Brand guide for Clearly Business, by The One Off

A brand guide is an essential tool for companies who aim to present a cohesive, consistent, and professional face to the world. A company’s brand guide acts as its visual communications “map” over the years, and also as documentation of the brand’s history as it evolves (as every good brand should!).

Elements of Style

Brand guides range from simple, single-page style overviews to full novel-length brand “bibles,” which can get really detailed. Generally speaking, they all draw from the following to document proper guidelines for basic brand elements:

  • Brand Overview – this can include the company mission, tagline, vision, and general personality
  • Logo – usage, placement, versions, unacceptable applications and modifications
  • Typography – for print and web, headline and body copy hierarchies, etc.
  • Colors – ideally with RBB/CMYK/Hex/Pantone values, usually including a primary (core) and secondary (accent) palette
  • Imagery – the style for all stock and/or custom photography, graphics, illustrations, and/or icons
  • Brand “Voice” – writing styles samples for the brand, including key words, as well as buzzwords to avoid
  • Visual Examples to support each guideline included

(If you want to see an example of a really comprehensive brand guide, check out Adobe’s guide. And here’s an example of a nice minimalist single-page style guide.)

Make it beautiful, not boring

While a brand guide is a “rules” document, it doesn’t have to be boring. It’s actually a prime opportunity to show your beautiful brand in action. These pages from a few exemplary and creative brand guides show it can be fun to follow the rules:

black watch global by mash

Black Watch Global by Mash Creative


KAE by Socio

KAE by SocioDesign


Yelo by The Apt

Yelo Spa by The Apartment


naomi by tractorbeam

Naomi by Tractorbeam


nike by jeffrey docherty

Nike by Jeffrey Docherty


So, are you inspired to update (or maybe create for the first time) your company’s brand guide?