• Jill Marber

The Law of Branding Guidelines

Updated: Mar 7, 2018

Marketing is all about breaking the rules, being creative, and following your passion, right? While that may be true in some cases, marketing has rules too, and they can be found in your branding guidelines.

Branding guidelines are rulebooks on how to use your marketing elements. You probably spent a lot of money and time with your marketing agency crafting the perfect logo, website, and message. Every detail has been carefully considered and planned. To have a successful business is to possess a strong, recognizable, and consistent brand. However, all it takes is one misprinted business card or random trade show giveaway to tarnish your image. Brands need to maintain their distinguishability throughout all campaigns, from print ads to flyers.

These guidelines are helpful for everyone associated with your business. Designers, writers, and anyone else in your office will know how to use your elements correctly without room for interpretation. Guidelines are typically in a book format, and copies are distributed throughout your agency and company.

What is included in branding guidelines?

As companies vary, so can their instructions, but typically the elements included in branding guidelines are:

• Your Color Palette – Colors of your logo, tagline, tradeshow booths and more can all be included

• Typography – This can include the font and size of your logo and tagline as well as reverse instructions

• Logo Usage – Includes colors, size, placement, clear space rules, and reverse options

• Collateral – Brochures, flyers, and postcard consistency can be addressed in this section including logo placement, fonts, space, and colors

• Signage – While similar to the collateral rules in many cases, this section will cover best placement, colors, and usage

• Advertisements – Most elements will probably be similar to collateral guidelines with the addition of photography policies and verbiage regulations

• Trade Shows – Booth design, apparel, and giveaways should be included on these pages


These guidelines can vary in length depending on how comprehensive you want to be. Usually, the more detailed, the better so that there aren’t unanswered questions, leaving the opportunity for mistakes. Other elements that may be included in your branding guidelines are symbols, message tone, mission statement, PowerPoints, business cards, accepted imagery, and templates.

A brand is more than the logo or the tagline; it is the perception of your business. However, the perception of your business depends heavily on the elements of your brand. Your brand was created with specific features designed to speak to your audience. Maintaining it should be a priority, especially as your business grows.