20 inspiring branding guides

One of the most important things about creating a brand is making sure everything is cohesive. Once a brand pinpoints their values and how they’d like to be perceived, they have to make sure all their touchpoints refer back to these values.

What’s of extreme importance is the look of a brand. In order to make sure this stays fairly consistent, brands should have corporate identity guides or brand style guides. These typically go over the do’s and don’ts of using a logo and also shares the colors of the brand as well as other things.

Why are these important? Think of a world where the Target bullseye is purple; you’d be very confused. What if McDonald’s Golden Arches were even just a pale yellow? Brand style guides help to maintain a consistent look so that consumers and employees understand the brand. These guides help create uniformity and take a business from being just a company, to becoming a brand.

Today, we are going to show you some identity guides from the past and present that really show how important it is to be precise and clear and in your brand’s look. Many of these go over more than just the visuals and include the values of the brand. This is important because you’ll notice how many of them relate their values back to their logo and colors. Identity guides are truly important when brand building, so let’s jump right in and see some great examples.


United Way









It Starts in Parks



NYC Food and Wine Festival






New York University






Google Visual Assets Guidelines

Google Visual Assets Guidelines - Part 1 on Behance


University of Illinois 



Hanes Corporation Brand Identity Manual



Swedish Armed Forces Brand Manual



Lloyd’s Brand Manual



BAE Systems Brand Identity Manual






Macmillian Cancer Support



Channel 4 Identity Style Guide



Skype Brand Book



Walmart Brand Guidelines



How important do you think it is to have a style guideline?

  • http://www.creativebeacon.com/ James George

    Thanks for this Kendra! This is really inspiring and makes me glad I go through the steps of creating these types of guides for the companies I design for.

  • laurafischer

    I love being able to find these easily when having to place industry affiliations on a website.

  • Bianca Board

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve not seen so many great examples. I so ought to get something together for my Web123 ProPartner site, would make it a lot easier to keep my designs consistent.

  • orange county web designer

    Really interesting article. Will use this as guidelines and reminder for my own work. Thanks for the read and resources.

  • Ginger Creswell

    I really like these clear, simple guides for each company logo.

  • http://www.inverselogix.com/ Hemanth Malli

    Thanks for the helpful guidelines for creating a brand. You made this simple !!

  • Vhin Manansala

    Thanks for this one Kendra. It really helps to have a documentation for the logo in what styles to be used for branding. Sometimes, clients tend to do some drastic changes without considering the concepts used for their logo

  • Adam Jessop

    Also worth checking out the BBC ‘Global Experience Language’ guide. You can see it at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gel

  • Peter Hahn

    Thanks for the shout out, Kendra! If you want to know how important our guidelines are, you only need to see the way things used to look. It was a nightmare.

    It’s worth noting that just having guidelines does not guarantee consistency. Enforcement and technical assistance are ongoing, and we still see a lot of violations.I encourage brand managers to think about partners and news outlets that often have logos on file. We’re still seeing the original Saul Bass helping hand out there but it’s usually a partner with good intentions.

    Pete Hahn, Former Creative Director, Current VP, Strategic Communications, United Way Worldwide

  • http://maximumwebpresence.com Traci

    Love, Love, Love this website! Great article and tips. Some factors here I will consider from this point forward. Thank you for taking the time.

  • http://www.ashleyhauck.com Ashley Hauck

    This is really interesting, and will be really useful as we’re launching a new branding campaign at work. Thank you! :)

  • http://www.yourauthenticweb.com/ Corey Alexander

    Very nice examples. I just wrapped up a branding guide for a client and wish I had seen some of these beforehand.