Creating a Branding Guide

Christelle Lyman

When creating a logo for a client we create a Branding Guide as well. A Branding Guide provides instructions on how a company’s message or product is presented. These instructions can consist in many different channels, it can be anything from a hexadecimal formula to company’s tone.  Branding Guides help to deliver a concise and consistent message. Consistency develops brand recognition and brand recognition is important when delivering a brand building strategy in a saturated marketing landscape.
What does a Branding Guide consist of?


Companies will often start with an introduction about themselves along with a Vision Statement, Values, Mission or perhaps a brand promise in order to offer an understanding of the tone or voice of the brand.  Guides may provide examples when defining a voice brand. If a tone is warm and inviting an explanation is included along with a sample sentence structure. Suggestions on how to engage, or words to avoid may also be important to the brand’s written content.


One of the first items addressed and typically the strongest form of communication is the logo. There may be a vertical and/or horizontal version. The guide will suggest which one to use under certain circumstances.

Color Palette

Color Palettes list the different colors the company wants associate with the brand in order to best communicate the brand or tone. Using repetitive colors also furthers brand recognition by 80%. Formulas will be detailed to ensure correct color.
The color formulas presented are:
-One Color (usually black) or White for a Reversed logo
The guide will also provide the circumstances in which the formula will be used. Ex. RGB formulas are used for multimedia usage of the logo and CMYK and Pantones can be for printed collateral.
Guidelines will provide examples of misuses of the logo to deter users from taking “creative” liberties with a logo.

Clear Zone

Branding guides will provide a measurement in which there needs to be a “Clear Zone”. A
“Clear Zone” is the amount of space required around a logo. The clear zone isn’t typically a numeric measurement.  It is the measurement of the height of the largest letter present in the logo or the height of a symbol or shape within the logo. Something within the logo to measure by.  The unit of measurement is usually described as “X”


Quite often organizations will have a preferred Typeface or Font that is used to further communicate the brand. If so, Headlines and Copy information will be detailed. Headline, Sub-headline and body copy all will have their respective point sizes which may include leading and kerning.  Copy placement may also be addressed, along with product and logo positioning.

Logo Applications and Collateral

Applications can include visual samples of Letterhead, Business Cards and Envelops.
Electronic Format examples such as PowerPoint Presentations or a web site.
Remember without a branding guide it is hard to keep a brand consistent. If your brand is established and you don’t have brand guidelines, we are happy to help! If you are thinking about a rebrand and have questions about that, DM can help with that also.