Brand Guide Dos and Don’ts 2023 Checklist

Brand Guide Dos and Don'ts 2023 Checklist

Table of Contents

  • Hannah
  • April 20, 2023

Everyone’s competing to be relevant in the eyes of someone. You may have experienced being one of three children to parents whose expectations are ridiculously high. You persevere hard enough at school and then at work to become the favorite, only to one day realize that you are no longer being true to yourself.

The same goes with establishing a brand. Trends come in waves and may drag you to unfamiliar shores if your anchor isn’t firm enough.

This 2023, it’s time for your brand, established or new, to stay afloat while still being true to the values you’ve always held onto. Do this by starting with a brand book that resounds with your people at a visual level.

Planning Out What to Put in Your Brand Book 

You and your partners just came up with fresh ideas for a business and are looking for similar concepts online to inspire you. While you’re at it, make sure that your creative visions are aligned with your business’s identity to build a firm foundation for all your plans. Here are the things you may want to strategize.

 

1. Acknowledging Your Target Audience

 

Do: Assess if your values are inclusive and be mindful of how you apply them. 

In starting a business, part of what you’ll be sharing is your personal values. Your authentic intentions will stitch together your products, services, and how you’ll eventually lead your staff members.¹ These values are what will touch people’s hearts.

Be aware, though, that some values may seem exclusive to others and presenting them may require a lot of care. For example, highlighting principles on being fit and healthy should also be in agreement with ideals on body positivity.

Always aim to be clear and inclusive.

 

Don’t: Follow Design Trends If They Don’t Align with Your Brand. Listen to Your Audience. 

When planning your company’s visuals, always put to mind that different economic classes, ages, and lifestyles are looking for very dissimilar things from one another.

A good example of this is that a high-income surfer may prefer a more straightforward and functional bag they can bring to the beach. They may also be the kind of person to be more attracted to lifestyle photos on your social media feed. Giving the same bag to a cartoon-loving thirteen-year-old may not work. That same kid might also prefer to see more vector icons and illustrations on the pages they follow.

Be as specific as you can in determining your viewers and consumers. Choose an age range that isn’t too broad or a few successive economic classes. Research what their tastes are like while also defining what issues you want to address for them through your business.

 

2. Curating Your Color Palette

 

Do: Know the Basics of Color Theory to Produce Your Unique Color Palette. 

Now that you’re ready to bring life to your creation, aesthetics will also be a part of what keeps you noticeable.

Laying down the colors of your brand in a group can be easy when you are familiar with which colors go well together. However, you may notice that viewing the same material on the screen and on print will produce different outcomes. One of them may look duller while the other too vibrant. This is affected by Color Theory.

Color Theory is the understanding of color mixing which starts from the primary colors red, blue, and yellow. It will be very important as it will be your basis for the specific mixes and color codes you will use for the web and screen (RGB) and for prints (CMYK).² Understanding the basics of this science will help you produce the correct colors just the way you like them. Remember to ask your designer to include the exact codes in your guidelines.

 

Don’t: Just Throw in Colors that Go Well Together. Be Familiar with Color Psychology. 

The colors you pick can have a huge impact in attracting or pushing away your customers. Did you know that the color blue is rarely used by restaurants and food businesses because it can cause people to lose their appetite?³ It is considered by many as the most unappetizing color due to it hardly occurring in natural food products. Blue best represents security and reliability, which is why it is most seen in corporations and financial providers.

Color Psychology relates to how you make people feel about your business with the use of colors. Select colors with meanings that go well together to help relate the message you want to share with the world. Think of it as composing a sentence or phrase visually.

 

3. Producing Your Visual Content

 

Do: Explore Other Creative Resources Like Trying a Stock Photo Subscription. 

Artistically translating what your brand has to say is always the thrilling part, but it doesn’t always have to be hard or created from scratch. There are millions of resources online that can help develop your brand book. If hiring a professional photographer or graphic artist isn’t within your budget at the moment, subscribing to an affordable stock images website can be your best option.

In these websites, you will find images that you can use as the basis for all your future design elements, from photos to vector icons.

When browsing these platforms and picking the items you like, make sure to read the creator’s licensing agreements. This will determine the things you can and cannot do with the things they’ve shared.

While you’re exploring your options, always go back to what you want to express to your audience. Sensibly check the images for any offensive content and symbolism to avoid them.

Some of the popular subscription plans you may want to try are from Shutterstock, Adobe Stock Photos, and Freepik.

 

Don’t: Limit Your Photos to What’s Natural-Looking. Consider Presets and Filters for Your Branded Photos. 

Making your finished products more beautiful and put-together may be a bit challenging, especially if you’re using stock images that come from various creators. To save time and make your brand photos more consistent across all social media platforms, ads, and prints, you may want to have a custom preset created. Presets will help you enhance your photos with much fewer clicks.

There’s a wide variety of programs you can use to produce them, with Adobe Lightroom being the most popular. Ready-to-use presets can also be purchased online, if you’re looking for quick touch-ups for your photos.

 

4. Polishing Your Visual Content

 

Do: Consider Design Templates for Your Promotional Materials. 

Think of design templates as custom picture frames. They help present your brand elements together in a most presentable manner. These templates are mostly used on social media platforms such as Instagram, where you can view multiple posts in one screen. You can also apply them to posters, web banners, and Facebook cover photos.

Make sure that the templates you use aren’t too overwhelming—they’ll be holding up your imageries, copy, and other more essential parts of your promotions.

 

Don’t: Forget About Your Watermarks. 

You may find a lot of artists online speaking up about their artworks being illegally reposted on other platforms by people who didn’t purchase from them. Artists who address these issues would usually post screenshots of the stolen work and you may notice their very distinct logo and name on it.

This can also happen to you. It can be because some other business, who didn’t want to invest in their brand or create their own work, decided to take your branded content instead. Protect yours by placing watermarks.

Watermarking is usually done by placing translucent versions of your logo on legal documents and digital files for copyright purposes. Make sure that you place your watermarks on areas that can’t be edited out too easily.⁴

 

How to Know If You Need to Rebrand 

Your business might have been running smoothly for a couple of years until your operations were among those hit by the crashing pandemic. If you’re feeling uncertain about your current place in the industry and are considering to undergo a rebranding, here are a few things you can start thinking of:

 

1. Your customers have developed new interests.

This can frequently happen to food companies. If you notice that a number of your customers are gravitating towards a diet that can potentially push your products to a bad position, you may want to reconsider your offerings. Ask yourself if what you’re selling still matters to the people you’re trying to reach.⁵ See how this affects your company as a whole and if you would need to change its whole identity.

 

2. Your current business relies heavily on trends.

If your business can easily be swayed by what is currently being hyped up, then you might want to develop a brand that can stand firm on its own. Even if you’re managing a small business that’s still experimenting on reselling random products from bigger brands, you would still need to define a solid image to be known for.

 

3. You no longer recognize your brand as what you’ve planned it out to be.

There may come a time when your long-running business would seem different than how you wanted it to be. It can be that your products no longer align with your most-important values or that the atmosphere of your stores look like they’re for a different audience entirely.

If you find yourself contemplating something similar, go back to your brand guide. See what you’ve established back then and try to take parts of those familiar sentiments to the now-changing present.

 

Read more: Brand Guide 101: Components That Define Your Brand Aesthetics 

 

Keep Your Brand Guide Sacred. 

Before you branch out or follow your next bigger concept, make sure that you know your brand book by heart. It will point you to the right direction. Keep it reliable with your values, and all the goodness you’ve put in it should overflow from your company and out into the spaces it’s meant to reach.

 

TRUST ALLIED INSIGHT TO DEVELOP YOUR EXCEPTIONAL BRAND WITH YOU.

Developing a brand that can stand through time and trends can be challenging. Let Allied Insight help you in keeping your brand relevant and in pushing for its progress through progressive Stack Marketing initiatives.

Get in touch with us now!

 

References

1 Iang Yim. “The Importance Of Feedback And Leading By Example: On Corporate Mission Statements And Culture”. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2023/01/25/the-importance-of-feedback-and-leading-by-example-on-corporate-mission-statements-and-culture/ . Published last January 23, 2023. Accessed last February 12, 2023.

2 Kris Decker. “The fundamentals of understanding color theory”. https://99designs.com/blog/tips/the-7-step-guide-to-understanding-color-theory/#:~:text=Color%20theory%20is%20both%20the,methods%20used%20to%20replicate%20color. Published last November 2022. Accessed last February 12, 2023.

3 Ashley Anastasia Howell. “Understanding Colour Psychology for Restaurants & Brands”. https://medium.com/@ashley_howell/understanding-colour-psychology-for-restaurants-brands-dbb7ffbcecae . Published last July 16, 2016. Accessed last February 12, 2023.

4 Experience Dropbox. “What is a Watermark?”. https://experience.dropbox.com/resources/what-is-watermarking#:~:text=Watermarks%20can%20be%20used%20to,used%20to%20help%20prevent%20counterfeiting. Accessed last February 13, 2023.

5 Dmitrii Kustov. “7 Things That Signal It’s Time To Rebrand Your Business”. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2022/06/22/7-things-that-signal-its-time-to-rebrand-your-business/?sh=436d25036c05 . Published last June 22, 2022. Accessed last February 14, 2023.

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