We never ever ever ever (ever ever!) do a brand project without brand guidelines. We used to. It was a mistake. So we don't any more.
Brand guidelines, if you don't know (and it's okay if you don't) are a set of rules on how to use all the elements of your brand. What to do and what not to do. So your marketing collateral is consistent—every time.
Choosing to author a brand and a series of specific brand guidelines is time-consuming, calculated, and absolutely necessary if you care at all about the consistency and integrity of your brand moving forward (and you do. We guarantee it.) It'll cost more money than just a logo development project and this is why it's a no-brainer:
1. Rules nip sloppiness in the bud.
If you don't define how to use the brand you invested in created, then you're leaving it vulnerable to inconsistencies. Without parameters, anyone who touches your brand—another designer, a print house, a vinyl co, a signage shop, a web development firm, etc.—can do whatever the heck they want. Change the colours and the sizes. Use words that aren't in your brand vocabulary. Change the fonts. Alter the orientation. All these things are bad, by the way. Rules are your friend, here. They ensure brand consistency across all marketing channels and customer touchpoints. Memorable brands are brands that show up consistently.
2. A logo isn't a brand.
What makes a brand is its assets. The fonts. The palette. The patterns. The photography style. The voice. A logo is nothing without a foundation. The guidelines feature all the assets and provides clear usage instructions. Ensure that your brand message is communicated consistently across all marketing channels and customer touchpoints.
3. Direction eliminates internal confusion
Every single person in your organization should understand the brand. Employees, after all, are part of the brand and should be an example of the brand from the inside out. Guidelines give newbies to the company and a brand, the ones who weren't there for its creation, a sense of what they're a part of and direction on how to keep it moving forward steadily. On course. Without deviation. It sets the brand up for success—and the people touching the brand, too.
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