Brand standards, brand guidelines, style manual, style guides, brand book: No matter what you call them, brand standards are crucial. (And yes: Your brand needs them.)
What are brand standards?
Brand standards are a quick-reference guide to your brand, providing direction and guidance to ensure your branding is consistent across the board.
You’ll use brand standards as the set of rules and guidelines that protect the look, feel, and integrity of your brand.
Why are brand standards important?
The top reason brand standards are important? Consistency. There is no better way to protect your enormous investment into your brand than to develop thorough brand standards.
Brands that aren’t consistent can seem messy, untrustworthy, and unlikeable. A consistent brand—the hallmark of a well-used brand standards guide—reassures customers they’ve made the right choice in trusting their business with you.
What’s included in brand standards?
Brand standards can range from basic guidelines on colors and font, to an extremely thorough set of rules and examples of what your brand is and is not supposed to look like.
Common elements of a brand standards guide include rules around:
Who should use brand standards?
Anyone who touches your brand—employees, contractors, creatives—should be familiar with your brand standards and refer to them often. Following the standards is critical to the brand experience, and it ensures the brand you’ve created has a long and successful life.
But brand standards are nothing more than wasted time and trees if you’re not enforcing the standards every single day. Once you have brand standards in place, they should guide every single project, communication, and effort set forth by your brand.