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A brand board is a short and easy-to-read guide, that includes the most important visual elements of your brand. It usually includes your logo with its variations, brand colours, typography, and other graphic elements.
In this post, I’ll dive into more details and explain to you why it’s a must-have for your business and how to create one easily. The best way to start is by downloading my free Basic Brand Board Template from the resource library.
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Creating a brand is a big job. It is also fun and exciting, but keeping it consistent is the real challenge. Every time you use a new tool for creating materials or you add a new page to your WordPress, Wix or Squarespace site you have to be sure it’s in line with everything else. And it can be a challenge. Especially once your business starts to grow and you start to create more and more branded assets. Clicking back and forth between tabs and examining sections over and over (and over) again is frustrating, to say the least.
As mentioned in the intro, a brand board is a short and easy-to-read guide. Which means it has all the basic information you need in one glance. No more running after colours and font sizes! Just one doc and you have it all. How cool is that!?
Another great reason is if you’re working with someone else. Let’s say at some point you hire a web developer or a designer. Or your friend offers you some help with those social media posts. All you have to do is to send this one doc.
Honestly, it depends on you and your business. In general, I’d suggest the following elements, that will cover you just fine: Logo and logo variations (including favicons), colour palette, fonts, icon style, patterns and graphic elements, inspiration.
Feel free to include any other elements, that you find useful and you often use, but don’t forget that the goal is to have an easy-to-read-guide, not a complete branding guide. (I’ll explain the difference at the end of this article.)
Also, delete any sections that don’t make any sense for you. It’s not high school homework, where you have to answer all the questions. Fill what you find useful, and lose what you don’t neeed.
Your main logo is what you display on the website, business card, materials, etc. The name is pretty self-explanatory.
Logo variations can be a different colour, orientation, background or a simplified version. I also like to include the favicon – also known as a shortcut or tab icon – which is the small icon that you can see on the browser tab. In my case it’s the “R” in the blue circle. It can be the main logo, one of the logo variations or a mutation of the main logo just for this use.
Your colour palette will define the look and vibe of your brand. It’s not just the colour of your logo, but all the others that will be used on your website or stationery. In this “Mountain Tours” example, I created a palette, that is associated with nature and has a fresh and young vibe. (Forest and grass green with sky blue and a little sunrise yellow.)
Make sure to always include the hex codes, that is used online to define a colour. If you often have printed materials or have an office you want to brand it might worth to add CMYK and Pantone values too.
Your fonts will be used all the time, so make sure it is included. Even if you stick with Arial or Times New Roman – although, there are more interesting fonts out there – include them in your brand board.
If your font is something not available in PPT or Word by default it’s wise to have an alternative, like Verdana. You can install custom fonts to most tools, but better be prepared.
Do you have a brand palette? Show your colours to us on social media!
This is where you can change the template according to your taste. I like to include the following three elements: icon style, patterns and graphic elements, inspiration.
Icon style comes really handy if you often use icons or refer to your social media platforms. In some cases, all you can do is pick from a pre-selected list, but in most cases, you can customise it a bit more. Do you prefer to use square or circular ones? Original colours or one of your brand colours? Make this visual note for yourself!
Patterns and graphic elements can be dots, circles, images, that you often use as a decoration or background image. For my BiteSize Marketing series, I started to use circles and “shapeless splashes”, which I try to incorporate every time I refer to that series.
And finally, under inspiration, you can add images that represent your brand’s style and can be used on your social media or website. The purpose of this section is to give you a reference point so when you’re browsing images you can easily pick the ones that fit to your image. (If you’re looking for free stock photos, I have 10 great recommendations for you.)
It’s important to understand, that a brand board is not the same as a branding or creative guide. The latter is usually a multi-page document, that includes detailed instruction on how to use your brand elements, like how much spacing a logo should have around it, how you can use it next to a partner’s logo or what backgrounds your logo can and can’t be used on.
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Hi, I’m Reka,
I’m here to help you grow your business and thrive in your carreer.