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.
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.