A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Online Brand Guidelines

There’s a lot of work that goes into creating online content, and it’s important to have clear brand guidelines to ensure that all the content on your website, social media accounts, and other channels reflects the same style. A strong and recognizable brand identity can help you stand out from the crowd, build trust with your audience, and create a lasting impression.

Creating a brand guide is often daunting, as there are lots of details to consider. But when done right, it can be an incredibly powerful tool to help you communicate and manage your brand consistently. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of creating your own online brand guidelines step by step. You’ll learn how to define your branding elements—including color palette, typography and logo design—and arrange them into an organized visual story that visitors will remember.

What are brand identity guidelines?

The key to helping everyone understand and articulate your brand is to establish a set of brand identity guidelines. These are the rules that define how you want your company’s visual identity expressed and communicated.

Brand identity guidelines give you the ability to not only create consistency in how your company is presented, but also tell your story in a compelling way. Your branding should include elements like:

  • Logo usage
  • Color palette
  • Typography
  • Imagery or illustration styles
  • Tone of voice or copywriting style
  • Engagement and communication guidelines
  • Branding do’s and don’ts

Creating brand identity guidelines helps ensure that everyone—from internal employees, to external contractors, to customers—has the same understanding of who your organization is and what sets it apart from the competition. Think of all those times you had someone take a stab at representing your company—now they’ve got one unified place to go before they do so!

Why are brand guidelines important?

Having brand guidelines is essential for any business, no matter what size or industry you operate in. With a clear set of rules and regulations, you can ensure a consistent look-and-feel for all of your company’s communications. Not only does this build trust with customers by giving them an understanding of who you are and what you stand for, but it also allows your team to create quickly and easily without reinventing the wheel each time.

Your brand guidelines should cover every detail of how your brand appears visually, from font choices to colors. Setting up boundaries and structure will give everyone within the organization boundaries to work within and minimize creative bottlenecks. Plus, the document helps ensure that everyone’s on the same page when it comes to visual assets—so there’s no confusion about how things should look when they are presented across multiple channels.

The difference between brand guidelines, brand positioning, and brand personality

No two companies are the same, so it’s important to understand the differences between brand guidelines, brand positioning, and brand personality.

Brand guidelines

Your brand guidelines are the rules you expect everyone to adhere to when producing a visual representation of your company. They include things like colors, fonts, logos, taglines and imagery. All of which can be used as a benchmark when creating design work or communicating company values.

Brand positioning

Brand positioning is an essential element of your company’s identity — it’s how customers view or think of your business relative to competitors. It incorporates your mission statement and core messaging — who you are as a company, what you do and why people should care. When these messages are expressed clearly and consistently, they help build trust with customers.

Brand personality

Brand personality is the last piece of the puzzle; it defines your company’s unique tone of voice that differentiates you from competitors in an otherwise crowded market. It can be expressed in anything from how you speak on social media to the visual elements used in corporate material, such as website design esthetics or photography styles.

How to develop brand identity elements for marketing

By now, you should have an idea of what your brand’s values and purpose are, so it’s time to develop the elements that will bring your brand to life. Everything in your style guide should be easy to understand with a few words –– like a visual dictionary. The key is to create something that can easily be replicated.

Here are some elements you can consider adding:

  • Logo: The logo is the most recognizable part of your brand, so it’s important to make sure it reflects what your company stands for and how you want to be perceived.
  • Brand colors: Colors are powerful tools for conveying emotion and setting the tone for how people perceive your company. When deciding on a color palette, consider which colors accurately represent your company’s values and goals.
  • Imagery: Imagery plays an important role in creating a strong impression on potential customers and keeping existing customers engaged with the brand. Choose photos that evoke the feeling you want people to experience when they think of your brand.
  • Voice & Tone: Writing style guidelines will help ensure consistency across all forms of communications (from emails to website copy). Establishing company jargon, catchphrases or other signature words also works great here!

A visual style guide elevates your brand identity, and anyone can create one

Creating a visual style guide is one of the best ways to make sure your brand identity is consistent across every touchpoint. It provides a roadmap for everyone at your company, makes it easier to hire contractors or freelancers, and makes sure that you have a single source of truth when it comes to visuals.

The great thing about creating a visual style guide? Anybody can do it. All you need is the purpose and core values that define your company, plus some creative ideas for how to use those values in your visuals.

How To Create Your Own Guide

Your visual style guide should define the look and feel of all elements related to your brand, from images and logos, to fonts and colors. Here’s how you can get started creating yours:

  1. Describe and document your brand values as succinctly as possible
  2. Choose a color palette that matches your brand personality
  3. Select fonts that complement each other
  4. Outline logo guidelines including size and usage restrictions
  5. Establish image guidelines such as acceptable proportions when used on different platforms or sizes
  6. Finalize all specifications into one comprehensive document that’s easy to find

Creating a comprehensive visual style guide ensures consistency while also making it easier for anyone in the company to know exactly what type of visuals meet the standards of your brand identity—so no scrambling when something changes!

A strong brand identity doesn’t mean that you’re stuck in one place, either. A great brand style guide allows you to experiment with different visuals and try out new ideas while still having a unifying thread that ties everything together. It’s a great tool to help you refine your brand and make it stand out.

Creating a brand style guide doesn’t have to be intimidating. As long as you follow the steps laid out here, you’ll have a comprehensive guide that will help your team stay on brand for years to come. Start by defining your brand positioning and creating a visual representation of it. Host your style guide online so any updates are automatically reflected across your organizations. Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment and refine your brand identity. Investing time and effort into creating a brand style guide will save you time in the long run and help your business stand out from the crowd.