branding checklist

8 Items to Include in Your Brand Standards

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Once you have an established visual brand identity created, whether you DIY-ed it or worked with a professional designer, it’s important to organize and put together some brand guidelines. Sometimes these are also referred to as a “brand guide” or “style guide.” It’s crucial to have established standards, so that your visual branding is always carried out consistently, cohesively and therefore, professionally. Whether someone experiences it online or offline, your identity should be familiar, recognizable, attractive and trustworthy to your audience.

Aspects of your brand standards can also be included “at a quick glance” via your brand board, which is more of a singular piece that ties together your logo, color and font palettes, any sub-logos and/or other graphic assets that can be applied throughout your print and digital materials — arranged in a simple format, from top to bottom, as something that encompasses and expresses the overall look, feel and vibes of your brand. It’s important to have this document handy as well, but a more developed “brand guide” will really expand on the special aspects and standards of your brand identity (that makes it unique) — just a bit more.

The final brand guide can be saved as a PDF, so that you can easily print it off or digitally send it to a printer, vendor, etc. who may be designing or producing something for you and will need to keep the visual aspects of your branding intact. Here are a few tips for including the right mix of tangibles in your guidelines…

  1. Mission — state your mission or at least provide a quick paragraph/basic background about your business and what it does (remember the 5 “W’s’ — what, where, when, why and for whom!)

  2. Values — to complement your brand’s mission, list a few of the values that it stands for (think: communication, trust, approachability, customer service, etc.) and/or use some keywords to describe it (what makes it special or different from other similar businesses or platforms.)

  3. Logo — display the main/primary logo and any secondary logos that you might alternatively use for your brand. Explain what it represents/stands for, how it should be displayed/appear in color, black/white or in reverse white against a color background. Be sure to list any restrictions around how you want it to be used AND not used (such as: switching out colors, formatting it smaller than a certain size, leaving a certain amount of “dead space” around it, etc.)

  4. Color Palette — display a block of each color of your palette and list out the codes for each (CMYK for printing, RGB for digital, Pantone and/or at least a Hex code, such as: #xxxxxx also for digital/website/social media purposes.) This way, the correct swatches are always used for brand consistency.

  5. Typography — the same goes for fonts. Display at least (1) option for each of these styles: a serif, sans serif and possibly script/decorative. Again, this way, the correct fonts are always used and not a mix of different ones for different mediums and platforms. If you’re not quite sure about the differences between types of fonts, checkout this post.  

  6. Brand Assets + Graphic Treatments — take a couple of pages here to show the build-out of the rest of your brand assets, beyond just your logo and a sub-logo. Show the design of any icons, photo filters, patterns, lines, splashes, textures, gradients, etc. that you might graphically use throughout any branded materials. Also explain when/where/how to use each one, so that they are illustrated correctly and never distorted.

  7. Photography — take some space to show the types of brand/personal and stock imagery that should be integrated within your branding and perhaps where/how to download the photos, if necessary. Photos also express your brand visually, just as a logo or any other brand asset does, so it’s important to provide some examples of what should be used.

  8. Applications (for templates, website, social media + more) — now that you have your brand identity designed and you’ve displayed the logo, graphic assets, fonts, colors and photos, it’s important to explain and show how these visuals should be applied in real life, for printed and digital platforms. Give examples of how your identity should be translated to your website, social media, business cards, etc. Also provide some quick examples/screenshots of how your various templates and docs should look, so that again, your branding is always carried out consistently. 

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Download Your Brand Launch Checklist today!

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Whether you are getting ready to launch your new business or you’ve rebranded an existing one, it’s crucial to have at least a few, specific bases covered — before you put it all out into the wild! Download this Brand Launch Checklist, review the items — and make sure that you can answer each one simply + quickly.

Overall, think about who you are, what you do, who you want to serve, what you want to be known for, the value that you offer and how you want your clients to feel when they experience you.

Print off the checklist, answer each question and then either hang it by your workspace or keep it close by so that you can use it as a handy resource — whenever you are needing some brand clarity. 

Here are a few thoughts to consider when answering each question: 

• Think about your mission statement and the values that are important to you — personally and professionally. 

• How do you want to "sound" when you're communicating? What are the words that you will use either via video, website copy or when you write emails, etc.?  

• What keywords come to mind when you think of the look and feel of your brand? And how you want others to perceive it? 

• Do you want to serve a specific niche? Who would you love to work with? 

• How often do you want to work and where? Where will you operate your business? 

• Do you want to sell services or products (or both?) How do you want to handle pricing? 

• Are you DIY-ing the visuals or hiring a professional designer? You will need a logo, font and color palettes, website domain + hosting + design, social media graphics, photography and other assets to use throughout your branding for consistency and cohesiveness. 

• What social media platforms will you be hanging out on? Where do your ideal clients hang out? 

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Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
It's 2018! How is your branding looking for the new year? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!