A consistent visual identity and appealing visual elements are a vital part of your digital marketing strategy and essential to conveying who you are as a business.
Visuals for companies like Nike, Tiffany, and Apple are excellent examples of how a defined look can impact the overall feel of a brand.
You can easily recognize a graphic element is theirs by their signature design style, layout, and color.
Aside from your brand voice, your graphics and marketing materials can speak volumes about your brand’s personality and identity.
And, keeping a visual brand guide will ensure that you never confuse your audience with your graphics.
So in this post, we’re going to guide you through the essential things your visual branding guide should have to optimize business graphics.
But before we start working on your visual style guide and go into the components of it, be sure to take a look at your competitor’s branding.
As well as businesses whose graphics you like and try to see what you can improve and what practices you don’t want to follow in your brand’s visuals.
Once you’ve done your research, you’re all set to start building your own brand identity guidelines!
Ultimate Guide Of The Essential Things Your Visual Branding Guide Needs
1. Brand Logo
Your brand logo will be present throughout your marketing visuals and marketing campaigns…
…and will be one of the key things, if not the first thing, that visually introduces your brand to your target audience.
So it’s important not just to have a good-looking logo, but for it to represent your business well through symbolism.
Make a mental note of what elements or symbols are most associated with your business, company name…
…and try adding those elements to your design.
Also, plan your chosen color logo variations for different logo usage.
We have a tutorial here on how to make your business logo with Canva, if you’re interested in learning how to create one for your business.
2. Brand Color Palette
Different colors evoke different emotions which makes it a very strong digital marketing tool.
Take color psychology into consideration when selecting the colors for your brand.
Have at least 2-3 main colors for bigger elements on your graphics, and 3-4 complementary colors to add as accents.
And to ensure consistency, don’t forget to include their HEX codes and RGB codes.
3. Brand Fonts
Select a maximum of 3 brand fonts that fit your brand well.
- One main font for headlines.
- One font for subheadlines or body copy (long paragraphs).
- One font that will be used as a special accent font for special events like holidays or announcements.
Be sure that these font styles will be used consistently across all your marketing materials.
Aside from picking out your brand fonts, you need to set up guidelines for how they’re going to be laid out through your graphics.
Which combinations are ok, and which should never be put together in one image.
As a content creator, be sure you avoid overcrowding your graphics with text…
…and set them up in a way your audience can clearly read any message placed in your image.
Speaking of graphics, check out this post next to learn how to create quality business graphics.
5. Use of Photos
Include examples of images that you can and cannot use for your brand. This will serve as your visual cues.
It’s important to have images of the products you sell or the services you offer, but you can also take advantage of royalty-free stock images.
Either way, you need to control the quality of any photos you do use for your business.
One pro tip is to avoid super stock photos like this.
A better idea would be to go for more natural-looking images that offer personal connection like this instead.
Also, be sure to add using higher resolution images in your image guidelines.
6. Accent Elements
These can be shapes, patterns, or textures.
To be sure you’re not introducing anything visually off-brand, decide on what complimenting elements you can use as accents for your graphics.
And then, try not to use ones that might dominate the image to a point where your intended message is no longer what’s catching the most attention.
Pick a style of illustration that will fit your brand best.
This will be useful for informative posts or infographics that have a lot of additional details in them and need figures to help present the information better.
Be sure to avoid using illustrations that differ in style for better visual harmony.
For example, you might prefer illustrations in basic colors and no shading and shadows like this.
Or, you want to go for isometric drawings like this.
8. Overall Style
And the last element your visual branding guide should have…
…you should have a section showing samples of how your graphic should be styled and laid out as a whole.
Whether it be for social media posts, ads, website banners, landing page headers, or any other type of graphic.
If you don’t have a lot of designs for your business just yet, add in some reference designs from Canva or the internet…
…that you want to be emulated by your business graphics and gradually swap them out with your original designs as you go.
The goal is to eventually cover all types of graphics you make for your business for all different purposes.
All of the visual branding guide sections we’ve just discussed…
…are essential to presenting visually harmonious graphics that have a defined overall look and feel.
It’s important to note though that your branding guidelines should never be stagnant.
And by that, we mean that you should periodically be checking if your current design practices are up to date and update your guide if they aren’t.
In time you may also want to add even more sections like:
- types of videos you want to use,
- how they’re edited,
- what transitions fit your brand, and
- what audio do you want to accompany your videos
…among other additions.
To help you get started, we have a free brand guidelines template you can use and edit for your own brand’s design best practices guide.
Simply click on this template link, let it load, and once it does, click on the button “Use template”.
It will automatically create a duplicate of the templates to your Canva account, as long as you’re already logged in.
Once that’s loaded into your browser, you can go ahead and edit the brand guidelines pages to go with your own branding guidelines.
That’s it for today’s post!
If you’re looking for an expert graphic design agency to help with your graphics, work together with our team of designers today. We’d love to hear from you!