A basic brand guide provides parameters for the usage of common brand elements such as colors, typography and logos, and helps define consistency for the look and feel of a brand.

The most common reason we are asked to help create a brand guide is that brand inconsistencies are beginning to have a negative impact on a company or organization. Even the simplest of brand guides can help get your brand under control. This is especially true if many people or vendors are creating marketing materials that will be publicly facing your clients, prospects or constituents.

A basic brand guide might only be a few pages long and include the most common design elements used in marketing and design materials. Additionally, basic brand guides are usually provided as a simple 1-3 page PDF.

A basic brand guide will help establish consistency with your brand and identity.

Like many things in business, the size and complexity of a brand guide varies, but the guidelines should be clear and concise. An overly detailed and complex brand guideline can be hard to follow. For most small businesses and not-for-profits, a basic brand guide is a step in the right direction.

Here are Trillion’s recommended minimum requirements for a basic brand guide:

  • Color palette specifications (spot colors, CMYK print values, digital screen values)
  • Logo usage and safe area
  • Font usage (headlines, subheads and body text)

Here are some examples of basic brand guides we have created:
Basic Brand Guide for Olive Oil Company, Twelve Letter Company


Basic Brand Guide Example


Very Basic Brand Guide Example

Since the sophistication of brand guidelines regularly mirrors the complexity of a business’ marketing efforts, your guide may require a more intricate version. At the very least have the basics listed above because something is better than nothing.

At Trillion, we build basic brand guides for businesses and non-profit organizations which don’t require a complex system of verbal messaging and design applications. However, we are also responsible for implementing and managing the integrity of some of the most well-known brands. Some have extremely detailed guidelines to follow.

Read What Content Should be Included in a Brand Guideline to see what more complex brand guides include.

Here is an example of a moderately complex brand guide:

A moderately complex brand guide might contain as many as 10-20 pages (sometimes these are published on websites in larger organizations for easy reference by employees or vendors):

  • Color palette specifications (spot colors, CMYK print values, digital screen values)
  • Logo usage and safe area
  • Font usage (headlines, subheads and body text, bulleted lists)
  • Basic stationery design (business cards, letterhead, PowerPoint template)
  • Brand mission and vision statements
  • Brand personality
  • Logo do’s and don’ts
  • Photographic style examples
  • Email signature formatting
  • Keywords and language to be utilized in communications and marketing materials
  • Sample ads, brochures and collateral material

How to Get Started with a Basic Brand Guide

As a business and a brand grow, so will the level of detail necessary in the brand guideline. If your business is wondering how to get started, give us a call at 908.219.4703 or complete our handy contact form here. Trillion can help define what content should be included in your basic brand guide so your brand is always portrayed in the most consistent manner.