The exciting thing about branding is starting a new identity from scratch. In the case of rebranding, it’s giving something old and tired a new lease on life.
What’s not quite as fun are the million-and-one fiddly details that go into the exercise.
- Are the design team and me talking about the same thing? Like, is a stacked logo a square logo?
- Are we covering all the items we truly need? Are we forgetting some that are actually important or, conversely, overdoing it and thereby incurring more expense?
- Are we all on the same page about approval circuits and building in approval time before launch?
There are many excellent and free branding brief templates to furnish your agency or designer, such as this one from FreshSparks. What’s not so common is a laundry list of all the assets that should be covered by the process. A list sets the foundation for budgeting, timing and organizing. A list grounds you.
So here’s my version that I’ve used several times, from rebranding a 44-country international firm to creating a brand new identity for a digital agency. You can download it as a Word doc as well.
It’s a rare case where all items on this list will be checked off. B2B companies would require more of the digital templates while an e-commerce outfit would need a fuller range of ad formats. Feel free to adjust as necessary.
Tesla’s brand guidelines specify the amount of clear space required around the brand mark, as well as where it should appear. For example, the logo should never be placed on a highly patterned background or photograph is
- Black and white
Files should be in as many formats as possible: JPG, PNG, EPS, AI. Include sizes that can be used for larger formats such as outdoor signage and as small as a favicon. The wide range of measurements will test the skill of your designer, as the brand mark has to look good at 16px (a favicon’s size) as it would wrapped around the side of a building.
Beats By Dre’s typography embodies its brand: Solid and contemporary, almost masculine.
A normal number of fonts to start with would be two, a serif and a sans serif that complement each other. Depending on the brand’s needs, you may also want to commission a script or another distinct font for headlines.
Exercise good sense in choosing fonts. The more fanciful or rare ones require a license which can be cost-prohibitive when purchasing it for multiple users.
In addition, clients who do not have these fonts in their systems will find that any documents you sent them have defaulted to Times New Roman or Arial, not to mention the formatting has all gone off. Remember that Google Fonts are good looking and free!
AirBnB’s color palette has 9 shades but 6 shades is a good number to start with.
- Dominant color 1
- Dominant color 2
- Accent color 1
- Accent color 2
- Accent color 3
- Accent color 4
Picking brand colors must be one of the most enjoyable parts of a brand exercise. If you want to play around with colors yourself, have a go using these tools.
From cover slide to bullet styles, your PowerPoint presentation should be consistent with your brand. Future Prospect PowerPoint template by Jumsoft.
- PowerPoint or Keynote presentation
- PowerPoint or Keynote charts – Pie, bar, stacked bar, line, etc.
- One-page brochure
- White paper
- Email signature
- House ads – Leaderboard, mobile leaderboard, wide skyscraper, large rectangle, medium rectangle, billboard
Digital templates are the workhorses of your brand asset library. In the absence of guidelines, users tend to put their own creative stamp on common documents. Nip these in the bud by providing a full spectrum of branded applications.
Social media assets
Aman’s Instagram account is serene and luxurious, just like the resort company itself.
- Headers – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn
- Profile photos
- Social ads
Normally social media assets are cobbled together internally by the marketing or social media team. If so, it never hurts to run mockups by the brand steward or designer to gauge brand cohesiveness. Future iterations can then be created with pointers in mind.
Print can be a surprisingly strong way to anchor your brand. Cards by Jukebox Print.
- Business card
- Letter envelopes
- Window envelopes
- Catalog or document envelopes
- Note card or compliments slip
- Presentation folder
- Mailing label
We like to think that print has gone the way of the mastodons, but marketers are discovering that in the mad rush to go digital, emptier mailboxes mean better opportunities to showcase your brand. Did you know that direct mail as a percentage of all mail went up in 2016? And never underestimate the power of the humble receipt to carry brand messaging.
Lobby signage doesn’t have to be boring. Slack offices in Toronto, courtesy of Office Snapshots.
- Lobby signage
- Directional signage
- Glass vinyl graphics
- Exterior signage
- Event signage
Think of signage as another canvas for your brand. How can you use that space to communicate your brand’s key attributes?
Trade show assets
This Ray-Ban tradeshow booth certainly turned heads at an ophthalmology conference in Milan. Photo courtesy of Trive Digest.
- Retractable banners
- Trade show booth
- Table drapery
Apart from their networking benefits, conferences and trade shows are prime opportunities to build brand awareness. You may not have the budget of Ray-Ban in creating a stunning booth, but never underestimate how a well designed retractable banner can stop traffic.
People are still talking about this bucket of gummy bears that the New York Post gave away during Advertising Week 2014.
- Branded premiums
- Branded attire
- Vehicle wrap
- Other application 1
- Other application 2
Want to make this list yours? Download it as a Word document.