Today, a “brand” is much more than just a logo and a set of specific colors. Modern brands have stories, personalities, and a life that encourages deeper and more enriching relationships with the audience.
Everything, from your brand positioning to the tone of your voice, must seamlessly integrate into a range of media if you want to create a consistent experience for your target audience.
Defining your brand identity is key.
Your company’s brand should describe its graphic and verbal characteristics, its goals, manifesto, and positioning in the market. As the concept of a brand evolves, many companies find it necessary to have a more comprehensive set of branding tools summarized in a graphic charter.
With the right guidelines and a well-designed graphic charter, you can ensure that your brand is recognized not only by its logo but also by its approach, personality, and image.
A graphic charter is a document that contains all the rules for the graphic elements. If these rules are followed correctly, they guarantee the consistency of your brand’s image, regardless of the elements or people creating them. The graphic charter serves as a reference resource that answers the most common questions about colors, logos, fonts, etc.
It’s important to note that creating a graphic charter is not something that anyone can do in a few hours. It should be created by a professional who can detail and explain all the important elements and guidelines to follow. A graphic charter can, and should, be technical and elaborated with discernment, so make sure to involve your creative team in the process from the beginning.
So, what are the elements of a graphic charter?
Let’s discuss the 5 main steps in creating a complete brand graphic charter, from start to finish.
Defining Your Brand Ethics
It’s helpful to begin your brand guideline by summarizing your brand’s overall vision with a motto or brief indication. This is particularly useful for large public brands.
Your guideline can mention the guiding principles of your brand, your mission, and your vision so that everyone in the company knows what drives you and why you do what you do.
Creating Your Logo
A good logo is a visual mark that reflects both what you do and who you are. There’s no one way to design it, but research has shown that different shapes can influence how people perceive your brand. It’s important to take that into account depending on the message you’re trying to communicate.
This graphic creation is the centerpiece of your brand’s visual identity and is often the most recognizable and widely distributed element: communication media, social networks, business cards, etc. It’s therefore important to maintain its appearance and usability from one medium to another.
Your brand guideline should clearly define the rules for the size, positioning, and color of your logo.
Whatever your design, it should be clear and simple enough to be identified in low resolution or in even smaller dimensions, such as a favicon or a profile picture on social media.
Specifying Color Usage
It’s important to use a color palette to give life to your brand, however, you can have too many good surprises if the limits are not communicated effectively. The more information you provide about your brand’s colors and their correct usage, the more consistent your brand will appear.But attention must be paid to the rules of color usage. For example, red, known as a “warm color,” is synonymous with ambition, energy, and modernity. It is often used by the entertainment and retail sectors. In contrast, blue, a “cool color” that symbolizes trust, honesty, and seriousness, represents travel companies, banks, insurance companies, or even the high-tech industry.
Include the RGB, CMYK, and HEX codes for each color in your brand palette so that they can be properly used in web and print materials.
Specify font usage
It’s important to list the fonts and/or font families that represent the core of your brand, as well as a list of rules covering when and where to use them.
Describe how each font should be used in its context (heading, paragraph, use of capital letters, etc.).
Clarify the use of images, icons, and other illustrations
Depending on your needs, you may use images, icons, and other graphics. Make sure you have the rights to use the images and indicate their sources. If you are using an image bank, don’t forget to include its URL on your website. For icons, establish a list of required colors and types.
Think of your brand identity as the personality of your company. These are the guidelines for how the world recognizes you and determines whether or not to trust you. If one of your relationships constantly changed its appearance and behavior, you wouldn’t feel comfortable with that person, and you wouldn’t trust them. The same applies to brands and companies.
When creating your brand guide, keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way, nor is there a minimum or maximum length. Depending on the size and scope of your brand, you may need much more or much less information.
Start by deciding how much information your brand needs and structure your guide accordingly based on what matters most. Use the points covered in this article as a guide and determine the level of detail you need in each category.
Keep in mind that writing a brand guide is never really “finished”; it evolves and transforms, just like your brand. Remember to consult it frequently and update it as necessary.
Your guide should include as much detail as possible to help your content creators preserve your company’s graphic identity. This ensures that your company communicates consistently and coherently across all channels, following guidelines.