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What is a brand guidelines document

What is a brand guidelines document?

Also known as Brand Standards or a Style Guide, a Brand Guidelines document is a set of rules on how to represent your brand visually across digital channels and printing collateral. Brand Guidelines are essential for ensuring consistency and managing your business across the various platforms available in this technology age.

The key to branding is consistency and a Brand Guidelines assist your employees or outsourced Graphic Designers with ensuring your business is represented correctly to your target market.

“Consistency is the backbone of an authentic, trustworthy, and recognisable brand and customer experience. This means consistency in the way you look, speak to, and service your customers and target audience.” LogoMaker 2018

Creating a Brand Guidelines document is not easy, it takes a great deal of effort and research however. Once complete the document saves your staff time and builds credibility and recognition with your clientele.

What content is in a Brand Guidelines document?

Depending on the size of your organisation or the industry you are from, your guidelines will vary from your neighbouring business. No two guidelines are ever the same, which is the way it should be! A Brand Guidelines document should include:

  • Cover page
  • Logo and logo elements
  • Colour palettes (or swatches)
  • Typography
  • Examples of use


Logo usage may sound simple. A page with how the company’s logo is represented is one of the most important aspects and can take up several pages.

  • Icons or Graphics: An image that compliments your company’s name.
  • Logotype: Your company’s name, which is an important part of the Brand Guidelines as the width of the ‘w’ is used to establish the ‘x’ measurement, used for spacing elements across the guidelines.
  • Tagline or slogan: Where applicable.
  • Clear Space: To ensure visibility and impact.
Logo exclusion zones from brand guidelines

Once the logo is set, there are still set rules to ensure that your logo is not compromised in any way.

Logo examples from brand guidelines

Colour palettes (or swatches)

Colour palettes are the primary colours utilised in your logo, including black and white, greyscale, transparent and any other colour variations that are or are not allowed.  The colour palettes include CMYK, RGB and HEX values for print and web purposes. Specifying colour values is vital to ensure your brand is represented correctly across marketing material.

  • CMYK VALUES: The percentages of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black that make up a specific colour for a four-colour printing process.
  • RGB VALUES: The Red, Green and Blue values that make up an online colour – not to be used for printed material.
  • HEX VALUES: The HEX values that make up an online colour – not to be used for printed material.


Typography showcases your company’s main fonts or typefaces used in your logo to be used across your business’ collateral.

Examples of use

Include imagery of your logo applied to promotional material including stationery, t-shirts, packaging and more.

Additional section to add to your Brand Guidelines

As mentioned above, the size of your Brand Guidelines document varies on the size and scope of your company. Therefore, other sections that can be added to a brand guideline are:

  • Mission statement
  • Images: stock imagery or original photography.
  • Illustrations or icons: customised or purchased illustrations.
  • Design specifications: such as social media templates or document templates.
  • Brand voice: such as “about us”.

Whether you are a small business or large business, a Brand Guidelines document establishes your business on the path to a strong brand identity. Being able to ensure consistency across your website, social media, printed goods and promotional material all starts with Brand Guidelines.

Why do I need Brand Guidelines?

The production into creating Brand Guidelines is quite complex, subsequently a great deal of thought and effort must go into one to be successful. So why does your business need Brand Guidelines?

1. Consistency across your brand assets

Consistency is the pillar behind a strong brand. A brand will struggle to become a “household name” or market leader if their imagery and message is changing. Simply because the potential customers will not recognise the company.

2. Working with designers

Should your business need to outsource some Graphic Design work, Brand Guidelines will provide simple instructions on how they should design your collateral. Your carefully thought-out document includes “examples of use” and specifies how your logo should be placed.

3. Working with a printer

Did you know that printers have their own colour values? Or that a printer trims your printed collateral once printed?  An image should not be taken straight from the internet and placed in a document to print. Your company’s Brand Guidelines will specifically tell you what colour values should be used for print, ensuring your print goods will be on brand.

4. New Employees

Brand Guidelines are a great tool to provide new staff when commencing employment with your company, especially for the marketing team. Brand Guidelines often include a “brand voice” such as about us or mission statements, and will provide a helpful source of reference for employees. 

5. Evolving your business

As mentioned above, Brand Guidelines are not just thrown together. The guidelines are carefully thought-out and can provide strategic direction, in terms of the materials and messages. The Brand Guidelines will keep your marketing on track which will ideally lead your company to reach their target audience/s.

If you need help preparing your brand guidelines document, contact your local Worldwide team.

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