Brand Guideline Examples

07 April 2022

Designing a consistent brand takes a lot of work. Brand guidelines are rules of the road for all graphic designers, web developers, and marketing agencies that have a stake in making products and services look like they come from the same company. Brand style guides are sets of standards that address everything from logos, to color palettes, to website structure and copy. Despite their importance to ensuring your identity is accurately represented everywhere it’s shown off to the public, most businesses don’t design them on purpose, or even consider that it might be a useful idea until it’s far too late.

In this article, we’ll go over what brand guidelines are, elements of a style guide, and some amazing examples of them in action to use as inspiration for your next branding project or website redesign.

What are brand guidelines?


Brand guidelines, also known as a brand style guide, govern the composition, design, and general look-and-feel of a company’s branding. Brand guidelines can dictate the content of a logo, blog, website, advertisement, and similar marketing collateral.

Picture the most recognizable brands you can think of. Chances are, you’ve learned to recognize them because of the consistency across the messaging — written or visual — these brands broadcast. The same brand colors are reflected across them. The language sounds familiar. It’s all very organized and, while not rigid, it’s cohesive.

Companies like Apple and Coca-Cola have built massive empires by carefully defining their brand identities and maintaining them through precise brand guidelines. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review:

“Brands that focus on being distinct from competitors outperform those that strive to be better.”

The Elements of a Brand Style Guide


A well-designed logo is a critical component of any business’ identity, but it’s also just one piece of the branding puzzle.

A brand style guide encompasses much more than just a logo. It visually encompasses everything your brand is about — down to your business’ purpose.

Here are some key elements that make or break a brand style guide:

1. The Logo:

Your logo is the face of your business. It should be original and unique to you, yet flexible enough to be displayed in various ways so that it always appears professional and appealing.

2. Color Palette:

Color psychology plays a vital role in marketing and branding, which is why you need to choose your brand colors wisely. Limit your color palette to 2–3 main colors and 1–2 accent colors that complement each other well.

3. Typography:

In addition to company logos, most brands use a specific typeface or font family in their marketing materials and communications — such as sans serif or script fonts — which helps keep all their branded materials consistent and recognizable.

4. Imagery:

Your brand style guide should outline what kinds of images you use in your marketing materials — such as product shots, customer photos, and stock images for social media content.

5. Brand Voice:

This is the persona that your brand represents. It includes how your brand speaks and what kind of vocabulary it uses.

A brand guideline is a document that outlines the “rules” of using a company’s logo, fonts, colors and other visual assets. When companies take the time to create brand guidelines, it helps to ensure that their brand image stays consistent no matter where it shows up.

This will pay off big time in the long run, as your company will generate the familiarity and reliability that open the doors to brand loyalty.

Next up, let’s explore 12 awesome brand guidelines examples that you can use as inspiration.

10 Brand Guidelines Examples

1. Starbucks


Starbuck Brand Guidelines

The Starbuck’s guide is a very solid example of what to include in your guidelines. The entire book is beautifully designed and laid out. It uses simple layouts, not overly busy or complicated, so the reader can focus on the content. Also, the images used are high resolution and printed on nice paper, which adds to the printed version’s quality and value.

This guide uses a lot of white space to keep things clean and easy to read. The sections are clearly laid out and easy to understand. There’s also plenty of color throughout the whole book, making it a very pleasant experience for readers.

The guide starts off with an overview of the Starbucks brand, its values, mission, vision and personality. It then goes into detail about all the visual elements: typography, color palette, logo variations and usage examples, photography guidelines, iconography, packaging design and everything else you can imagine when designing elements for a Starbucks brand expression.

Uber


User Brand Guidelines

The company behind the popular ridesharing app, Uber, has prepared a comprehensive set of brand guidelines to help their marketing and product teams communicate with their audience consistently.

The system of uber is very comprehensive and covers everything from the brand story, to how to use the logo, typography and colors to create new graphics.

The Uber brand system is composed of 9 core elements:

  1. Logo
  2. Color
  3. Composition
  4. Iconography
  5. Illustration
  6. Motion
  7. Photography
  8. Tone of voice
  9. Typography

Youtube


Youtube Brand Guidelines

Youtube calls its guideline “Brand Resources”.

The Youtube brand resources page contains of 4 brand elements.

1. Logo and icon

2. Colors

3. Typography

4. Imagery

3. Audi


Audi Brand Guideline

The online version of the Audi corporate identity manual is a must-see. It’s one of the most detailed and well-structured brand guidelines examples we’ve come across.

The front cover features the Audi logo, which sits in the middle of a white page. The following pages describe the new logo in detail: its shape, proportions, colors, spacing and typography.

The manual also goes into great detail about the various uses of their visual identity and shows how Audi applies it to different media. The brand guidelines include many examples of advertising and marketing campaigns that use their signature look. Some of them are just simple images or ads while others show how Audi uses its visual identity in a broader context.

This corporate identity guide also explains how to apply color to different areas and how to use it in motion graphics. Moreover, it contains detailed information on the typeface and explains how to use it in web design and other applications.

4. Instagram


Instagram Brand Guideline

Instagram is the most famous example of a visual brand, so we couldn’t leave it out of this article.

The Instagram brand guidelines consist of two extra sections: one with screenshot template and the other with broadcast template.

The Instagram style guide is also specific (just like Spotify) but much simpler—it only describes the basics.

Mainly you will find how to use the Instagram logo, the glyph (black/white version), and the above mentioned two templates.

You’ll also find links to download the logo and templates.

5. Spotify


The Spotify Design Guideline

Spotify’s brand guide is one of the most extensive ones. It doesn’t only talk about logo, colors and typefaces but also describes how to use Spotify app.

The Spotify design guidelines have been created to ensure that all Spotify users receive the same delightful user experience.

For the most part, the Spotify style guide talks about how to present content on the app: album artworks and metadata.

The guide also describes browsing and linking to Spotify, how to design playing views and other specific elements to Spotify app.

6. Cisco


Cisco Brand Guideline

Cisco’s style guide isn’t just a guide — it’s an interactive brand book. The company takes website visitors page by page through its brand’s vision, mission, strategy, and even its promise before showing users their logo and allowing them to actually type using their proprietary typeface, “CiscoSans.” Where’s Cisco’s color palette, you ask? The business has a separate webpage for just that.

The best part of Cisco’s brand guidelines is that the company uses an easy-to-follow tone. It might be one of the largest companies in the world, but Cisco doesn’t show off on its site. Instead, it shows users how they should expect to interact with the brand when they visit Cisco’s social media channels or see advertisements.

The guidelines also provide a detailed overview of the company’s color palette, typography, and other design elements.

7. Slack


Slack Brand Guideline

Slack’s brand guidelines are well organised and easy to navigate.

In the first section you’ll find elements the intangible elements that define the brand like: core values, personality and tone fo voice.

The Slack guidelines cover 7 elements:

  1. Logo
  2. Colors
  3. Typography
  4. Brand Architecture
  5. Illustrations
  6. Icons
  7. Photography

8. Netflix

Netflix’s guidelines are nicely organized and visually appealing, which makes them more enjoyable to read. The logo section shows how the logo should be used and not used.

The symbol section mostly focuses on the “N” symbol and its various uses.

The color section is well structured and easy to understand with a lot of examples.

This style guide contains absolute minimum elements of the brand’s visual identity like logo versions, colors and how to use it on media. You’ll also find what to avoid, plus other considerations and rules to ensure proper use of the brand assets. The Netflix guidelines cover 3 essential elements:

Logo

Symbol

Colors

9. Dropbox


Dropbox Brand Guideline

Dropbox is a file hosting service that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software.

The Dropbox style guide is a simple page but it guides you clearly on how to use the logotype, brandmark and other brand assets.

It also contains other product logos, do’s and don’ts, application icons and product screenshots.

The Dropbox brand guidelines cover 7 elements:

  1. Logo
  2. Color
  3. Typography
  4. Writing
  5. Visuals
  6. UI
  7. Motion
  8. 10. Zendesk


    Zendesk Brand Guideline

    Zendesk is a company that makes customer service software. They have a great brand guideline that demonstrates how to use their logo, typography, color and other elements of the brand.

    Zendesk Brand Guidelines

    The Zendesk brand guidelines has been developed to ensure that writing, visual style, design, videos—essentially everything we make works together to deliver a consistent message.

    The opening pages talk a bit about the brand attributes and messaging.

    In the design part of the guide you will find standard things like:

    1. Brand identity
    2. Typography
    3. Color
    4. Layout

    Conclusion

    Style guides are useful in many ways, including keeping all team members on the same page. A style guide can allow anyone in and out of the company to contribute and keep one from making a mistake. It’s important when developing an effective brand is to stick with your vision, so that your communication materials and your product work together to reinforce your brand.

    Style guides are useful in many ways, including keeping all team members on the same page. A style guide can allow anyone in and out of the company to contribute and keep one from making a mistake. It’s important when developing an effective brand is to stick with your vision, so that your communication materials and your product work together to reinforce your brand.

    When you’re looking for content for your website, social media, or email marketing, it’s important to keep in mind that not just any old copy will do. The copy should reflect the tone of your brand and help you reach your goals. A style guide can be a huge help in this process because it will give your writers the information they need to write content that is both consistent with your brand and in line with what you’re trying to accomplish.

    If you’re looking to hire an Agency who can help you build a style guide, Neu Entity here to help. Just schedule a consultation with us and we’ll get started on building a style guide that will make your content stronger and more effective than ever!

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If what you see here is relevant for you and can help you grow your business or organisation, we’d love to discuss further with you. Drop us a message or schedule an appointment with us.

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