What Is A Brand Guide?

When it comes to building a brand, consistency is everything.

Brand guides go beyond a logo and icon. It’s the colors, fonts, imagery, and even the feeling you get when you interact with a brand.

In this article, we’ll look closer at what brand guides are, the important assets that should be included, and a few examples of nonprofits who have awesome brand guides.

What Are Brand Guides?

Brand Guides are basically an instruction manual or rule book on how to communicate your brand. Also known as a style guide or brand guidelines, these documents visualize the elements for a brand. They can be digital like a PDF, or physical, like a book. Most brand guides include the following:

Logos: primary logo, secondary logo, and any icons

Color Palette: primary colors and secondary colors with the corresponding CMYK, RGB, HEX, and PMS values.

Typography: recommended fonts, styles, sizes, and spacing

Imagery: photos, illustrations, and patterns

Why Are Brand Guides Important?

When organizations take the time to create brand guides, it helps ensure their brand image stays consistent no matter where it shows up. It’s how the world recognizes you and begins to trust you. If an organization changes how they look and act all the time, you won’t feel like you know who they are, and you certainly won’t trust them. The same logic applies to brands: inconsistency will confuse and alienate people, leading to fewer donations or sales.

Who Should Use Brand Guides?

A brand guide helps organizations who may have different people creating assets. For instance, maybe you have a web designer creating your website, a marketing manager crafting ads, or a virtual assistant creating internal process documents. A brand guide will ensure everyone is using the logos, colors, and imagery in a consistent manner.

This will pay off in the long run, as your organization will generate familiarity and reliability that will open the door to customer loyalty.


How Often Should I Update my Brand Guide?

Brand guides are living documents; they are meant to be revised and updated as brands grow and evolve. I recommend revisiting your brand guide once a year to make sure it aligns with the organization’s goals and vision.

While some guides are as thick as a novel, others are a simple one-page reference sheet. It all depends on the organization’s needs. The important thing is that it lists your basic brand elements and can act as the singular point of reference for any design project.

Here are 5 awesome brand guide examples that you can use as inspiration:

Girl Scouts

American Heart Association

Charity Water

World Wildlife Fund

The Salvation Army