The beginner’s guide to content creation
Design. - 9 minute read
Design. - 9 minute read
A minimalist brand doesn’t mean minimalistic guidelines, and these guys are the perfect example. Faithful to its simplistic roots, Ikea has a great knack for emphasizing consistency through detailed guidelines, and none of the fluff.
We like these guidelines for the TL;DR page at the beginning: short, concise, and completely on-brand as FedEx focuses on not wasting anyone’s time. They provide clear and comprehensive guidelines, without any frills. The World On Time, indeed. Kudos!
For a startup with the tagline “where words matter”, it may seem on the nose to make a branding guideline that focuses on typography, but no one can deny that it has really worked for them. Anyone who’s spent any amount of time surfing content on Medium can recognize their characteristic font from a mile away – which is a major win in our branding books.
These branding guidelines are achingly simple and keep the focus on the music – exactly where Spotify needs to be. They have the standard, “don’t smoosh our logo” and “don’t muck about with our color scheme” guidelines, which is fairly standard in a branding guideline, but they also zero-in on the use of cover art and artist meta-data, which makes these guidelines something to behold.
The folks at WhatsApp did a great job of introducing an FAQ section in their guidelines, which is an effective and reader-friendly way to ensure brand consistency. It lets people surf through the content to find what they’re really after, as opposed to making them read the entire book. That, it turns out, can be really handy if you’re a bit like us, and you tend to wax poetic with a Shakespeare monologue’s worth of information to share!
Luxury brands have brand guidelines just like startups do, and if you’re looking to position yourself in a luxury market, guidelines that strike a diva pose can be an important part of the brand itself. Kate Spade is a great example: a bold guideline that mimics the line itself in terms of color, and fabric. In fact, it even spells out the type and weight of paper you should use! Couture Guidelines if we’ve ever seen them.
It may seem like a weird inclusion, but the Canadian Olympic Team branding guidelines provide a great example of how to tailor your branding guidelines to your target audience. In Canada, that means being bilingual. Bilingual copywriting can be a bit of a tough nut to crack, but these guidelines nail it. And as a Canadian myself, I can’t help but be a little proud.
Speaking of weird inclusions, Jamie Oliver may seem like an odd guy to have his own brand, but given his many product lines and his career as a tv personality, it actually makes incredibly good business sense, which is why he’s used in several examples of good branding guidelines. We love the simple focus on his values and personality, so consider us one of the crowd on this one.
The branding guidelines for Skype are a perfect example of how to get your point across without actually beating people over the head with it, or making them fall asleep in the process. Their illustrated, comic-book approach is clever, clear, and concise – just how we love it.
Beyond the fact that we’re in love with their adorable multi-faceted mascot Freddie, this is a great example of a company that uses a conversational tone in everything they do, and are truly connected to their everyday consumer. The use of the navigation bar down the left, including the handy-dandy TL;DR link that gives you the boiled-down content, are a great addition. Plus, their sense of humor throughout the guide makes this anything but a dull read. Full points for style!
As you can imagine, as one of the most widely recognized brands on the market, Starbucks has some hefty brand guidelines for the use of their logo, images, and company name. What we like about these guidelines though is that they also incorporate their business promise and what you can expect from being a brand partner with them. In a unique show of corporate compassion, they even thank you for taking the time to give branding compliance a shot, acknowledging that their guidelines are extensive, but that they’re willing to help you every step of the way. That’s a great way to ensure loyalty and consistency!
Aha – another iconic Canadian brand! This time though, we’d like to use this brand as a bit of a cautionary tale. Before the sale of Tim Horton’s to Restaurant Brands International (RBI), the Tim Horton’s brand seemed untouchable. Since then, there’s been a rapid updating of branding guidelines, including a fresh new update for the physical locations – and it seems they may have strayed too far from the path. According to a recent article in MacLean’s magazine, their standings in terms of brand trust have fallen from #1 as recently as 2015, to a painful #203.
Here’s a brand that’s not only colorful but really well written. They provide plenty of grids and pictures to flesh out all of those details Type A people (shudder) love to go on about. Simply put – their branding kung fu is strong.
So there you have it, some of the strongest brands in popular memory and some concrete examples to Mr. Miagi you right into your own Karate Kid moment – designing your own branding guidelines that will absolutely slay.