Brandbook: we create and design it correctly

Brandbook: we create and design it correctly

Introducing a new brand to the market — this is a rather painstaking and complex process that requires an integrated approach. Here it is necessary to provide for many nuances and think through every detail. And it would be very convenient if all this was stored in a single document. This way you can systematically implement all stages without missing anything. Moreover, storing all the rules, illustrations, and instructions in one place will greatly simplify working with the brand in the future. In such a “company book” information on formats of communication with the audience is also entered, all unique elements and corporate style are indicated, and the design is thought.

«Company Book» called a brandbook. This is exactly what we will talk about now. We'll tell you why it still needs to be created and what components should be included. Let's highlight the main stages of development and those points that need to be implemented at each of them. We will provide practical recommendations that will allow you to obtain a worthy solution, which will become the basis for the subsequent work of a particular company. We'll tell you which tools will improve the efficiency of your work.

What is a brandbook

Ensuring the stable and efficient operation of any company is the responsibility of many specialists. Some communicate directly with clients, offering them certain goods and services. Others — launch advertising campaigns to convey information about the brand to the user audience. Third — are working on creating and filling the official website of the company. Fourth — promote the brand on social networks and other platforms. And even if you manage to assemble a truly professional team of salespeople, marketers, designers, SMM-specialists, copywriters — this will not guarantee effective work. It is also very important to coordinate the actions of all personnel, teach them to express their thoughts in a common language and style. This is the only way you can create a unified brand image that the audience can easily recognize and associate with your company.

In principle, sufficiently long and well-coordinated work of the team will contribute to the fact that each individual specialist will eventually become imbued with a single style. Well, this will require quite a lot of time and accompanying recommendations and instructions from managers. And this can only be realized if there are no internal disagreements.

In order to prevent such mistakes and initially start the work of a team of specialists in the right direction, a brand book is being created — a set of rules and recommendations that will allow each individual employee to perform their work in accordance with a single tone of voice. This guide will contain everything that is directly related to the creation and promotion of the company’s online presence, as well as communications with potential clients, business partners and other audiences.

When creating a brandbook, you need to consider a number of key points:

  • directly the profile of the company itself and in which market segment it operates;
  • scale of the brand: local, within one country, international;
  • business model used;
  • on which channels it is planned to launch advertising campaigns;
  • a range of specialists who will have to maintain a corporate style in their work.

That is, the brandbook will in any case have its own uniqueness and individuality. It’s one thing if you represent a company that sells real estate to the public, but it’s completely different if we’re talking about a children’s goods store. In the same way, the size of the company also influences the design of the brandbook. In the first case, it will be necessary to provide for a huge number of points and coordinate the work of dozens of specialists, which will take more than a hundred pages. In the second case, it will be quite possible to invest in 30-50 pages.

The company will also involve a different number of people in creating such a book. If one designer and marketer will be enough to develop a project for the same online store, then to create a brand book for a developer it will be necessary to involve analysts, brand strategists, creative, financial, art directors, etc.

That is, quite individual work lies ahead. But in any case, the basis of the entire brand book will be quite similar. And now we will get acquainted in more detail with its structure and main sections, without being tied to one or another market niche, the size of the company, or the business models used.

Main sections of the brandbook

In its classic version, the brandbook will include the following main sections:

  1. Name. This is the brand name itself and its permissible variations. We are talking about acronyms, abbreviations, use cases. Those names that cannot be used when working with the website and other company resources are written down separately.
  2. Guideline. This is a separate guide that outlines how a brand's visual identity can be used. Both recommendations and possible prohibitions are indicated here.
  3. Positioning. This section outlines the main goals of the company's mission. It indicates what role this brand should play in the lives of users and what benefits it should bring to them.
  4. Unique Selling Proposition (USP). This section reveals the competitive advantages of those goods and services that the brand supplies to the market. The benefits that the buyer will receive from working with the company are described.
  5. Portrait of the target audience. This describes who the company focuses on in its work. The portrait of the target audience includes gender, age of potential buyers, their interests, income level, as well as a number of related parameters.
  6. Character. This is a kind of brand voice, a message of emotions that the company should address to its audience. Here the specific features of communication, the desired style, the information presented, permitted and prohibited communication formats, etc. are written down.

But once again we want to draw your attention to the fact that the brandbook will reflect the personality of your brand. This means that there are no strict limits, requirements, or prohibitions here. You must choose exactly the communication style that will be most effective in your case. The one that will be most effective in displaying the ideas and objectives of your company, and will also help form the face of your brand, its recognizable image on the Internet.

If necessary, you can also include additional information about your company in the brandbook, in particular the history of its creation, if it is old enough and interesting. This will allow your employees to understand your goals and objectives, determine their character, and then work based on this information. This solution will be especially useful for companies that have been operating in the market for a long time and stably. Those that have their own rich history. Examples here include brands such as Bosch, Ikea, Nestle, etc. But for a small chain of children's goods that appeared on the market several years ago, it is most likely not worth including the history of its development in the brandbook.

Developing a brandbook: sequence of actions

The entire process of developing a brandbook, including a complete guide for all specialists who will work on its promotion on the market, takes on average from 1 month to six months. It all depends on how large-scale the project is to be implemented, as well as the specifics of its activities. The more complex it is, the more nuances will need to be provided for, which will necessarily affect the time spent. But if we are talking about a small company, then it will take you about a month and a half to develop a short logobook or guideline.

In this process the following stages will be implemented:

  1. Collection of analytical data. This work will be especially relevant for large companies. Only in this case is it necessary to conduct in-depth marketing research of the market, highlight the key product on which the brand’s activities are based, study how it all works for its closest competitors, what strategies they use in the market.
  2. Development of an online platform. This stage will also have to be implemented by large companies. Here strategic positioning is thought through, missions and brand goals are defined, and key advantages are highlighted. A number of related works are also being carried out, which will become the basis for the formation of a unique image of the company.
  3. Development of corporate identity. This will also include creating your own logo. Often, several general design options are initially developed, and only then one final one is selected. The one that most closely matches the wishes of the brand owner will be able to reflect the goals and objectives of the company. All subsequent developments will be based on it.
  4. Drafting a list of sections that will be included in the brandbook. Its general structure is being developed, and the work that will need to be implemented in practice is determined.
  5. Preparation for each section of a separate technical specification. It should include a brief, as well as direct requirements for the tasks to be performed. How competently and comprehensively you approach solving problems at this stage will have a direct impact on the quality of the finished work, that is, it will minimize possible edits and allow you to obtain the most effective solution.
  6. Design development. In this case, we are talking about developing a unified external design style for the brand: its website, advertising campaigns, social networks; and any other representative offices. It is important to ensure that with any contact with your brand, the target audience immediately has a corresponding association: they must understand who they are dealing with.
  7. Final layout of the brandbook. All work that was performed at earlier stages is now collected into a single document. It is carefully checked again. Particular attention is paid to the coordination of all sections with each other.
  8. Print the required number of original layouts. Only after you make sure that all work has been completed as correctly as possible can you send the brand book to print. The number of copies is selected in such a way that each specialist who will subsequently work with the brand has his own printed copy. This will greatly simplify your work and prevent you from missing even small details.

The nuances of creating a guideline

Guideline — this is one of the key elements in creating a brand book for absolutely any company, regardless of its size or type of activity. It tells you everything that will help you create a corporate identity. This includes recommendations for drawing all elements, as well as the features of their use. Thanks to the correct solution to the task, specialists will be able to create the overall design of an advertisement, website, social network, packaging, merch in a visually similar style.

The corporate identity itself will include the following elements:

  • logo, including the grid for creating it;
  • those logo options that can be used and what are prohibited;
  • the so-called “security field” logo;
  • a set of branded fonts, as well as possible options for using them in practice;
  • color palette that will be used when working with a particular brand;
  • acceptable icons, textures, patterns, as well as pictures, photographs, images;
  • design options for media.

When developing a guideline, it will not be enough to simply list all those pictures and design elements that will be used in practice. You need to communicate to the performers how you would like to use each of these elements. This will allow the work to be completed so professionally that it will not lose its relevance even after several years. At the same time, you will be able to involve them in the implementation of the task, both in-house designers and third-party specialists. At the same time, there is no need to fear that the unified style of the brand will be disrupted and that some of the individual elements will stand out too much from the overall picture.

Now we will dwell in more detail on the development of individual most important elements.

What is a grid for building a logo

Logо. This is what will allow your company to stand out from the general background and will be displayed on any external information media, including labels, advertising, as well as on the Internet. It is important to ensure that the logo is the same in each case of use. Therefore, its dimensions are indicated with an accuracy of a fraction of a millimeter, all the necessary indents, slopes, as well as those variables that should be included in it. Thanks to such recommendations, the designer will be able to repeat the logo on any other media, without distorting it.

Possible logo versions

In this case, we are talking about how the logo should be placed on certain media. Possible options for tilting, shifting, turning in one direction or another, and options for using shadows are given. Basically, the need to use vertical or horizontal orientation, color combinations, formats and sizes of the logo are indicated.

It will also be necessary to indicate possible options and sizes of the logo depending on what printed product it will be placed on. Here are a number of general recommendations based on the size of the printed product:

  • A1: length 208 mm;
  • A2: length 147 mm;
  • A3: length 104 mm;
  • A4: length 73 mm;
  • A5: length 52 mm.

The width of the logo is determined based on its length. To calculate it, you need to multiply the length by a factor of 0.35.

Similar recommendations should be followed when designing any brand materials. The only exception — these are souvenirs and decorations. In this case, you can play with the size and shape of the logo. The main thing – make sure that it is clearly visible on the branded object.

Determining the placement of the logo

For the most part, the logo is placed at the top of the page in the right or left corner, depending on what material is being discussed. It is optimal to initially determine where exactly it will be located and continue to use a similar solution in the future.

Also at this stage, you can already determine on what basic background your logo can be placed, and which color shades are best avoided. It is not necessary to choose one option for all cases. So, for example, for working with social networks, you can choose one background, for the site — another, for some promotional materials — third.

Unacceptable solutions in logos

Here you need to describe how you do not want your logo to look. That is, you can specify that you cannot change the color scheme, font type or size, rotate the inscription at a certain angle, or add third-party details. Here you can also add a ban on using a color palette that will overlap with the solutions that your competitors use.

Even if you don’t clearly understand how your logo should look on a particular website, online platform, or printed product, then at least at this stage highlight what you don’t want it to look like. But the main thing at this stage is not to overdo it too much, because the more prohibitions there are, the more difficult it will be for employees to subsequently take into account all these nuances in practice.

What you need to know about the logo security field

In order to ensure that your logo stands out visually on your site or advertising product, you need to make sure that there is some free space between it and other elements, be it text or a graphic image. This is a kind of security field. It is a rectangular area where it is prohibited to place any elements that are not related to the background. It must be no less in height than the capital block letter of the font you have chosen to design your logo.

It turns out that you surround your logo on all four sides with such a protective field.

Choice of brand colors

How correctly you choose the color scheme of your brand will largely influence the success of brand promotion. This is something that will be directly involved in shaping the company’s image and will affect how the audience will perceive it. And with the help of color you can create a corporate style that will catch the eye, stand out from the general background, and evoke associations.

That is why each company, when developing its own “face”, is very careful in choosing the appropriate color palette. It is these shades that will subsequently be used in the development of all other solutions, be it an advertising campaign, packaging, merch, or pages on social networks. Over time, users will be able to easily differentiate your brand from other organizations.

For example, what kind of light did you think of when you heard the word Fanta? What color palette appeared in your imagination when you heard the word Tinkoff? Your idea will work in a similar way if you pay proper attention to the selection of the color palette. Experiment with solutions, see which option best suits your wishes. Along with the main ones, you can also choose additional colors.

And only after that write the relevant information in the brandbook:

  • primary colors in the schemes that designers use in practice: Pantone, CMYK, Oracal, RGB, RAL;
  • possible combinations of additional shades in the above palettes;
  • combination rules, if you have a special request.

Now you don’t have to worry that changing the artist, including the designer, will have some kind of negative impact on your corporate style and will disrupt the idea.

Choose suitable fonts

Just as in the case of color schemes, fonts are chosen once and for all. They will also play a role in shaping the brand image and reflecting its character. In this case, we are talking about specially selected font sets that will be used in the design of absolutely all text documentation related to your company. It is optimal to choose a black or white font shade depending on what background it will be located on: light or dark.

At this stage, we also think about how the headings will look, the text itself, and additional captions that are present in the text content. In practice, there are often cases when large companies develop their own fonts and work only with them. However, no other third party organization can use them in practice. Only in this case you need to be very careful, because such solutions will not always be displayed correctly on other user devices, which will complicate the perception of information, and in some cases make it completely impossible.

When developing a brandbook, it is better to divide the use of fonts into 2 sections:

  1. Basic. This is what will be used on absolutely all advertising packages, business documentation, online catalogues, in the text content of websites, as well as any other image materials. It is mandatory to specify in what situations this font will be used. Here you can also use a custom font designed specifically for your company.
  2. Additional. It is worth considering which font will be used when it is not possible to use the main one. Alternatively, for example, email correspondence, posts on social networks. Here you will have to choose from the standard options provided on the site you are working with.

Textures, illustrations, pictograms

This solution can most often be seen in practice in large corporations. Where using one logo, color scheme and one font, even a unique one, is not enough. In this case, illustrations, textures, and pictograms come to the aid of designers, which can be developed individually for each company. And here it is very important to make them easy to visually perceive. Such, one glance at which would be enough for the user to understand your idea and evoke an association with the brand.

You also write them down in the brandbook, but at the same time you also add terms of use, indicate the size of the security zone and set any parameters that will need to be followed in the future when working with them. If there are any points of use that you would like to exclude, then mark this as well.

What should be the design of the media

Almost every company operating on the market has a fairly impressive set of brand media. This is everything that may contain the company’s logo, its color design, and fonts. This includes various pens, notepads, paper bags, umbrellas, pillows and much more.

And here it is very important to indicate how you would like to use this or that element. This is especially important when working with brands that market clothing and shoes. Surely you know that Nike and Puma have clear instructions regarding where the company logo will be located on a particular item. And all this is written down in detail in the brandbook.

Features of creating printed materials

In order to develop in the market and convey information about the activities of their company to a wide segment of the audience, almost any company uses various catalogs, calendars, booklets, flyers, leaflets and other printed products. It will also have a significant impact on the formation of the brand style. Therefore, special attention is also paid to its design.

It is also important to follow the color style and fonts here. At the same time, it is important to prescribe all printing standards for each individual product. It is also important to include the size and type of paper used.

Defining requirements when working with social networks

Today, almost every business has its own representation on social networks. The opportunities that regular websites provide will not be enough for comprehensive promotion. This is due to the fact that on social networks you can find the target audience for absolutely any business and attract their attention with minimal waste of time and effort. Such accounts — this is a simple and effective solution for promoting certain goods and services, ensuring convenient communication with the audience, and quick response to requests from potential buyers.

In your brandbook, you need to specify exactly how your brand accounts should be created. It is important to take into account many nuances, starting from the choice of corporate identity and color scheme. It is important to develop a rough format for creating all posts.

The recommendations that can be indicated in this document include:

  1. The principle of creating posts on each of the social networks that you plan to work with. What will be relevant in one social network will be completely irrelevant for another.
  2. Designing posts dedicated to promotional offers. This is necessary so that your potential clients, even before reading the information, understand that you have launched a promotion and invite them to take advantage of such an offer.
  3. Options for designing advertising banners in the same social networks or browsers.

But at the same time, we must understand that the social network — this is a platform where you can experiment with colors and styles. But at the same time, it is still worth strictly following the main stylistic decision.

To summarize

So, we have considered all the main points that need to be taken into account when developing a brandbook for a company. We described why this process is so important. The information presented will allow you to navigate the specifics of the upcoming process and perform all this work as correctly as possible and with minimal waste of time and effort. But in order for the development of the design of your brand, as well as all subsequent work on its promotion, to be as effective as possible, this task must be approached comprehensively and professionally.

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