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What is a brand book?
When do you start your brand book?
Why a brand book?
Who is it for?
What to include?
7 Awesome Thoughts to get you started
*ok, yes. It can be digital too. But we prefer the
permanence of a tangible object. Read on to see why.
A Brand book is…
A physical document* used to illustrate the thinking
behind, and use of, the brand and brand identity.
Inform why choices were made
Instruct how to use the brand
Inspire with our great brand!
And (most importantly), to
Protect the investments
you made into this brand
When to start
The vision, mission, values, and overall brand strategy
The logo, the fonts, the look and feel, and a
basic idea of how it will be applied across
A single resource/document where
written and visual identities can be
The brand book is a vital part of the brand creation process; the
culmination of the brand strategy and design. As such, the process
of creating a brand book begins at the very beginning, when you
start thinking of what you want your brand to be and say.
At this point, you should also begin thinking of how you want to
present the information and in what format.
Who it is for
Any or all of the following…
In order to select the correct content, we
need to know our audience and what we
want them to take from this document.
to bring them
up to speed
to help in
to use as a
To keep us focused
What to include
‘Permanent’ elements of the brand
which will not change or alter over
time. For instance…
Current campaigns or guidelines for
speciﬁc executions which may be
altered over time. For instance…
Elements which are not part of the
brand, but part of the book itself.
Motivational text/letter from CEO
Why this book?
Visual identity (meaning, elements,
…anything else to inspire and inform!
Packaging (primary and secondary)
TV (ATL) communication
Internal collateral materials
…anything else on which our identity is
The content is generally divided into 3 types. Permanent (ie. Core
brand information), Modular (current executions), and Introduction
(document fundamentals). It is recommended that modular sections
of the book be in a removable format for periodic updating
These content suggestions
are given as inspiration only,
as actual content would be
decided based on available
m a t e r i a l s a n d t a r g e t
audience of the brand book.
Introduction: Explaining who made the book, why, and how to use the contents
History: Always an interesting way to start the document. Provides context and
the feeling of being part of a larger picture
Brand Positioning: Explaining the basic positioning of the brand. This can be
done through text, chart, or visually through a moodboard
Target audience: if not part of the positioning, the ‘world’ of the target consumer
should be brought to life, ideally through text and pictures
Visual Identity: Explaining the elements of and usage of the visual identity. This is
not a set of guidelines, however, but an overview of the component parts and
how they work to fulﬁll the positioning of the brand.
Touchpoint Examples: Showcasing some of the current examples of the brand
and its use in real life.
The following sections should –at the very minimum –
be in every brand book!
What to include
7 awesome thoughts
to get you started creating a brand book
for your organization
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s get down to some
of the more intangible knowledge about brand books you should
understand before starting your own brand book project.
When you start your brand book, you will likely have some materials
prepared; you will be waiting for others to be ﬁnished; yet more will need
to be found and gathered; and ﬁnally, you will need some materials you
hadn't even considered making yet. Having the right process in place to
ensure you know what you need, when you’ll need it, and how you’ll get
it is the difference between an efficient exercise and an exercise in
1. Process Matters
Creating the brand book is as much a collaborative process as creation of the brand itself. The client and
each agency involved have something of value to offer and will want to have some say in how relevant
information gets portrayed in the brand book. There should be room in the brand book creation process to
ensure that every stakeholder is able to provide the most valuable inputs and insight.
2. A brand book is a collaboration
There is no one-size-ﬁts-all brand book. Depending on your audience and the purpose of your book,
you may need a different approach or a different output altogether. Is your book primarily for on-
boarding members of the marketing team? Then you'll want to devote extra space to values and
positioning of the brand. Is your book mainly to provide rules, standards, and practices for agencies?
Then you'll need to tailor the structure of the book for them. There are as many ways to approach
brand books as there are brands!
3. Content is related to purpose and audience
The bene+ brand book was created
with partner retailers in mind, so
much attention was given to regional
trends and opportunities for the
The Comet toolkit was created
primarily for the P&G sales and
implementation teams to
effectively manage the brand in-
The Fernet brand world was
created for the marketing team and
agencies to be quickly brought up
to speed on the look and feel of this
It’s not just content which is ﬂexible in brand books. The structure, format, and
materials can also be used as tools to effectively get your message across. Sending
the book to hundreds of agencies world-wide? You may need a digital format or a
PDF. Or how about an interactive online brand info-center? Need to impress people
who come to your office? Then what's more impressive than a highly-detailed,
leather-bound coffee table book?
4. Form is related to function
Don't think of brand book creation as simply collecting data and storing it in one convenient place
(even though it is that, too). The brand book is the one piece of branded material where the full
brand identity will be on display - meaning the written identity and the visual identity are both there,
side-by-side for all to see. The brand book is the brand identity. This is the best opportunity you'll
ever have to inspire people with what a great brand you've got. The book should be a canvas for
telling your brand story!
5. Opportunity to Inspire
Nothing has the power to anchor your brand like a well-designed brand book which people can
pick up, hold in their hands, study, or casually browse. In spite of the hemming and hawing,
budget worrying, resource, haggling, and general fretting over creating something that
consumers will never see, the need for the brand book always becomes apparent once it has
been created and people see what has been done. The brand book is the object that showcases
the work of the identity team and agencies for the rest of the company.
6. Seeing is believing.
The brand book is a celebration of what you've accomplished as a client/agency collaboration.
It is a celebration of what you've accomplished as an identity team. It is an testament of your
work and a chance to share that work with the rest of the organization. You should create an
opportunity, with the launch of this brand book, to celebrate all that you've done, putting a ﬁnal
'full-stop' on the work so the all important phase of roll-out and brand maintenance can begin.
Thank you for your attention!
Brand book image sources
Slide 3: Alt Group
Slide 10: Mountain Design
Slide 11: Cocoon Group
Slide 12: Cocoon Group
Slide 13: Dept of energy
Slide 14: Dept of energy, Design Thinkers, Unreal, Boxing Clever
Slide 15: 2br
Slide 16: Cocoon Group
For brand consultancy advice or
creation of your brand book, please
business development director
+420 602 762 242
+420 222 998 503