A brand identity guide (BIG) is a set of rules that dictate how your brand should be used. Broadly speaking, a BIG focuses on the external aspects of your brand (colors, fonts, etc.), as well as on the internal aspects, such as voice and writing style.
The purpose of a BIG is to ensure that your brand’s message is communicated consistently across all marketing channels. A BIG also aims to help designers create a unified look and feel in every marketing material of your brand.
The elements of a BIG consist of:
- a summary of the brand’s vision and purpose
- logo specifications
- the chosen color palette
- the chosen type styles
- stationery design examples
Other elements can be included, depending on the type and budget of your business:
- design layouts and grids
- website layout
- photography style
- and more.
If these elements aren’t consistently (and persistently) portrayed in your brand building process, your business may suffer from brand confusion, and your goal of achieving a recognizable voice and identity for your brand will have to wait.
In other words, the same instructions related to communications (ads, branded marketing, etc.), color fonts, and layout should be respected by everyone who works on developing your brand.
When should you have a Brand Identity Guide made?
The sooner, the better. Moreover, your BIG should be developed by an experienced graphic design firm or marketing agency, preferably the same people who designed your brand logo. Normally, BIGs are distributed under the PDF format, which should be simple to browse for everyone.
Once you obtain a BIG, don’t worry too much about respecting its instructions to the letter. A BIG should be flexible enough to allow designers to be creative, but strict enough to make your brand stylistically consistent and easily recognizable.