How to create the ultimate brand guide

The brand guide is a post-contest deliverable in logo & bundle pack contests at 99designs. It is an essential tool for businesses and designers benefit from clear guidelines. 
 
This resource page shows you how to create an awesome brand guide that will wow your client.

What is a brand guide?

A brand guide is the set of rules that an organization follows when presenting their brand to the world. It generally details things like the organization’s story, tone of voice and target audience to help a team represent the organization consistently.

Before you begin

Talk to your client

Some clients may not know what a brand guide is or what its benefits area, so be prepared to explain it to them. We have blog articles that your client can read to understand better. Head to the bottom of this page for a list.

Set the right expectations

If your client needs a basic brand guide, look no further than our template (download it below). If they're after a more complex guide, then we encourage you to start a separate project on our 1-to-1 Project platform where you have the power to set an appropriate rate.

Do your research

We can't stress this enough. Know the full story before you begin designing. Ask your client as many questions as you can to understand their brand, and make sure they give you all the elements you need to build the brand guide.

Divide and conquer

Generally, you handle the design aspects of a brand guide, which includes the logo, colors, fonts, images and usage guidelines. The client should provide the rest before you proceed to layout.

 

Creating the brand guide

Below is a breakdown of our standard brand guide template (available for download below). Remember that different clients have different requirements so you may omit some, or you may even include more elements.

Components

Cover

The cover sets the tone of the overall brand guide. The most popular option is to include the company logo on the cover.

About

This is where your client's business information and brand story live.

Logo and its usage

This section sets out the rules on how the brand logo should be used. For example, if the logo comes in wordmark and icon forms, establish rules of where and when each form is used. List the size requirements and color specifications. 

Typography

Establish a clear set of rules on the fonts used: do you want to keep it regular 12 pt, italics only or absolutely not in bold?

Color

Providing the primary and secondary colors is good, but to ensure brand color consistency, you need to also provide the HEX, RGB and CMYK values. 

Your designer profile

This is the perfect spot for your short profile which can include your contact details, experience and your portfolio. Ensure all your links work properly.

Glossary

Include all the specific design terms used in the brand guide.

End

This is a great place to reiterate the look and feel of the brand for a strong finish. You can use a straightforward approach with the company address and logo on the side, or an artistic approach with a great quote against the primary brand color. Your client should definitely have input here.
 
 

Download the brand guide template

Finishing your brand guide

Things to remember

  • Make sure all links in your brand guide work. Seeing "Click here to see my portfolio" without a link is never good.
  • Submit the full brand guide as a single file. Separate files will confuse your clients.
  • Modify the brand guide to meet your clients' needs. Feel free to add creative touches if it fits the brand.
  • Keep your design simple. Complicated design get in the way of presenting information.

Submitting to your client

Ensure that you submit the correct files to your client:
  • A high-res, editable source file of the final design (PSD, AI or INDD)
  • A print-ready PDF file with all the fonts outlined
  • Upload all pages of the brand guide in one file