A brand style blueprint (otherwise known as brand guidelines, brand standards, style guide, or brand book) is a guide to serve as the visual foundation of your brand. It's a document, that can be physical or virtual, that should always be referred back to for tips + tricks to keeping your brand visuals on point.
With all of our branding projects, we always include a brand style blueprint when we send off the final logo package. This way our clients will always have an easy place to reference all the guidelines we worked so hard to create together.
Every brand needs a style blueprint to make sure that every visual element they produce is consistent. Consistency is one of the most important pieces of your brand. Consistency is what helps you manage what people think of your brand, shows your commitment, and eliminates confusion.
We know not everyone can work with a designer when they're starting out, but we strongly believe every brand needs to set out a style blueprint. So if you're working through this on your own, we wanted to share a bit about how you can build the basics of a style blueprint for yourself.
What's included in the brand blueprint?
Below we're detailing what goes into every brand style blueprint that we create. We've included the details of what goes on each page and included a peek inside our document as an example.
01 - The Brand Background
Before we design any brand visuals for our clients, we work through the strategy behind their brand with them. The first thing the style blueprint covers is a summary of this strategy document. If you're creating your own style blueprint, you should start by including a short summary of who you are, what you do, and why you do it so to set the foundation.
02 - Logo Usage Guidelines
This section of the blueprint should present all variations of the brand identity. This includes the primary logo, a brand mark, and/or any other variations of the logo. It should also include the guidelines on how the logo can be used in all applications.
03 - Examples of the Brand in Use
We always like to include a look at the brand in use. This gives someone who is learning about your brand for the first time a little peek into the overall vision. It is a quick and succinct way for them to see the brand in action.
04 - Brand Style
The brand style section is typically a simple mood board that sets the tone for the feel of the brand. We include examples of photography, iconography, and colors that communicate the overall style and tone for the brand.
05 - Brand Colors
A brand style blueprint should ALWAYS include all of the details for the brand color palette. This means including the hex codes for web, CMYK values for print, and the Pantone color to make sure your colors will be the same every time they are used. Not every color can be perfectly transferred between web and print usage, so having the values set out specifically from the start is key.
06 - Brand Typography
Set out what font families are acceptable for brand use. Include the guidelines for how to use typography - how each should be used and any guidelines for additional styling, size or use of color. As a best practive, your brand should have at least one and at the most three typefaces.
07 - A Guide to Navigating Files
.JPG’s, .PNG’s, .EPS’s, oh my! When we send logo packages to our clients, we’re sending nearly 100 files. We know that’s crazy overwhelming, but we want to make sure they have every file they could possibly need. That’s why we started including a guide on how each file type should be used. This is a little something extra that is great for anyone working closely with your branding elements that might not have a design background.
Keep these tips in mind when you're creating your brand blueprint.
Keep it simple.
Don't add too much to any one page. Keep text short, simple, and easy to digest.
Keep it flexible. (But not TOO flexible!)
Your guidelines should be flexible enough for designers to be creative, but rigid enough to keep your brand easily recognizable. Consistency is key, especially if you need the brand to extend across multiple media platforms.
Keep in mind what we have provided is a general template.
Every brand is unique and there may be something that needs to be included in your blueprint that we haven't listed here. Some examples include copywriting guidelines, social media guidelines, brand iconography, etc.
Keep the future in mind.
Your brand will always be evolving. And that's okay! Just remember to take a look back at the blueprint every six months to a year to tweak where it's needed.