Establishing a Brand Standards Doc

Aug 11, 2016 | 212 Articles, Advertising, Brand, Business, Content Generation, Content Marketing, Professionalism

What makes you recognizable to other people? Your face, voice, physical shape, and gait are primarily what identify you to people who know you. But what about those you only see under certain circumstances, such as in that once-a-month synchronized swimming class? If you are standing in line at the DMV next to someone from your swimming class, is he as likely to immediately recognize you dry and in street clothes?

What makes your company recognizable? The stylistic uniqueness of your logo and the consistency of your branded colors, yes—but it is also the consistency of the environment, the little commonalities in your presentation that identify your brand and differentiate you from other companies. These commonalities help solidify your brand recognition. Your brand is not just your logo, colors, and tagline. It’s also the fonts you use in your marketing material, how and when the colors are used, and the circumstances in which your tagline is included or not, just to name a few.

Think of those commonalities as rules for your employees, partners, and vendors who might represent your company and your brand to the public. These rules need to be written down in a rule book. Welcome to your new brand standards document.

In its simplest form, the brand standards doc lays down the “law of the logo.” Let’s say your design firm has cautioned you to never print your logo smaller than a certain size or resolution. Put it in the rule book. What are the CMYK colors for your logo when printed and the RGB colors on the web? Put it in the rule book. If you have one logo for light backgrounds and another logo for dark backgrounds, then you need to define what constitutes light and dark when it comes to backgrounds. Put it in the rule book. How close can text or other objects come to your logo? This is important in maintaining the “clear space” around it for optimal recognition. Put it in the rule book. Which fonts do you use in your white papers? Put it in the rule book.

Your brand standards doc can be a short, one-page list of rules or it can be an extensive, well planned tome of conditional variables, depending on your company’s needs—as long as the primary focus is communicating the rules that define your brand.

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