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How to Create Brand Guidelines

What are Brand Guidelines?

Brand guidelines serve as a crucial blueprint for maintaining a consistent brand identity across all platforms.

Essentially, they are a comprehensive set of rules and standards that dictate how a brand should be visually represented, ensuring that every interaction with the brand, from logo placement to the tone of communication, aligns seamlessly. 

If you’re just here for the free brand guidelines template, then click here >

Who are brand guidelines for?

Primarily, brand guidelines are created for internal use. Making sure that whoever is communicating as the brand, be that on social media, over an email or designing an advert, the brand identity is consistent.

But it doesn’t stop there…

Brand guidelines are crucial for external agencies too. You don’t want to go outsourcing your advertising or your copywriting for example, to someone who has no clue how or why your brand even started in the first place.

Whenever you come to outsource (and you will at some point, outsource isn’t a dirty word) you can do so with complete reassurance that whoever is managing a particular element of your marketing, they will fully understand your brand value and identity.

Who creates brand guidelines?

You can give a bash yourself, but we’d strongly recommend taking the time to find someone who truly understands the nuts and bolts of branding within your chosen industry, as we’re talking more than a logo or a business card here.

This is the foundation to your entire brand’s identity so it’s not something to get wrong.

What do brand guidelines include?

They’re more than just a PDF with your logo in colour and black and white. A well-crafted set of brand guidelines typically include:

  • Logo usage
  • Colour schemes
  • Typography
  • Imagery styles
  • Client avatars
  • Tone of voice
  • Brand values
  • Brand mission
  • Competitor research

It goes beyond just the visual aspects, extending to the tone of voice in written content, ensuring that all communication reflects the brand’s personality consistently. 

By establishing these standards, brand guidelines contribute to building brand recognition, trust, and a memorable identity in the minds of consumers.

Having produced thousands of brand guidelines for our online coaches, we’ve learnt that a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to defining these elements is paramount for a brand’s long-term success.

Let’s dive into the detail a bit more…

Pssst... fancy a free template?

This one is on us, just click the link below to grab your free presentation template.

How to define your brand identity 

Before diving into the visual aspects of your brand, it’s important to establish a clear brand identity. This involves defining your brand’s mission, vision, and values.

Mission: Your mission statement should encapsulate the purpose and goals of your brand. 

Vision: Your vision statement outlines your aspirations for the future.

Values: Your values represent the principles and beliefs that guide your brand’s behavior. 

By having a well-defined brand identity, you can ensure that all aspects of your brand, from your visual elements to your messaging, align with your core values and resonate with your target audience.

How to create a brand persona and voice

Your brand persona is the personality and character of your brand. It’s how you want your brand to be perceived by your audience.

Think about it…

  • Are you playful and lighthearted?
  • Serious and professional?

Understanding your brand persona helps you craft a consistent tone and voice that will be reflected in all your communications.

Your brand voice is the way you communicate with your audience. It should be consistent across all platforms, whether it’s social media, website content, or customer service interactions.

Are you formal and authoritative, or friendly and conversational?

Defining your brand voice ensures that your messaging is consistent and resonates with your target audience.

GraphFit’s Brand Persona is…

To always put humans first. Be approachable, confident in our ability, values and never shy away from showing our true personality. This combination will never fail us. This combination will consistently produce quality and authentic value for our people.

Logo and visual identity guidelines

Rather than me (Fee) wittering on here, how about we learn from our designer, Jay, on what he says your logo and visual identity guidelines should be…? 👇

Logo and visual identity guidelines involve several key considerations to ensure consistency and effectiveness across various mediums. A couple which are the most important in my opinion are:

Logo Design: Design a logo that reflects your brand’s personality and values. I’d consider simplicity, versatility, and scalability. Ensure the logo works well in different sizes and colour formats.

Graphic Elements: Define any additional graphic elements or patterns that complement your brand identity. This could include shapes, icons, or textures that reinforce your brand’s message.

Application Examples: Show examples of the logo and visual identity applied across various mediums, such as before and after templates, websites, social media, and advertising materials.

By including these elements in your logo and visual identity guidelines, you can create a cohesive and recognisable brand image that resonates with your target audience.

Typography and colour palette guidelines

When it comes to branding, typography and colour palette play a larger role than you might think. They’re actually pretty crucial in conveying your brand’s personality and values.

Typography refers to the choice of fonts and their arrangement, while the colour palette includes the colours that represent your brand.

Tone of voice and messaging guidelines

This is one that can often get overlooked. Alongside all the visual elements are your brand’s tone of voice and messaging. 

The tone of voice refers to the personality and style of your brand’s communication, while messaging refers to the content and language used to convey your brand’s values and offerings.

Clear as mud? Yeah…thought so.

Here’s Jay again to help explain the difference 👇

“Tone of voice influences how the brand is perceived by its audience, shaping relationships and emotional connections. Examples of tone of voice attributes include friendly, professional, playful, authoritative, conversational, or formal.

Messaging encompasses aspects such as brand positioning, value proposition, product features, benefits, and calls to action. Effective messaging is clear, compelling, and aligned with the brand’s overall strategy and objectives.

In summary, while tone of voice focuses on the style and manner of communication, messaging relates to the actual content and information conveyed by the brand. Both are essential components of a brand’s communication strategy and work together to create meaningful connections with the target audience.”

Consistency across channels and touchpoints

Consistency is key when it comes to building a strong brand foundation. Your brand should be instantly recognisable across all channels and touchpoints, from your website and social media profiles to your business cards, packaging and advertising.

Why is consistency important?

Consistency in branding creates a sense of trust and reliability among your audience. It helps establish a strong brand identity and makes it easier for customers to connect with your brand.

We wrote a blog all about building trust and loyalty with your audience, you can check it out here: 9 Strategies to build brand trust & loyalty with your audience >

To maintain consistency, we create a brand style guides that outline the rules and standards for using your brand’s visual and verbal elements.

3 Steps to Create Your Own Brand Guidelines

So taking in everything we’ve said so far, here’s three simple steps to create your own set of brand guidelines;

Step 1: Define your brand identity.

Step 2: Develop visual elements.

Step 3: Create usage guidelines… 👇

And you can do that by using our Brand Guidelines template right here!

Free Brand Guidelines Template

This one is on us, just click the link below to grab your free template.

Key takeaways

  • Brand guidelines are crucial for consistency both internally and externally
  • It’s worth giving them a go yourself, but we’d always advise getting the pros involved!
  • Start with your brand identity, then go from there

what's next?

  • If you’ve taken some value from this blog then please share with your own network, we’d really appreciate it
  • We’ve got more blogs to come on these topics so make sure you keep an eye on our website and socials for the heads up!
  • If you’re focusing on client retention this year then make sure you check our previous blog: How to Improve Your Client Retention Rates >

keep up to date

Thanks for reading our blog, we hope it’s offered some help in your own fitness website build. If you’ve got any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them on here or drop us an email on [email protected] and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

We’ve got more blogs for you here > Make sure you check back regularly to keep up to date with all things fitness branding. 

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