6 reasons you need a brand guideline (even if you are a startup/small business)

6 reasons you need brand guidelines. Photo of a brand guideline.

Brand guidelines establish your brand’s visual identity ensuring consistency across all marketing efforts.

Whether you work with an in-house design team, you are a DIY-er or you’re outsourcing design services to someone like me, designers can use these guidelines to keep your brand image and messaging consistent. If you are in your start-up/glow up stage and on a budget, it may feel tempting to skip this stage. I highly recommend you don’t. Showing up with consistency across all touch points is so incredibly important.


Consistency is a definitely a buzzword and one I use often. As a bit of a rebel myself, I get why you may think rules are made to be broken. So why does it matter? One statistic states: Consistent brand presentation increases that brand’s revenue by an average of 23%

One of the main purposes of your brand is to be memorable. While you think your product/service is unforgettable, think of how much content you view on a daily basis. It is no different for your target market and clients. I have learned it often takes between 5-7 brand impressions for a customer to remember your brand. This doesn’t even consider how many impressions it may take to convert a paying customer.

So picture this – every time people see your brand you are using a new font or a different color palette? While it may also be confusing, it more importantly will be harder to be memorable. If you want to get those 5-7 impressions in quicker and as low-cost as possible, stay consistent.


When your brand identity is cohesive, it helps you appear more professional. This increases the likelihood your customers will invest in your product/services. Having the same visual baseline across your marketing pieces will assure everyone interacting with your brand that you are trustworthy.


There are many ways to interpret a brand if you do not have guidelines established. Having a clear guide of how to implement y our brand assets, fonts, colors and message will result in a unified message output that makes it clear who your brand is speaking to. This will lead to attracting the customers you want, which will lead to more money for you!


We all think we have great taste. I know I do 😉 However everyone’s idea of what looks good varies from person to person. One designer may want to go one direction, while a different designer may go the opposite way. If you do not have brand guidelines established, this leaves a lot of room for confusion and the ability for designers to apply their own style to it. If you’ve invested in a designer the last thing you want is the collateral they produce to be off-brand for you.

Your brand needs rules so everyone interacting with your brand knows how to execute designs and marketing pieces effectively.  Having guidelines means that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, but actually in a clearly outlined brand guideline document.


As a business owner, I understand over time and often in moments where I am sitting still for too long, it can be tempting to make changes and try to make some tweaks here and there. This is where we return to the importance of consistency. Showing customers the same brand image again and again will help you become memorable. That being said, there comes a point where a brand refresh is overdue. I recommend connecting with me for a free consultation to discus creating a new brand image and guideline for you.


If you are part of a team or have other people involved in your brand decisions, chances are you may have disagreements here and there. When you have an established brand guideline in place – from your email signatures, social media marketing pieces, investor presentation deck designs, etc. you can avoid any disagreement on how these should look. This will save time and energy on deciding “what looks best” without any drama.


After all those points, I do believe brands should also be able to take some risks, try new things and see what resonates with their audience. That being said, you should always know where “home” aka your brand guidelines are.

All this to say – brand guidelines are essential. That being said, you do not need a gigantic 100-page document defining each tiny bit and piece. Sometimes my clients just need a simple sheet highlighting their logo, sub-marks, icons, fonts and color palettes. Other times I will go more in-depth with a brand vision, case study and all the brand assets. The best part is, these can all evolve as your business does.

I’d love to talk with you more on brand guidelines and how to create one for you and your business.

designed by kelly brito