A Brand Book can be best defined as your Enterprise Bible. It is the most elaborate visual guide into your legacy of management, marketing promotions and numerous in-house audience engagement strategies. Organizations use it as a digital branding medium to reinforce the image of the brand, its widespread geographical reach and the benchmark practices specific to the company.
For the sake of consistency, there are few things that you keep in mind while designing Brand Books. We point out 10 “Never Do” items while developing a persuasive Brand Book.
1. Never deviate from Corporate Logo Usage
A logo is the cornerstone of any organization’s brand image. In USA and elsewhere across globe, a logo is the registered asset. Once registered in its form, you have to necessarily publish its proper dimensions, colour theme, blocked lettering and other visual assets related to the logo in the Brand Book.
Your Brand Book must highlight:
- The background colour for the logo
- Alternative colour for the logo, in case there is a different background
- Spacing and maximizing effects for 2X, 3X, 5X and higher magnification
2. Don’t intrude logo badge with signature content
Keep the logo in your Brand Book as a distinct item. Ensure that the book properly indicated your purpose of designing a logo in the first place. Never let another content intrude into your logo space. Maintain a distinct brand identity for the way your logo is used everywhere, in print or digital or in banner.
3. Don’t dilute your brand positioning
Your Brand Book should be speaking clearly to the customers. It should cover the intricate details of how your management and service line works towards fulfilling the committed promises and improving upon it.
Don’t make promises for the future. Give a platform for the audience to connect with you through your achievement from the past or give an insight on developing ideas, decision making and technology updates that you intend to reflect through your Brand Book.
4. Stay away from assumptions
Never assume that the audience knows about your organization structure well. Give your audience the proper information about the team behind your organization’s success.
Define the structure of the brands that exist within the organization using a hierarchy tree or family-line. Give a clear picture on the parent company, family brands and the sub-brands accordingly.
5. No haphazard use of pictures
Brand Book is a great branding initiative if done correctly. Use of pictures give the exact idea about the services and the attitude of the company towards the client, environment and social responsibilities.
While using pictures in the Brand Books, here are some aspects that most designers get wrong.
- Poor quality, pixelated images
- Absence of caption
- Negative meaning, often contradicting the work of the organization
- Use of black and white photographs
- No courtesy line/ source of image
In order to get the best out of picture usage in Brand Book, get them properly arranged without too much dramatization around them. Clear, crisp and colourful pictures that highlight cheerful moments should be used, ideally by an in-house or agency photographer.
After all, you should have your own gallery of branding images for every promotion, following the release of your own Brand Book.
6. No negative comments, words or tone
Nobody loves to read a Brand Book as a news daily. Avoid using superfluous words, inserted for the sake of dramatization. Never put Don’t, Haven’t and other negative words in the titles, bullets and conclusion. Use optimism to your advantage with cheerful words.
7. Talk professional and stay firm with consistent tone
Brand Books are professional documents representing the brand image. Don’t turn it into a story telling journey. Be consistent with the way your content reflects the whole message.
Stick to the norms defined by your content development team. Use of fonts, italics, abbreviations and the coloured fonts should be dealt with
8. Use of incorrect icons
Designers try to take a leeway in redesigning the established icons for the sake of visual creativity and making them look consistent with over all theme of the company logo. That is the worst thing to do.
Here are some of the mistakes that designers commit while handling icons in Brand Books.
- Remove the core aspects of the icon design and redrawing to make them look like logos!
- Changing the colour or the frame of the box where the icon sits
- Altering the dimensions and adding extra typography alongside the logo
- Adding supporting colour palettes to brighten up the icons
Define your iconography principles for the branding purpose. From navigation to badge designs, iconography should point at:
- Use of simple and iconic imagery
- Minimal detailing with rounding
- No complex textures with straight perspectives
- No vector traced photos
Above all, never change the colour of the accepted icons to make them fit into your campaign colours.
9. Use of Fonts
Typography is a key element in the Brand Book designing. The lack of creativity and rigid protocols to content team continue to take its toll on the designing part. Never use the infamous fonts of the web content era. Avoid these fonts like plague.
- Comic Sans MS
Highly inferior and looks like a kid’s playbook template.
Blame it on Microsoft for keeping it the default font everywhere. It no longer has the bubbly feel that it once displayed.
- Brush Script
You might love the flow, but when it comes to printing or publishing online, it is a horrible idea.
- Copperplate Gothic
Ancient and obsolete, Brand Books with this font give a pre-Victorian era, which you may not like to invest in.
If you are getting the Brand Book designed by a team of novice designers, be wary of their default settings. This heavily overused font is not just “flawed” attractive, but also gives a textbook reading experience.
Fonts to go with for the new-age Brand Book typography are:
- DIN 1451- Sans serif typeface
- Utopia regular
10. Cut Down the Size
Longer is definitely not better. Keep the Brand Book length effectively between 14-18 pages. Any longer, and it loses its sheen to keep the audience engaged. Don’t rely on the brochure designing templates to lay the foundation for the Brand Book.
In a Nut shell
Overall, your Brand Book should have clearly defined sections with great design and useful information, effective enough to let audience know that it exists in the first place. Be informative, helpful and straightforward without being too technical or too causal either. Build your community and share your brand identity by avoiding the mentioned No-No’s.