How to make a Branding Guide that makes people happy (and saves you time)

“Hey, you got a copy of that logo?”

“What about the logo that we use on white backgrounds?”

“What color and font should I make this button?”

Branding Guides are a simple way to eliminate a lot of questions about colors, fonts, etc… and to provide quick access to useful artwork files.

Yesterday, I was creating some artwork for Web Designer’s Academy in Photoshop and I needed to know the hex code of the green color from the logo… so I used my browser eye-dropper and saw that it was #6baa4f.

Awesome, let’s continue.

But then I stopped.

I stopped and realized that what I just did… I had done HUNDREDS of time for different WDA elements.

HUNDREDS of times.

There was to be a better way.

A single place that has all that information to save me time.

I know… a Branding Guide.

Not a crappy, boring one. A useful one.

I also realized that a simple Branding Guide could of saved my clients a bunch of time too.  I’ve been asked tons of times for things like fonts, large logos, colors… because the business owner wants to print their own business cards or t-shirts.

And while time is our most valuable asset, there is also that mental interruption that you have to take when you are in the zone creating something and you have to find out a piece of information.

That mental interruption in creativity can sometimes throw you off course and your work goes downhill.

But if I had one single place to go for these branding elements, I could work quicker.

I went and made this:

And while it’s main use is to save ME time, other outlets (like newspapers, other bloggers, affiliates, etc…) can use that information as well.

10 Helpful tips when creating a Branding Guide

Here are some thing to keep in mind when creating a helpful (non-boring) Branding Guide:

  1. Include a “Last Updated” date, so other people will know when it’s been changed.
  2. Organize content into logical, simple to follow along sections with clear headings.
  3. Don’t turn into dozens of pages of legal talk (if you need to add the lawyer babble, make it a link to a PDF to keep the page looking simple).
  4. Be human, be yourself.
  5. Include large artwork files that can be used in print.
  6. Include alternate artwork files to be used on dark / light background… you never know where the artwork is going to be used
  7. Be specific. Instead of just stating “Use a dark blue color” say “For the Dark Blue color, use #343a45”.
  8. When talking about specific hex colors, put a little sample of the actual color next to the information.
  9. Offer to add to it if you forgot something (getting feedback will help you make it better).
  10. Make it easily available so people don’t have to ask you for it (I added the link in the footer, scroll down… see it?).

So make your own Branding Guide (whether for you OR your client) and post a link to your Branding Guide below.  Show me what you got!

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