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The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Brand Guidelines

Brand guidelines, sometimes referred to as brand identity guidelines, are a document that you can use to help identify, build, and originate your brand.

When your fellowship works on a new branding assignment or goes through the rebranding process, you should be given your burnished brand-new brand guidelines on completion of the project.

Your new brand guidelines paper can then be used both internally and externally to ensure consistency and continuity with your brand’s visual identity and underpinning strategy.

However, there is often more to it than that.

You can find out more about creating brand guidelines in this video 😛 TAGEND

Or for the full deep nose-dive, obstruct read!

As well as documenting your firebrand name, your brand guidelines should also include the following brand strategy factors ;P TAGEND

Audience personas Competitor research Brand positioning Brand fib Brand evaluates Brand operation Brand touchpoints Brand messaging Tint of utter And eventually, your symbol name.

Seems like overkill? Sure. But your brand guidelines are the documentation of your label, from start to finish.

Your brand guidelines are a document that anyone could pick up, look through, and fully understand everything there is to know about your firebrand and business.

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The Branding Brief Template .

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Why are Brand Guidelines Important?

Brand guidelines are important because your company will not always be dealing with one agency.

If you have loyalty to your branding organization( which ever helps to drive enormous client/ agency partnerships) that’s huge.

But what happens when you’re going to advertise on TV? Or rolled a book campaign with a newspaper or magazine?

For example 😛 TAGEND

If you buy print advertising, or any other type of advertising for that matter, you’re buying space or real estate for your brand.

Sure, your branding agency is generated by the ad for you, but maybe you’ve decided to bring that in-house. Or, it was necessary to the magazine or article to pull something together promptly for you.

They need to be able to understand how the firebrand was set up initially, to ensure consistency with your existing design and firebrand identity.

Or, perhaps you’re buying TV advertising, and your branding enterprise doesn’t get involved in motion graphics or movie making at all.

You would need to do your brand guidelines to a TV or media buying agency that does that kind of work, and get them to create something for you.

By having your brand guidelines to pass, they’ll be able to dig deeper into your firebrand, understanding what you’re all about, and initiate something that connects.

Also, if you’re looking into TV advertising, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you’d imagine. Check out this affix on Tv publicizing costs by our friends over at The Tv Agency.

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At Canny, we’ve done some office just like this.

Back in 2014, we worked with a company announced Armit Wines. Their brand identity was already in place, but they were setting up a “Spanish Wine Fiesta.”

We were brought in to create a brand within their existing label, and therefore had to carefully construct the sub-brand, consulting their pre-existing brand guidelines along the way.

A well constructed symbol guideline document should be completely functional, and allow anybody to understand your brand.

What’s the Difference Between Brand Guidelines, Brand Books, and Brand Guidebook?

Well , not a whole lot actually.

The words label notebook, symbol manual, and brand guidelines are all often used interchangeably. It’s typically merely such matters of preference or geographical location.

We’ve noticed a great deal of our clients in the UK refer to brand guidelines, whereas across Europe, firebrand diary seems to be the most common term. Across the pond in the USA, creating a brand manual is often what our consumers talk about.

Each term conveys the same thing.

A brand guideline, symbol diary, or symbol manual, is a document that summarises your firebrand. From brand strategy, through to label identity and execution.

Who Should Procreate Your Brand Guidelines?

Your branding agency should create the firebrand guideline substantiate at the end, or as they progress through, your branding or rebranding project.

It’s a errand that should be specifically outlined in their proposal, so make sure it is before you sign on the dotted line.

You might think that your new company logo and business cards are the most important part of a branding or rebranding employ, but I’d disagree they’re a minor part when compared to your brand guidelines.

Your brand, and how it’s presented, how it should and shouldn’t communicate, and what it lookings and feels like is what’s important. Not just your badge motif!

At the end of your job, your branding agency should hand over all resources, as well as a PDF version of your brand-new brand guidelines, clearly explaining how your newly created brand assets should( and shouldn’t) be put to use.

What Should Be Included in Your Brand Guidelines

So, what be integrated into your brand specification certificate?

Well, just like anything else, you can go for basic recommendations, or a fully comprehensive approach to creating your documentation.

Often, for smaller companies or startups, something basic and quick to read is the best route to coming their firebrand recommendation set up.

However, if you’re in charge of a larger organisation or vast corporation like Google, or Amazon, then you’ll need something fully comprehensive.

Let’s explore both options 😛 TAGEND What Should Be Included in a Basic Brand Guideline Document?

A basic symbol specification paper will often bypass the firebrand policy, assignment, and perception, slope of things, and go straight to the visuals.

We believe every good branding project should be based on the foundation of a solid symbol strategy.

However, sometimes there simply isn’t the budget for that, or, you need something that exclusively certificates your brand’s visual identity.

So, let’s take a look at that route firstly 😛 TAGEND

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Logo Design

The first thing that should be shown in your brand guidelines is your motto design.

This is the main form of the symbol, and the design that you would expect to see 90% of the time.

In the first instance, it should be shown in full colour, in all its honour. Be very proud of it!

Check out this upright If you’re looking for gratuities to acquire your insignium designing more effective.

Insignium Discrepancies

Your logo fluctuations are the other logo intends that your symbol could use.

This always junkets beings up.

If your motto has a logo mark to the left, and the text to the right, it doesn’t always need to be used in that layout.

Make sure you too have a vertical form or “lock up”. A edition without textbook. A edition without the badge marker, and so on.

Think about McDonald’s and how they use their logo: A large-scale yellowish M by the side of the road Yellow M and McDonald’s text on the building itself Full or increased different versions of the logo on their package Big-hearted yellowed M drew on their drive-thru floor It’s important that your motto pattern is perfectly flexible.

And all of these different versions of your logo motif should be represented within your firebrand specification document.

Remember, your brand guidelines are an evolving document. If you open up a brand-new supermarket( or store) and come across a new expend occasion, make sure it gets documented!


Logo Design Reversed and Single Colour

This touches on what we’ve time has spoken about, because essentially, reversed and single quality symbols are logo design variances. Nonetheless, this may seem like it deserves its own section.

Your logo designing exists in a primary colour palette. This is it’s normal model, the thing parties “il be seeing” most often.

But then you need to show it in reverse, on a different quality background, and more often than not, in a single colour( generally black .)

By doing this, you’re also proving your emblem design works in a number of different ways. You might ask; “why, who’s going to see it? ”

Well, if you photocopy travel documents, it goes down to one single colour. If you need to put your logo on a dark background instead of a grey background, then you need an alternative.

All of these interesting thing should be documented within your brand guidelines.

If your motto blueprint is designed properly and effectively, your organization won’t have any problem presenting it in these different formats.

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Responsive Logo

Your responsive badge pattern is the version of your badge that will be used on smaller screens like a tablet or mobile phone.

This section should show you how to use your logo across a range of machines, showing how the emblem can change when it gets to a certain size.

The important part to consider here, is that when your badge is reduced in size, it should still be instantly recognisable as your brand.

Check out Responsive Logos here to get an idea of how this inspects in practice.

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Logo Spacing

The space around your symbol is often as important as the badge itself. In information I’d say the space you give your logo, can induce or burst the design.

If your symbol is cramped into a tiny space, surrounded by conflicting components, it won’t search professional at all.

Your logo should be displayed with “x-height” leader, demonstrating how much clear room should be around the logo at all times.

There should also be an indication of how big you should take your logo at any given time. Again, use the responsive symbol division above as a guide.

At Canny, we afford minimum lengths for etch( in millimeters) and for digital( in pixels .) After that pitch, your accept emblem sizing should be used.

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Brand Typography

The typography squandered across your symbol should be documented in full.

This should include, the typeface used within the logo, as well as ;P TAGEND

Headlines Sub-headlines Paragraphs

Your brand guidelines document should summarize the typography squandered, where you can get access to them, and the widths they should be used at, as well as their relation to each other.

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Brand Colours

Your brand colours exist in a range of forms.

Primary label qualities Secondary label colours RGB( web) emblazons CMYK( publish) colourings

The primary colours are often the emblazons is located within your insignium designing, plus a version of black, or versions of black, used as your primary text.

Secondary colours exist to add depth to your brand’s colour palette.

These might be used across other forms of advertising, such as circulars, exhibit stands, or your website.

When you’re creating marketing fabrics, it’s important to have flexibility while remaining “on brand.”

As the importance of the digital world-wide rises, people seem to have forgotten all about reproduce emblazons. A dynamic colour that looks great on screen might not work in publish. Translating it directly into a print colouring will probably look too dull and muddy.

Lately, we’ve been building brand identities that are fully resilient across both print and network, by record for that in the brand guidelines.

Rather than simply swapping out RGB for CMYK importances, try creating your own CMYK palette. You’ll often get better ensues!

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Brand Imagery

Photography and instance can play a key role in your brand identity.

It’s important that a consistent photographic or exemplifying style is established from the outset.

Are you exploiting conceptual photography to demonstrate concepts, or scribbly sketches to help visualise things?

If you’re looking for good photography, check out our berth on where to get the best photos for your brand.

This section of the guidelines will usually feature a selection of appropriate likeness, and a selection of unwarranted images.

With photography, this will focus mainly on light, form, and subject matter.

With illustration, you’ll be looking at style, colour, and subject matter.

Photographers and illustrators find this section particularly useful if they’re being “ve brought” to help your brand.

Brand Stationery

Your brand stationery should also be documented within your guidelines.

Branding jobs always tend to include( at a minimum ), your business card and letterheads. Make sure these get substantiated!

One of the biggest incongruities we view across symbols when we help them to rebrand, is how they set about their business cards.

Are you abusing T, Tel, or Telephone? Are you to work out your numeral with or without the international dialling code? All of this should be ironed out in your guidelines.

When you’re adding new staff members, and get added business cards printed, you can use the document created by your enterprise, to help create the brand-new business cards.

Then, paw such documents over to the printers, and explain where they can find the relevant part of the document.

Some symbols go as far as to note down paper inventories and finishes, so they can ensure consistency across all of their stationery.

For reference; that’s the claim superhighway forward!

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Social Media Assets

The last thing typically included in the most basic of brand guidelines is social media assets.

What do your avatars look like? How about your header idols? And even the content itself.

With so many varying degrees of social media content, it’s important to establish a locate style and build up from there.

We recently used to work some Instagram content for a new fitness group.

We ensured their Instagram stories aligned to their Instagram feed squares, which aligned to their Twitter and Facebook posts.

Consistency aids get your brand recognised, particularly in the loud social media space.

Digital Marketing 101 dictates that you’re consistent in your approaching, and your social media visuals needs to be part of that consistent approach too.

The Brand Guideline One Sheet

An emerging trend when creating brand guidelines, is the brand guideline one sheet.

Not every single business needs brand guidelines that mandate every single output.

For example, we recently worked with a nursery business. Their staff members are often at full capacity, extended, and in a hurry.

Detailing every single brand production and creating an in-depth brand guideline wouldn’t have been a good use of duration or budget.

A quick reference sheet is much more helpful in this situation!

So, when dealing with a branding agency, consider your needs and requirements before racing into creating a huge firebrand guideline document.

A More Comprehensive Approach to Brand Guidelines

The above included the basic concepts of a visual identity, and how to document it within your brand guidelines.

More thorough brand guidelines include all of the above, and more.

Typically, well advanced guidelines was for bigger organizations, and start to include elements of brand strategy, and further call cases.

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As we discussed at the start of this announce, label programme includes ;P TAGEND

Audience personas Competitor research Brand positioning Brand tale Brand appraises Brand mission Brand touchpoints Brand messaging Atmosphere of tone And ultimately, your firebrand name.

We’ve already covered off firebrand name above, so let’s take a look at how the rest of your label programme fits into your brand guidelines.

If you’re unsure about brand strategy, we’ve get several detailed posts about symbol programme, and a firebrand approach workbook, Brand Strategy Made Simple.

So we’re not going to go into detail about each element here. Instead, we’re going to show how your firebrand approach could fit into your brand guidelines.

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Audience Personas

Your Audience Personas should epitomise your patron cornerstone. These imaginary sketches will help to ensure your brand and marketing struggles will appeal to your audience.

We typically lay these out in brand guidelines based on our Customer Persona Template.

By documenting your patron personas in your brand guidelines, you’re showing beings the characteristics of patrons you’re trying to attract.

This can work in a number of ways. Not simply does it cure everyone align their efforts with your purchaser base, it can also help to generate referrals.

Competitor Research

Profiling your contestants within your brand guidelines might seem an strange hand-picked. But, it gives people a peculiar insight into your industry.

By taking a deep dive into the competitive terrain, you begin to paint a picture of where you sit and how you can grow to transcend client expectations.

We normally dedicate a page to each entrant, and look at a mix of neighbourhood, national, and international competitors, what they offer, and profile any key understands that promotion our client’s brand.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is the process of placing your firebrand in the mind of your patrons. Within your brand guidelines, you should outline how you’re doing that.

Typically, when including brand positioning in a guideline, we only include the final brand situating statement.

If they’re having difficulty, we help our buyers formulate their brand positioning announcement abusing the following formula 😛 TAGEND

[ Brand Name] ’s[ offering] is no other[ category/ busines/ make] that[ help you bring to your customers ].

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Brand Story

Your Brand Story is unique to you- it can be funny, unexpected, serious, grandiose … but one thing is for sure, it must spark an feelings reaction.

It’s the story of your brand, and how you help your customers.

To document this in your guidelines, we frequently include the final brand legend as a paragraph on a slide of its own. Sometimes, we’ll include the direct sting pitches that our client’s solve for their customers.

If you’re struggling with creating your label floor, check out Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller.

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Brand Values

At the core of your Brand Strategy, you will find your Brand Values. This collect of words should parcel a punch. They are intrinsic to all other aspects of your business , not only your sell cloths.

When including firebrand costs in a firebrand guideline, we commonly state the significance, and accompany it with a descriptive sentence.

Try to avoid cliches like “transparent” and “honest” afterall, we expect everyone we deal with to be honest!


Brand Mission Some people call it a Brand Mission, others a Vision, others a Purpose. At Canny, we always call it your Brand Mission.

Mission is apt, because just like putting beings on the moon, you’re answering the issues to 😛 TAGEND

“Where are we aiming to be? ”

Again, it’s a clause on a sheet. Nothing overly ambitious! Just be sure you detail exactly where you’re brand is going, and what you’re setting out to achieve.

Symbol Touchpoints

A Brand Touch Point is the time and place where a purchaser comes in contact with your label.

Touchpoints can be very tricky to document in your brand guidelines. We’ve discovered even exactly having a list of them, or some sort of table, that documents how and when purchasers will come into contact with your label can be useful.

We try and evaded command mass at all costs( because they’re tacky as blaze !) but if there was one place they’d be appropriate, this could be it.

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Brand Messaging

Your Brand Messaging is “what” you’re trying to communicate, and how you communicate it. It acts as a framework on which to base all of your external communications.

Again, you can list out your key messaging with little to no difficulty.

However, what we’ve experienced most useful in the past, is actually showing the messaging in use alongside that.

Maybe slot a Facebook advert, or a banner you’ve procreated onto the messaging move too.

Another great course to visualise your label messaging is by breaking it down into your brand pillars. If you’re unsure on what label mainstays are, check out this post.

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Tone of Voice

Your Tone of Voice describes how your symbol communicates with the audience and thus affects how people perceive your messaging.

Are your emails should be signed with; “Thanks, expressed appreciation for, involves, kind involves, reliably, yours sincerely…”?

Do you salute parties with; “Hi, hey, hello, howdy …?

The tone of voice your brand uses can help accentuate the symbol you want to communicate.

To document this, we typically include a tone of voice table. This shows you the characteristics, description, do’s, and don’ts of how your brand communicates.

Rounding Up Your Brand Strategy

The creation and documentation of a symbol strategy is no easy task.

That’s exactly why we ever recommend utilizing a professional branding agency to help.

If you’re determined to have a go at creating your own brand strategy, do make sure to download our steer that will help give you the best possible start.

Additional Visual Considerations

We’ve talked about the basics of including your visual name in your guidelines previously. However, if you’re moving a bigger operation, you might also want to consider the following.

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If your fellowship has physical places, signage would be a common thing to find inside your brand guideline document.

Are your ratifies flat, plastic vinyl? Or are they built up and crystallized?

How do you use your label identity within your signage?

These are all considerations that should be addressed within your documentation.

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There’s been a huge rise in the use of iconography in brands over the last several years. Time “youre using” summarized icons or solid icons?

If you’ve worked to create an icon library, make sure it’s included in your brand guidelines in case you ever need something on the fly!

This also helps align hopes if you move to a different imaginative organization in the future.

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Vehicle Livery

A lot “of the organizations activities” have vehicles, and again, their livery or sign writing form should be documented in your brand guidelines.

If you own a sail of taxis for example, do they all need to match? What signage goes on the side? Documenting all of this in your guidelines helps acquire large-hearted decisions in the future.

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Website Style Tile or Web Style Guide

Your website design is an important part of your brand’s communication.

But how does this fit into a label specification?

Well, professional pattern organizations are now starting to create website style tiles. These tiles are then used to show the basics of a brand’s online presence and website.

They list out 😛 TAGEND

Fonts, emblazons, likenes forms, how type interacts with imagery and more.

A brand website style tile can easily fit into your brand guidelines and give you an idea of how to use your label name online.

We also find it useful to include photographs of several key sheets and how they look on portable, tablet, and desktop.

Additional Considerations for Your Brand Guidelines

When creating your brand guidelines, include everything that you think is important to your business.

Because every single business is different, each planned of brand guidelines can be completely different, and this post really is just the tip of the iceberg.

The large the label, the more touchpoints you’ll have, and the more you should include in your guidelines.

As you form them, make sure to include a written description or summary on each page, to give everyone full visibility of what you were thinking when you included each element.

The more you knew, the more they can help.

Conclusion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Brand Guidelines

Your brand guidelines are the terminated steer to your label. Both your brand policy, and your symbol identity.

It’s important that your brand guidelines don’t live to collect dust. It’s a living, growing, breathing document.

They should be used when communicating with new suppliers or generating beings into the company. They should also to adhere to and changed as your firm grows and develops.

You run a new safarus and something occupations? Get it in the guidelines paper to use going forward.

If you reform something, make sure your recommendations are brought up to date to reflect the change.

Your brand guidelines are the thorough usher to your label and busines. Use them as appropriate tools they were intended to be.

What do you think? How important are your brand guidelines to the success of your operations? Let us know in the comments below.

The post The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Brand Guidelines performed first on Canny Creative.

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2 Books I Read Last Week, 1 Book I Didn’t Finish (+ the classic movie we watched)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

Here are the two books I finished last week…

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The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships

If you enjoy all things Enneagram, I definitely recommend this book. It’s an in-depth at each number on the Enneagram and how that number relates and differs with other numbers.

I found it insightful, enlightening, and just downright interesting. And while I’d studied a lot about the Enneagram, I learned quite a few new things — especially when it comes to how to better relate with other numbers, communicate with them, and help them to feel seen and valued.

It also definitely, definitely confirmed what I already knew to be true: I’m an Enneagram 8 through and through! Also, it sparked some great conversations between Jesse and me about how we interact, how certain things I do can make him want to shut down (he’s a 5), and how we’ve both grown so much healthier as people in the last 10 years.

The only thing I will mention is that if you’re new to the Enneagram, I wouldn’t recommend starting with this book. Instead, I’d start with a book like, The Road Back to You.

Verdict: 4 stars

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Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message

I’ve been to one of Donald Miller’s Story Brand workshops before and it made an indelible mark on how I approach marketing and communication with customers in our business. This book was a good refresher to listen to.

If you are a blogger, a business owner, an online entrepreneur, or have any say in the marketing or oversight of the company you work for, I would highly recommend this book. It will likely challenge the way you think when it comes to marketing and change the way you approach doing business.

The best part is that this book gives you a really clear-cut action plan and walks you step-by-step through out to implement it. So you don’t just read about the great ideas; you actually know how to put them into practice in your business!

Two things I did want to mention: 1) I think this book would be better to read a physical copy of than to listen to as it’s more hands-on and has projects for each chapter. 2) I was a little turned off by the multiple promotions for Story Brand products and services. I understand that the goal was likely to get people to want to invest into some of the higher priced products that Story Brand offers, but I found it to be a turn-off — and it almost merited me bumping the rating of the book down to 3 stars.

Verdict: 4 stars

Book I Didn’t Finish

The Atomic City Girls — Unfortunately, this book was a big disappointment to me. I had high hopes for it, but within an hour or so of listening, I quickly discovered it seemed more focused on the romantic story and details of that than the actual historical details of Oak Ridge. Yes, there were some historical details, but the book continued to sound more and more like a soap opera or tabloid and started going into details about the character’s loves lives that felt too edgy/raunchy for me… so I ended up quitting it. Does anyone have a book to recommend about Oak Ridge that is interesting but also much more historically rich?

Classic Movie We Watched Last Week

The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it.

I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!)

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Last week, we watched the 1950’s Disney version of Treasure Island. Both girls had read this book in school, so they found that made the movie more interesting.

It was a little slow and long (even though it was only 1 hour and 35 minutes, it felt long), but overall we mostly enjoyed it. I will say it’s probably been one of our least favorite classic movies so far.

What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list??