I am a big fan of systems. BIG fan. Because over the past year, with the chaos of Covid, I finally realized that systems help me stay on course, stay organized and stay focused.
As a business owner and graphic designer, I can tell you that having a system to manage your brand image is a must. And it’s nothing fancy or mysterious.
All it is is your brand image guidelines.
If you’ve had your brand image professionally designed, there’s a big chance that your designer created some kind of branding guidelines for you. Depending on the size of your business, those guidelines can range from a single page, to a whole booklet of instructions.
In my case, the kind of clients I work with don’t need the in-depth guidelines that a huge national company like Tim Horton’s provides for every franchise.
Keep in mind that every branding/design professional will have a slightly different take on what “guidelines” mean. Personally, I provide a PDF with 5 items for my clients:
- “rules” around logo use
- company colours
- company fonts
- style of images (photography, icons or illustrations) and their use
My message this month is pretty simple: take your branding guidelines to heart. Take them seriously, and use them. Because they’re meant to make your life easier.
How do they do that? Here’s some examples:
- when you need to provide your logo to any supplier, you will have exactly what they need. Your logo will be sitting in all its different formats safe and sound in your hard drive. Or storage device.
- when you need to know that specific shade of blue for your company colours, your branding guidelines will have it spelled out for you. No guessing required.
- when your new social media manager wonders what type of photographs should be used, you guessed it-your branding guidelines should specifically point out the type needed to use.
If a new employee feels like using a feminine, flowing script like Great Vibes in their Canva templates, all you do is check whether that font (or that style of font) is acceptable according to your guidelines.
If a salesperson isn’t sure what the “official” tagline is, all he has to do is look it up in the guidelines.
Having these “rules” helps my clients, and their marketing people, do the same tasks the same way. No one has to guess what the rules are for the company’s brand image-because they’re clearly defined and written. Again, using the colours as example: most designers take care to provide clients with colour swatches in RGB, CMYK, and HEX colour spaces. Depending on the project, even Pantone values are provided when needed.
And just like that, everybody in the company is using the same types of photos, the same tagline, and has no problem finding the logo in the format they need.
If all this “brand image guidelines” talk has you confused, get in touch with me. I’ll be happy to spend some time and explain what it means...Because every business owner should have this system to help them promote their business easily and efficiently.