A brand guide is a manual that explains and usually also shows how a brand is to be expressed verbally and visually when you are creating sales, marketing, and other materials on behalf of a brand.
The purpose of this is to give everyone whose job it is to create these materials specific, easy-to-follow guidance so that, (a) all materials produced for a brand have a consistent look, feel, and attitude, and (b) all materials are adhering to the copyrights and trademarks for the brand that the organization has most likely paid a lot of money to create, use, and protect.
Elements that are generally covered in a brand guide — often also called a Brand Standards Manual — typically include:
- The Brand Strategy (which often also includes information about the market that brand competes in and how they differentiate their brand)
- Vision and Mission Statements
- The Brand Architecture (detailing the umbrella brand and the sub-brands under it)
- The Brand Position, including the positioning line/tagline
- Trademark Usage, depicted both verbally and visually
- Ad, Brochure, Flyer, Web Page and Other Layouts, Grids, Design Elements, etc. — including examples in numerous sizes and shapes
- Brand Colors, including PMS, RGB, CMYK and other formats
- The Brand Logo(s), including media variations, clearances, and more
- Brand Fonts — primary and secondary, online and offline
- Brand Voice — tone, manor, and how the brand is to be talked about
- Sample TV and Radio Scripts/Storyboards
…and the list goes on.