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KIJO’S Brand Guide 101 – What To Include in Your Brand Guidelines in 2024

  • 9 min read
  • February 21, 2024
Brand Guidelines 101 by KIJO featured image

Brand guidelines are an essential part of the process of making and developing a brand. They contribute to making sure your business’s brand is consistently communicated across departments both externally and internally. 

It’s easy to put a list of rules regarding a brand together, right? Wrong. You want your brand guidelines to be compelling; to tell a story that captures the true essence of the company. They need to connect to a brand’s employees and feel purposeful, otherwise brand consistency can be at risk. 

But, fret not. The KIJO team has got you covered with our ultimate KIJO Brand Guideline Guide for 2024.

What are Brand Guidelines?

KIJO Brand Guidelines

Brand guidelines are also known as style guides or identity guides. They exist to provide a set of instructions for every member of a company’s team. They are rules to adhere to when referring to and representing the brand. Branding guidelines will include: 

  • Descriptions regarding the brand’s look and feel
  • Detail elements like the brand’s colour palette,
  • Its typography,
  • Its overall aesthetic,
  • Its mission statement,
  • Its core values,
  • And, the tone of voice all of its copy is trying to encompass

It will also guide the design for all of your content, including blog posts, business cards and even office space. 

A good set of brand guidelines won’t just be a list of all the rules and instructions though. As mentioned above, it will be put together a bit like a story to create that connection between the brand’s purpose and its communicators; the company’s employees. The stronger this is, the greater chance of the brand being communicated consistently, clearly and purposefully.

How Important Are Brand Guidelines?

Vitally! A good set of brand guidelines are evidently pivotal to developing a strong brand understanding and value. They will help ensure:

Brand Trust: According to Lucidpress, every time a customer interacts with your brand they take away a feeling of what it stands for and what its mission is, they’re more likely to trust and return to it. 

Brand Confidence: Not only will this sort of consistency instil confidence in your brand for your customers, but your staff too. A good set of brand guidelines will help streamline decision making. This is because everyone will know what choices to lean into and explore further based on the robust brand guidelines and the shared, clear mission. 

Brand Growth: According to Lucidpress, if branding is consistent, it can increase revenue by 10-20%. And according to Adience, 77% of marketing leaders claim that branding is critical to growth. So, consistent, strong brand guidelines can directly contribute to your security as a successful company! Getting them right is a no brainer!

What Should Be Included in Brand Guidelines?

What Should Be Included in Brand Guidelines?

Brand Story, Principles + Mission

The key thing to include in your brand guidelines is your brand’s story. But, what is a brand story?

The KIJO brand mission

 A brand story is a compelling piece of writing that defines what the company cares about most. It combines three things: its values, its principles, and its mission. This is used to communicate your purpose and stances to the public, what sort of personality you want to display as a company, and also to inform internal decision making. 

Brand stories can look very different depending on which company is writing it. You’ll find some examples later on in this article.

Logo Look, Usage Guide + Placement

KIJO's logo rules

Anyone with any business sense knows that an identifiable logo is the most critical brand element there is. When you think of popular brands, you immediately think of their logo. Nike? Big tick. Netflix? Large red ‘N’. Snapchat? Ghost-shaped emoji on yellow square. 

One thing we absolutely know is that all of these successful brands have gone into the utmost detail of defining and refining their logo. They’ve established exactly how it can be used, where it can be put, every angle it’s permitted to be placed at, its pixel count and exact colour. Some brands even include examples of how not to use the logo in their branding guidelines, so there can be no room for error!

Remember, your logo should only be equatable to your brand and company. There can be no mistaking it for another. Then, using the logo consistently within its specified, concrete parameters that have been set out in your brand guidelines, helps it become identifiable and remembered. 

Colour Palette + How It’s Used

KIJO's colour palette

Did you know that colour increases brand recognition by 80%, according to the University of Loyola? Therefore, a brand’s colour palette is an essential inclusion in any company’s branding guidelines. This isn’t just the colours of your logo and website though. This is a proper scheme of colours that will be used to promote and identifiably spruce up all of your communications. They should be used consistently, so brand recognition is bolstered and well known. 

You’ll want to include your core colour and then the secondary shades that complement it. For example, Starbucks’s core shade is a darkish-green, and its palette is three shades of different greens that work in tandem with the core.

Make sure to include the exact shade’s hex codes, RGB values and CMYK colour codes alongside an example of the shade. This way everyone who’s using them knows how to find them exactly.

Typography + How It’s Used

KIJO typography in its brand guidelines

Truly, font choice can make or break the perception of a brand. Oddly, you want it to be sort of unnoticeable. If the typeface is drawing away from the actual words used, it’s probably the wrong choice. Make sure you’re identifying your typography in your brand guidelines so everyone’s on the same page about which typeface to use in all communications. This means the exact fonts used in each different circumstance. 

For example, CRM platform Hubspot uses a primary font of Lexend – Deca (sans serif) which is used in the body of all its copy on their website. It uses a secondary font of Queens (serif) which is primarily used in its site’s titles. You can see this in action on the Hubspot homepage here

Looking for some typography inspiration? Check out KIJO’s 7 Typography Trends for 2024 here.

Tone of Voice Guide

KIJO's TOV document

Do you want your company to come across as witty, empathetic and playful (like smoothie brand Innocent’s)? Or, perhaps it needs to be motivational and confident (like Nike’s)? A tone of voice (TOV) guide within your brand guidelines ensures that everyone on your team knows exactly how to represent your brand in all of their messaging.

To get your TOV guide going this year, try and identify 3 to 5 voice characteristics you think your brand should be aiming for, and make sure they align with your brand’s story and principles. A good idea is to also list what voice your brand isn’t trying to achieve and should avoid. For example, you might write something like:

“We are conversational. We talk to our clients like we know them personally. We’re warm, approachable and friendly. We are not condescending. We are not teaching our knowledge to our clients, we’re excited to share it.”

Imagery + Photography Guidelines

KIJO's imagery guidelines

Do you use imagery and photography on your website or in your communications? Then it’s worth putting together the rules on approved imagery, or even pre-designed symbols and icons as part of your branding guidelines. If you pull images from stock photo sites, recommended photography styles should be included in your brand guidelines as well as your preferred sites of use.

Check out KIJO’s 6 Recommended Stock Photo Sites here.

Communication Guidelines

KIJO's communication guidelines

Did you know that 52% of consumers expect brands to know when the right moments are to communicate (Cube)? If your brand frequently communicates with clients directly on social media or via email, it might be worth considering how and when this should be conducted, particularly for small businesses who may not have a dedicated customer team!

Brand Guideline Examples

A selection of brilliant brand guidelines can be found online. KIJO’s Co-Founder Jordan Thompson shares three that he thinks are worth drawing inspiration from.

Hulu

KIJO Brand Guidelines 101: Hulu's brand guidelines

American subscription streaming service Hulu has extensive and comprehensive brand guidelines. These can be found here. These guidelines are thorough, confident and clear; this brand obviously knows and understands itself. This is definitely a guide to be inspired by!

Asana

KIJO Brand Guidelines 101: Asana's brand guidelines

Work management platform Asana has strong, indicative brand guidelines. These can be perused here. These present a clear journey, from old branding to new, and are crystal clear in what the brand is trying to achieve, communicate, and feel like. Micah Daigle, Product Designer at Asana, even went on to document the Asana rebranding process extensively here too. This is a brand who knows who they are and understands the power of communicating it.

Shazam

KIJO Brand Guidelines 101: Shazam's brand guidelines

Shazam is an application that can identify music based on a short sample played using the microphone on your device. Its brand guidelines – which are viewable here – are sharp, direct and transparent. These have a great example of logo do’s and don’ts, what the tone of voice is and isn’t, and a simple, accessible colour guide. Jordan highly recommends checking Shazam’s branding guidelines out.

Branding Guidelines, When Delivered Consistently, Deliver Results

Make sure that when your brand guidelines are complete, you deliver a masterclass to your staff. Communicating them passionately and clearly will help them be delivered consistently. 

According to Lucidpress,  brands that are consistently presented are 3 to 4 times more likely to experience brand visibility. So, being sure that everyone within the company is on board with your brand guidelines is key to ensuring this. 

If you think you could use some further support in developing your brand, don’t hesitate in reaching out to the expert KIJO team today.

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