Creating a branding guide for your business is an essential part of the website design process. It’s arguably the first thing you should do before any other element is finalized. Cohesiveness in design is an important way to solidify the impression it will make on people, and a branding guide will help provide the roadmap for that effect.
Remember: If there's any major lesson to learn in branding, it's that consistency is #1.
Branding guides get referenced by your web designer, developers, and marketing team so they have a better idea of what to create for you. However, a branding guide is also useful in general for your business as an available template of details that make your company unique.
Particularly when you want to make slight changes to your brand, your guide is there as a checklist to make sure it's done right. You and your team will need this if you have to make a change down the road due to rebranding or other circumstances.
In the concept of branding, you'll have numerous details to think about that combine into something meaningful. It encompasses everything from logos to subtler elements like color tones and types of typography you'll use on your site.
When you design your style guide, it's best to start with what people see at the top of the site and work down as a perfect web design reference tool.
Branding Your Logo
When you think of branding, you probably think of creating a logo before doing anything else. It is one of the first things you should place in your branding guide, since it usually encompasses everything about your business in a small space. This obviously isn't easy to do, though you have to consider more than just what you place in your logo.
No matter what graphics or text you use, you have to look at your logo from the perspective of how it looks in different sizes and configurations. If you plan to use it around your site, it needs a design that's easily malleable to different situations.
On your guide, indicate the dimensions that are workable and whether the logo's overall design still looks good if reduced or overly enlarged.
In other cases, your logo might blend in well with other designs. This works well as a future template if you ever want to redesign your logo when rebranding your website.
The Importance of Color
What colors you use on your site needs special focus on your branding guide since it's basically the backbone that makes people feel emotion. Study the psychology behind colors and what kind of moods they create. Then experiment with some blends to come up with a color palette that best represents your company.
Take your time choosing your color scheme for your branding guide, because color is easily assimilated on websites for branding familiarity.
Choosing a Style of Typography
It seems that online font options keep growing exponentially, which is all for the better when you want to create standalone typography for your site. Fonts represent certain personalities as much as color, and you may want to list various font types on your branding guide to use for specific pages.
Even if your overall brand represents one type of personality, you may want to create different personalities for each site section. Serif fonts, for instance, usually get cited as being overly professional. Conversely, a handwriting font may make your site look too casual or childish when used for large swathes of text on a page.
We’ve done enough branding here at NPG to understand the level of detail that goes into a successful, truly useful branding guide. When you’re working with a third-party agency or even onboarding new employees, you’ll be glad you have a branding guide handy to make sure that everything on which your company name appears looks nice and cohesive.