changes.
Spare no detail
When creating the document, don’t be afraid to be as specific as possible. Include things that should and should not be done. The more specific you are, the less confusion or questions there will be.
Outline Brand Colours
Make sure you outline your brand’s core colour(s). We’d recommend keeping things simple with only a few colours for your logo. Make sure the colours you choose exude the right meaning.
According to Canva.com, different colours can evoke different emotions:
Red – Danger, Passion, Excitement, Energy
Green – Natural, Vitality, Prestige, Wealth
Blue – Communicative, Trustworthy, Calming, Depressed
Yellow – Optimistic, Cheerful, Playful, Happy
Black – Sophisticated, Formal, Luxurious, Sorrowful
White – Purity, Simplicity, Innocence, Minimalism
Brown – Organic, Wholesome, Simple
Orange – Fresh, Youthful, Creative, Adventurous
Pink – Feminine, Sentimental, Romantic, Exciting
Purple – Royalty, Majesty
Take inspiration from other brands and build your brand’s own unique colour! We all know what shades Coca-Cola Red and Starbucks Green are.
Think also about what your secondary colours are. If you look at Starbucks, not everything is plastered in green and white. They also use black, golds and browns (clearly related to coffee) as secondary colours to use alongside their primary colours.
Be sure to include the full palette in your document including how to achieve this specific shade.
Specify Your Logo
Decide what your logo is going to be if you haven’t already and provide specific details on how it is done. We’re talking specifics such as the size of the logo or how many millimetres apart the letters are. If you wish, you could provide examples of how your logo may and may not be used, changed or shortened across different platforms.
A great example of this is the Virgin Group. This multinational company has many brands from travel and transport to finance, telecoms and media. Each brand logo varies but always maintains the iconic handwriting.
Confirm Brand Messaging
Alongside your images, you also need to consider your brand’s messaging. This is a key part of your brand’s identity too. In this section, you need to ensure that your messaging is consistent and that rules are in place to dictate what you can and can’t say as your brand. This also determines the brand’s tone of voice and attitude. Will your brand be serious and professional? Happy and cheerful? Funny and sarcastic?
To help create the write tone and messaging, we advise creating user personas for your business. If you’ve created solid personas of your ideal customer, your brand messaging should resonate well with your intended audience.