How do you align a team around using brand assets properly? After you or your contractor have spent a significant amount of resources crafting the visual identity of your company, it is only logical to come up with a set of guidelines that ensure the assets you’ve created are preserved and used effectively. And that’s exactly what a strong brand style guide does: present rules and advice that anyone working with your brand’s assets can follow to make sure the identity is communicated cohesively. Throughout this article, I’ll introduce 30 great examples of brand style guides, also called guidelines, brand books, or brand manuals.
Marvel Style Guide
Marvel makes design, prototyping, and collaboration easier for designers. As a web-focused company, their brand requires detailed digital specifications that are covered in this always up-to-date style guide.
Expressive, fresh, and intentional — these guidelines are just like Jamie Oliver’s cooking philosophy.
Another web-first style guide, Shopify’s is fully integrated with their proprietary product component library: Polaris.
It’s hard to believe that these futuristic brand guidelines were created in 1975. Nasa’s brand book remains an inspiration for designers of all ages and skill levels.
Moreso than other types of companies, airlines must embrace diversity and flexibility in their brand communications. There are so many potential identity applications, going from napkins to full-sized airplanes, that every design choice is particularly challenging — therefore that much more exciting.
When your brand houses millions of creatives’ photos and designs, you want to make sure the user experience remains clear, unobtrusive, and consistent. That is exactly what Instagram’s public-facing brand guidelines try to preserve: cohesion.
It’s always exciting to take on branding projects where there’s a rich legacy to pull inspiration from. Such is the case of Bacardi Rum, where Here Design relied on the original founding family’s history to propose a set of iconic symbols and robust guidelines.
City of Toledo
How do you go about sourcing colors for a city brand? For the team behind City of Toledo, the answer was fine art. Distinctive painters like The Greco can be a great starting point for color studies, and these guidelines show what such a process might look like.
Barneys New York is one of the most iconic fashion retailers in the United States, and these brand guidelines do a great job of presenting that position to anyone working with the company for the first or hundredth time.
Inspired by the founder’s handwriting, the team behind the Glenfiddich brand created “Founder’s Script”, a custom font that embodies dynamism, imagination, innovation, and confidence — traits they also attribute to the company and product. These brand guidelines excel at explaining how that custom type family is used.
Ben & Jerry’s
What makes Ben & Jerry’s guidelines particularly interesting is how they deal with cohesion around hand-drawn assets. Many of their icons, fonts, and imagery choices rely on a handwritten aesthetic that can be hard to maintain.
Asana’s style guide goes beyond a set of instructions and becomes a complete kit to portray the brand effectively. An outstanding aspect is how they infuse these seemingly internal documents with a casual voice that fits their brand personality. Case in point: “We call the space around our logo the red zone. Please don’t put stuff in it.”
Fifa, as a brand, has its own corporate guidelines, but how do you go about preserving an event’s visual cohesion? The Fifa World Cup™ is undoubtedly one of the largest, if not the largest, sports events on Earth. These guidelines address the challenge of communicating it uniformly.
Brands emphasize different aspects of their visual identity depending on how much they relate to their business core. For Medium, a platform that redesigned the online reading experience, the pressure is on to elevate typography and uphold superior layout standards. This style guide is the result of that effort.
Being everyone’s best friend on weekends is no easy feat — one has to dress the part. In their own words, “with the arc of a vintage CinemaScope and the signature Netflix red, (their) wordmark is iconic.” And so are these guidelines.
WeWork presented “We Work Here” as a brand promise in these guidelines. They define that expression’s meaning thoroughly in the context of the brand’s signage, spaces, and personality.
A simple way to share the story of your brand’s narrative, visual symbols, and voice is to create a “Brand Poster” like this one from the Red Cross. It summarizes key points so that team members and partners can quickly refer to them when needed.
Simple, magnetic, and definitive are just some of the words Fandango uses to define its brand voice. A great style guide reference if your product/service must convey a unique personality.
Brands in the hospitality industry provide a unique opportunity to go for vibrant photography and innovative materials. With this strong style guide, Macaroni Grill makes sure its brand not only tastes but looks delicious.
The New School
Being a design school means observers will hold you to higher visual standards. The New School’s “DIY Services” section is a great resource to guarantee that brand material is cohesive no matter where it’s coming from: both in-house and external staff can download all kinds of visual assets to streamline their workflow.
In yet another example of contemporary design inspired by a brand’s legacy, Yale created a custom typeface that reflects its original values and identity. This online guide shows how to properly use the type family in conjunction with color and supporting imagery.
“Canada is intriguing and refreshingly different from what you would expect,” and the destination’s brand guidelines had to reflect just that.
Like the rest of the design industry, fashion comes with a set of high expectations. Kate Spade designed a brand book that’s full of vibrant moodboards, bold quotes, and inspiring imagery throughout.
Running over 3,000 websites requires adhering to a robust, yet flexible set of rules that present your brand in the most cohesive way possible. Such was the challenge that FIU set out to resolve with this digital style guide.
Children’s Cancer Institute
Cause marketing has become very popular in the last decade, given the democratization of communication channels and novel ways to engage audiences with initiatives like crowdfunding. Understanding this, the Children’s Cancer Institute created a dynamic guide full of graphic style examples and useful applications.
Montreal Olympic Park
After the 1976 Olympics, Montreal was left with an amazing park that became a tourist attraction in its own right. This playful brand book captures the lively, colorful identity of a location that welcomes visitors from all over the world.
Energetic layouts, patterns, and textures make this set of guidelines especially attractive. Campus is Google’s global network of coworking spaces, and this visual identity had to reflect the intense level of creative activity within their premises.
BBC Stories is the brand’s youthful, social-first video format. This active set of symbols enable the brand to capture attention and social shares.
Saint Louis University
Further proof that higher education brands can look formal without presenting a boring or bland identity system.
Another classic, this original New York City Transit Authority style guide is a must-see for any branding enthusiast. It beautifully displays all kinds of graphic standards for brand applications unique to the New York Metro.