Brand guidelines VS Creativity

Some are very comprehensive and cover everything from logo usage to type style, website layout, and editorial tone. Brand guidelines – also known as brand standards, style guides, brand books, even brand bibles – are an essential tool to help design a successful brand. They specify how the different elements of a brand work together to form a brand identity. They help make sure everyone involved in the making of a brand is looking in the same direction.

The main reason brand guidelines exist is to keep consistency in check. Consistency is key, especially for brands that extend across multiple touch points. Imagine your favorite bottled water brand featuring volcanoes in a TV commercial but fairytale castles in print. Or Easyjet aircrafts painted in an apple green livery because it’s the new brand manager’s favorite color. At best you’d be confused. At worst the brand would go unnoticed, having missed out on an opportunity to refresh memory structures to get your attention. It is only through consistency that brands become familiar, trusted – and grow.

They help make sure everyone involved in the making of a brand is looking in the same direction.

But to work effectively, brand guidelines don’t have to be a set of rigid rules and regulations. In fact they should allow for flexibility. Or else you might soon have to answer to stale, uninspired creative that locks your brand at idle.

In fact they should allow for flexibility

A few years ago, McDonald’s bent the rules with a series of outdoors billboards featuring food pictures. No copy, no logo. Just close-ups of BigMacs and McFlurries. A bold move given McDonalds’ guidelines most probably don’t point out logos are optional. Good brand guidelines manage to guard a brand from getting too far from its focus, all while giving it enough room for emotional engagement.

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Text credits: ARD / agi

Images credits: McDonald's

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