Brand Guidelines in the World of Digital Era

Great brands get instantly recognized by customers and have great recall
How is that possible?


A well-thought out brand guideline and style guide are the answer.

An array of extraordinary logos, color palettes, a comprehensive brand guideline and style guide focused on print media is a delight to any designer, but may not be for the “Digital Designer”.

If brands do include any information on digital brand guidelines, it is usually a short extract from the guidelines developed for the print media and something out-of-sync with the requirements of the digital era.

Many brands developed these guidelines before digital, so it isn’t surprising that these guidelines don’t match the required flexibility to represent their brands online. It’s even more surprising that modern companies are failing to place digital at the core of their brand or visual language.

Many companies claim to have embraced digital components for their business identity or commercial success; however, offering brand touch points in order to engage customers and give them the best brand experience is often unprioritized or entirely overlooked

Creating a robust digital brand guideline and style guide will essentially begin with a great mission statement, which is the brand’s promise & its personality. This aids the user to gain the understanding of what the company stands for and create a context for visuals that follow.

Learning and building on these will help you to build a successful brand guideline in the digital era.

Motion graphics and animation are the visually appealing and emotionally animated personality of your brand

Imagery is an area of focus of your image’s scalability and responsiveness across platforms.

The icon should be scalable and clear; it is functional and exists for a purpose, don’t over-style them.

The Logo with a summary of what it represents, compositions, sizing, mandatory space with proper and incorrect usage examples (Dos and Don’ts)

Typography which may consist of various typefaces for print, web, and which is often composed for more than one typeface. Typography renders across different screens. brand font should be in all weights and sizes

Accessibility the contrast level is critical for reading through all platforms and users.

Languages varying word lengths in various languages, different character set. Does your brand font allow this?

Brand colors which can be divided into secondary and primary palettes with technical guidelines (Pantone, RGB, CMYK values).

Applications which showcase how these components are placed and work together, a brand examples like advertising, stationary, web use, social media, etc.

Channel mobile, print, web, TV every device has its strengths. Take into account how the company blends into them all.

Few examples of style guides that include Google, Microsoft, Mi, Trip Advisor and many others are available online.

Branding Agencies Lack Digital Specialization.

We have seen agencies are still doing traditional and print-focused activities to define their visual identity, especially agencies who have failed to concede that digital presence is worth investing in.

Digital is a channel to interact, and how interactive a brand is as critical as how it looks. Very few brand agencies have designers expertized for digital. The branding these branding agencies create fail to take into account different aspects of various digital platforms and how it might impact the brand presentation.

Digital Brand Guidelines are difficult to draw up

The realty of designing a digital brand guideline is complex and time-consuming. Each device has its own set of resolutions, limitations, sizes, input method. They all add restrictions that may seem to restrict creativity.

But in the digital era where it’s about engagement and interaction on digital platforms, brands can no longer ignore them for the absence of digital brand guideline.  Digital designers may play an important role in reorienting, reinventing, and redesigning the brand for digital use.

Designers may help to reorient and record the brand in the future for digital use, if already approved, it’s a disorganized use of your budget. Most brands have online presence by neglecting to recognize digital from the beginning

The Future

Rather than consummation with different sets of digital brand guidelines, have a print focused guideline accessible from web page too. This way you can safeguard the central point for accessing this information, which can be updated as required

Keeping this in consideration while you work with new client, you may ask for a link to its digital brand guideline and a style guide containing the basic rules, snippets, digital assets.  No business wants to mislead the audience with its brand image. The first step to effective branding is to develop a professional style guide.