Branding 101: Do You Need A Brand Bible?


Brand Guidelines (also commonly referred to as “brand standards”, “style guide” or “brand book”) are essentially a set of rules that explain how your brand works. These guidelines typically include basic information such as:

  1. Branding 101: Do You Need A Brand Bible Commentaries
  2. Branding 101: Do You Need A Brand Bible Gateway
  3. Branding 101: Do You Need A Brand Bible Verse

Jul 09, 2019 Before you create a style guide, you need to know your brand. There are five key components: mission, vision, target audience, brand personality and core values. Together, these are the most important things needed to establish your brand identity because they tell the world what you stand for. How to design a brand book. Here are some things that you need to know about brand book design. Before you get started with the layouts, make sure you have the copy, or at least an initial draft. There might be some alterations after or during the design process, but you need something to work with. Businesses take up branding exercise to create a good perception about their products or services. But you need to implement effective branding ideas for the desired results. We give here some unique branding ideas that will give a boost to your brand image. Mar 02, 2009 Your brand is what you’re known for. Good branding is the act of becoming known for something that you do, above any other competitor. As an individual artist it is very likely that you don’t have an established brand like large companies do—which means if you want to gain customers, you must create a brand of your own. One of the most essential documents any business can have is a brand style guide, yet many don’t have one. Why are style guides so important? They ensure brand consistency throughout any collateral you produce–no matter who created it. Style guides (or brand bibles) contain all the necessary information to create whatever your company needs.

  1. An overview of your brand’s history, vision, personality and key values.
  2. Brand message or mission statement – including examples of ‘tone of voice’.
  3. Logo usage – where and how to use your logo including minimum sizes, spacing and what not to do with it.
  4. Colour palette – showing your primary and secondary colour palettes with colour breakdowns for print, screen and web.
  5. Type style – showing the specific font that you use and details of the font family and default fonts for web use.
  6. Image style/photography – examples of image style and photographs that work with the brand.
  7. Business card and letterhead design – examples of how the logo and font are used for standard company literature.

If you’re just starting out and you only require a few key marketing tools at this point, focusing on the above areas may be enough. However, to make sure all your bases are covered, you may choose to go with a more detailed Brand Book that also includes:

- Design layouts and grids
- Social media profile page applications
- Brochure/flyer layout options
- Website layout
- Signage specifications
- Advertising treatments
- Merchandising applications
- Copywriting style (a.k.a. “tone of voice”)
- Editorial guidelines

Brand guidelines should be flexible enough for designers to be creative, but rigid enough to keep your brand easily recognizable. Consistency is key, especially if you need the brand to extend across multiple media platforms.

Maintaining quality and consistency in your brand’s content is a challenge, especially if you’re creating a large volume of content (or working with many content creators). Without the right direction, you can easily end up with Frankenstein-ed content plagued by incorrect colors, misplaced logos, and off-brand messaging. This isn’t just an oversight; it can be a true threat to your brand’s integrity. How, then, do you create content that’s always on brand? With comprehensive brand guidelines.

How Brand Guidelines Help Your Brand

Everything you create should represent your brand accurately. But the larger your network, the harder it can be to monitor content and make sure everything is up to par. (Sometimes it isn’t even a freelancer’s fault; in-house teams can get a little too lax as well.)

This is why brand guidelines matter. They provide the guidelines any and all content creators need to represent your brand accurately, detailing everything from what to say to how to design content. Not only does this provide consistency, it actually benefits your brand in several ways:

  • More quality control: Not everyone has an Art Director available to look over every project, and oftentimes you’re up against a deadline. These, and many other variables, can result in content that is disjointed and ineffective. Your reputation depends on the quality of your creative content, so having well-documented guidelines ensures that you’re always putting out content you’re proud of.
  • Increased comprehension: Clear communication and good design make life easier for your reader or viewer. Guidelines for things like data visualization, color use, or typography help creators design content that is more effective, creating a better content experience overall. Also, this simple act is a tremendous service for the people you want to connect with. It shows that you value their time and are invested in helping them get the info they need and want.
  • Better brand recognition: Brand guidelines help you deliver a cohesive brand experience, making it easier for people to recognize your valuable content. When you provide consistent, high-quality content, people come to rely on you and—even better—seek out your content. They trust you will deliver what they want every time, and that trust is the basis of every strong relationship.

Example: Whether an e-book or infographic, LinkedIn adheres to a strict visual language, including consistent use of their signature blue color, data visualization style, and other details. As a brand determined to help people find the right career, presenting their creative content with a cohesive style helps readers trust their guidance.

How to Create Brand Guidelines

So, how do you make guidelines that work for everyone? We’ve broken the process down to make it easier to create—and use—your guidelines. Enjoy this simple step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Choose Your Format

Depending on your needs, resources, and time, you may choose to design static guidelines that can easily be distributed as a PDF (or live on your server somewhere). Or you may design them for print. (We’ve seen plenty of gorgeous printed guidelines, such as the award-winning hard copy Fisher and Paykel brand guidelines.)

You can also design an interactive brand guidelines, like we did.

The C5 brand style guide lives online, which makes it easy for our team to access anytime, anywhere.

Regardless of the format you choose, your guidelines need to be easily accessible for everyone. Remember: You might be sharing them with freelancers or a content agency.

Step 2: Identify Everything to Include

Your brand guidelines are the summation of your brand strategy. They basically function as your bible; therefore, they should include everything anyone might need to know about your brand.

Different brands will have different needs, but all brand guidelines should include these basic items:

Brand Heart

This is basically the high-level explanation of your brand’s core principles, specifically your:

  • Purpose: Why do you exist?
  • Vision: What future do you want to help create? What does the future look like?
  • Mission: What are you here to do? How do you create that future?
  • Values: What principles guide your behavior?

You can also include your company history, milestones, or any other relevant info one would want to know about the company’s background. This information is important because it explains the core of your brand: who you are, what you do, and why it matters.

Tip: If you haven’t articulated your Brand Heart before, download our free workbook below to do it the right way.


This is everything related to how you speak about your company, describe your products, communicate with customers, etc. This includes your:

  • Brand essence (voice, tone, and personality)
  • Value prop
  • Tagline
  • Messaging pillars
Branding 101: Do You Need A Brand Bible?

You can include any other elements that help people communicate more effectively or provide more context (e.g., a list of words you DON’T use, or the standard descriptions of your services).

Tip: If your messaging needs some work, follow our guides to find your brand voice, write a great tagline, and create your messaging pillars.

Visual Guidelines

Design plays a huge role in your brand’s success. (In fact, the Design Management Institute and Motiv found that design-driven companies over the last 10 years have outperformed the S&P 500 by 228%.) Your guidelines should include a comprehensive visual identity to guide content creation, including:

  • Colors
  • Logos
  • Fonts and typography
  • Hierarchy
  • Photography
  • Illustration
  • Iconography
  • Data visualization
  • Interactive elements
  • Video and motion
  • Web design
  • Etc.

Example: We developed the brand guidelines for The Cove, a workspace venture of UCI Applied Innovation. To capture the brand’s mission and essence (a California-based center of innovation), we developed an ocean-themed visual language, including logo, colors, font, iconography, photography, etc. to be used in all creative content.

Tip: If you haven’t fully designed your visual language (or if you need to refresh it), follow our step-by-step guide to build a brand identity.

Miscellaneous Branding Elements (If Applicable)

Depending on the size of your company, the industry you’re in, or the content or products you produce, you might include directions for additional things, such as audio branding—or even scent branding.

Step 3: Create Your Brand Guidelines (With Examples)

Now that you have your outline, you can write your guidelines, including dos and don’ts, how-tos, and real-world examples. For each section, give enough detail to explain but don’t be exhausting. Helpful brand guidelines don’t just tell—they show. Remember: Design is there to do the heavy lifting.

Example: The Visage brand style guide includes direction for everything from typography layout to photography.

For messaging guidelines, show examples of common use-cases, such as:

  • Social copy
  • Press releases
  • Marketing emails
  • Product descriptions

Example: C5’s brand guidelines provide simple tips for writing different types of copy.

For visual guidelines, include things like:

  • Logo placement
  • Color palettes
  • Typography placement
  • Hierarchy
  • Image guidelines (dimension, page placement)

Example: The Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases guidelines provide direction on proper logo use, including when and where colored logos should be used.

Example: Similarly, the Visage guidelines also include color direction.

A few more tips to make your guidelines more effective:

Branding 101: do you need a brand bible study
  • Keep it simple. They should be comprehensive but not overwhelming. If your brand guidelines are the size of an encyclopedia, they will only serve as a beautiful paperweight on someone’s desk.
  • Use plain english. Explain everything simply and clearly. If a noob can’t interpret it, you’ll be in trouble.
  • Include handy tips & tools. Do you use an app to double-check your hex codes? If it helps you, it will probably help others.
  • Consider including checklists. It’s probably not realistic for every single piece of creative content to be approved by an Art Director, but it’s important to give content a final edit/once-over to ensure on-brand design. A printed checklist can help catch any of those little errors like incorrect logo placement or font style.
Branding 101: do you need a brand bible study

Remember: Even your brand guidelines are a piece of branded content. Inject brand personality wherever you can.

Branding 101: do you need a brand bible concordance

Example: We made sure to write C5’s brand guidelines in a way that reflects our culture and sense of humor, as demonstrated in our brand voice directions.

Step 4: Make Your Brand Guidelines Easy to Access

One of the most common reasons people ignore brand guidelines is simply because they don’t know where to find them. If your guidelines aren’t easily available and regularly referenced, you might end up with 1,000 brochures printed with your old logo. Make sure your guidelines are in an easy-to-find place (e.g., company server or company Wiki) and shared with everyone, especially new employees or creative partners. Even if you have a hard copy, create a digital copy to share, too.

Always Keep Your Brand Guidelines Updated

Branding 101: Do You Need A Brand Bible Commentaries

Your brand is always growing and changing; your brand guidelines should reflect that. Work with your brand team to schedule regular content reviews to make sure the guidelines are being appropriately applied. Brand stakeholders should also identify what needs to be updated, expanded, clarified, removed, or edited.

Branding 101: Do You Need A Brand Bible Gateway

Most importantly, have regular conversations about what is or isn’t working, and ask your team for any ideas that will make using brand guidelines easier.

Branding 101: Do You Need A Brand Bible Verse

And, of course, if you don’t have the bandwidth to create your guidelines, holler at us. We’d be happy to take it off your plate.