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7 elements to have in your brand guidelines


Your company has values, a personality, and a mission; all together, you have your brand identity. Your brand identity is how you want your customers to think of you and remember you as. Developing brand guidelines will help you create a powerful one. From there, you can build loyalty, trust, and grow through consistency and flow.

Brand designer Arlene Delgado dives in deeper, saying, “Your brand identity is the core essence of your brand. Having a strong and consistent brand identity communicates the personality of your business and shapes your customer’s perception of who you are and what you stand for. It creates trust and helps set you apart from other businesses. If done right, it helps to attract your ideal clients to you so that the people you can serve the most find you and stick around.”

How can you create a powerful brand identity?

First, you’ll have to develop your brand guidelines. With it, you’ll be able to deliver the experience your clients expect for each and every interaction they have with you. Arlene adds, “The brand guidelines document is essentially your brand bible. It is a document that outlines who your business is and the aesthetic of your brand.” It’ll help you keep your social media accounts, packaging, emails, website, and other forms of communication consistent and on-brand.

How to develop brand guidelines?

In your brand guidelines, you’ll want to include these 7 elements:

1. Position and vision statement

This section has everything to do with what you do at this time, who you’re serving, and how your brand envisions supporting their customers in the future. For example, Blueland’s mission is:

Our mission is simple: make it easy to be eco with innovative products in reusable packaging that are convenient, effective, and affordable.

While their vision statement is:

We hope to continue our mission of eliminating more single-use plastic packaging and making it easy for everyone to be eco-friendly.

2. Brand values

Your values lead your business choices, the images you post, and the stories you tell. For example, our client, Handmade Beauty, is a nail, bath, and body line offering a complete line-up of toxic-free, handmade products. Their core values are:

  • Awareness and education about clean beauty products and sustainability in the beauty industry
  • Honesty
  • Transparency
  • Integrity
3. Core messaging

Your core messaging is where your brand identifies your key differentiators and story points. Your message is most powerful this way. Sharing this with your ideal customers will help them decide why they should choose you over your competitors.

Sometimes they need reminding, so being consistent with what’s unique about your brand is essential.

4. Logo usage

Chances are you have different formats of your logo. You may have a vertical or horizontal design. Or perhaps you have a wordmark. Think and decide how each will be used.

5. Brand voice

Think: who you’re talking to, what they need, and what they want to hear. This way, you can tell your brand’s story in an authentic and relatable way. When we write email subject lines or captions, we like to use Spark Toro to help us learn how our audience talks, the words they use, and the tone they respond to.

We’ve found that casual, yet informative and passionate conversations can build brand loyalty for conscious consumers. We also learned that being trendy and trustworthy is noteworthy.

6. Typography and color palette

Typography and colors provoke emotions and influence how customers view the personality of your brand. “So much of this is subconscious,” tells Arlene. “Blue calms the mind, red increases appetite, purple denotes royalty, white evokes purity, and so on.”

She adds, “Specific fonts can make customers feel or associate your business in a particular way due to the deep links in culture and their usage. Other elements play into typography, such as size, contrast, and spacing, which affect text readability.”

Consumer tip: Inauthentic ‘green’ companies use this knowledge to persuade purpose-driven consumers.

“Some companies use the impact and psychology behind color to their advantage by investing money into marketing that paints their brand as “green” when in reality they’re not doing their due diligence in ensuring that the brand is actually sustainable. This is called greenwashing, and it misleads purpose-driven consumers into investing in what they believe is a sustainable option. Greenwashing is used to distract the consumer from what is really going on. It’s important for people to look a little deeper into the brands they’re investing in.”

7. Photography and design elements

Imagery is especially important for social media and email projects. When you’re consistent with your photography and design elements, your followers and subscribers know who this message is coming from. Plus, when they come to recognize your brands’ style (and enjoy your content), it will get them to stop scrolling. Or stop and open up that email. In turn, you’ll have a greater opportunity to solve their problems and build brand loyalty.

The takeaway

“Get really clear on how you want your prospective customers to feel while interacting with your wellness and sustainability brand. It is vital to making aligned aesthetic choices for your brand,” advises Arlene.

All in all, use your brand guidelines to help your creativity flow and inspire future campaigns. “Your brand guidelines give you a structure that will help guide your creativity while also maintaining the integrity of your brand. I find that having the aesthetic guide for your brand gives you a roadmap that feels more creatively liberating than limiting. It takes some of the guesswork out of creating marketing materials and allows you to put your energy into new ideas.”

Meet the expert

Arlene Delgado

Arlene Delgado is an Art Director, Graphic designer with over 10 years of experience specializing in building brands from the ground up. Arlene utilizes her background as a visual artist & illustrator, along with her extensive knowledge in typography and smart design to build cohesive brands that stand out among the saturated consumer market. She combines her experience in both luxury and eclectic design to help bring purpose-driven brands to market.

Have you outlined your brand guidelines? Or do you need help with defining your brand guidelines? Email for a personal referral.

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The Purpose-Driven