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Three takeaways:

  • Brand Guidelines help to ensure brand consistency and build brand equity.
  • They also provide external creative teams a toolkit of your brand elements, which is critical in developing best-in-class work.
  • Having Brand Guidelines can prevent costly errors, reprints and missing deadlines, saving time and money.

Providing these creative assets will help ensure that your DM marketing efforts and production schedules are met.

In a digital-centric world, many small businesses and startups have limited resources, with in-house design teams focused on developing and executing the company’s online presence. And because these teams are so focused on execution, they often haven’t had a chance to develop brand guidelines, which are essential when working with external creative or digital marketing agencies to maintain the brand’s look and feel.

There have definitely been times where—upon kicking off a project—we received brand colors in hex formats (vibrant colors that may look great on screen but don’t necessarily work in print), or low-res PNG logo files that are not effective for offset or digital printing.

In these cases we are challenged on two levels: the clock is ticking on a very production-specific channel, and we’re spending time having to match and convert colors to CMYK and use low-res FPO logos until we can track down art from the client instead of developing best-in-class work.

The other challenge is that a lack of brand elements makes it difficult to build brand equity: establishing—or maintaining— a cohesive look, voice, and promise across all channels. They are particularly important when working with external partners to ensure a consistent brand look and feel, as these partners aren’t in the weeds like an in-house team, and the quality and consistency of their work is strongly based on the info they receive from you.

Basic components that make up Brand Guidelines include:

  • Company logo (and its usage in different applications)
  • Primary and secondary brand colors
  • Brand typography (specify fonts and usage in headlines and body copy)
  • Photography examples
  • Illustration/Iconography
  • Voice and Tone
  • Examples of brand in use digital + print

In addition to brand guidelines, it’s also important to create an omni-channel toolkit that you can share with outside vendors that includes assets for both print and digital, including:

  • Your logo (in color, black and white versions each in jpg, eps (vector) and png formats
  • Fonts that are associated with your brand
  • Icons, photography or illustrations that apply to the materials being produced

Bottom line: the more brand assets you can provide to external creative teams, the more cohesive the work will be with other marketing materials, and the more on-time your DM efforts will be. And Brand Guidelines can be more than just a tool for designers—they can also be used company-wide as a way for employees to better understand and represent their brand.

Ready to put your brand to work in direct mail marketing? Reach out today and let’s talk about how we can help deliver results!

With over 15 years of experience in creative direction, photo art direction and design management. Tara has in-depth knowledge of the creative process from concept to final production. She is a collaborative leader who knows how to guide a creative team to deliver extraordinary results for our clients.