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 will include your client's business information and brand story.

Logo and usage

This section describes how the brand logo should be used, including size requirements and color specifications. For example, if the logo comes in wordmark and icon forms, establish clear rules of where and when each form should be used. 

Typography

Decide how fonts will be used. Do you want to keep all copy in regular 12 pt? Italics only? Or absolutely not in bold?

Color

Provide primary and secondary colors in HEX, RGB and CMYK values to ensure brand color consistency.

Your designer profile

This is the perfect spot for your short profile, which includes your contact details, experience and portfolio. Make sure your links work properly!

Glossary

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

End

Finish strong by reiterating the look and feel of the brand. 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

  • DO use the above template to provide your client with a basic brand guide they'll covet!
  • DO ensure all links in your brand guide work properly - nothing is more disappointing than seeing a sentence like "Click here to see my portfolio" that doesn't link anywhere!
  • DO submit the full brand guide as one file. Submitting each page of the guide as separate files may confuse your clients.
  • DON'T hesitate to modify the brand guide to the clients' needs and add creative touches if it fits the brand.
  • DON'T let flourishes get in the way of information - sometimes being simple is best!
  • DON'T upload brand guide pages into separate files - keep in mind that your clients need to easily flick through the guide.

 

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