Digital marketing

What Is A Brand Identity Manual And What Should It Include?

Learn the importance of the identity manual and the differences between brand book, identity guidelines and brand guidelines

The design of a brand identity is not static, it is not enough to create it once and forget about how it might be used in the future. Brands and businesses are constantly making new content that needs to be fit under the same line and criteria as what went before it. This is where the importance of having an identity manual lies. They serve as a reference for the basic rules on the correct use of the company's image.

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Identity manual, Nike

What is an identity manual?

An identity manual is a document, which can be printed or digital, where a set of rules or visual guidelines for a brand are compiled. The manual describes the use of all graphic signs and their possible variations such as color, size, typographies, iconography, patterns, and textures associated with a brand.

The manual also often includes graphic examples of the correct and incorrect use of the brand, logo and its components. It doesn’t just explain the specific use of each element though, it also makes clear what not to do: incorrect angles, rotations, distorting the typography, the use of the logo on a background, etc.

What should an identity manual include?

All identity manuals should have six elements:

- Content table: a small, highly functional list of the document’s content.

- Introduction: brief summary to give the reader context as to the manual’s objective.

- Standards: it should be an explicit reference as to the construction and implementation of the company’s graphic branding.

- Identity: it should include elements and resources that help the logo achieve powerful branding.

- Applications: it should explain every way the brand’s designs can be used, from stationery, signage, merchandise, iconography, etc.

- Glossary: definitions of graphic design terms that have been used in the manual and a reader might not be familiar with.

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Brand book, Edge

What is the difference between 'brand book', 'identity guidelines' and 'brand guidelines'

The brand book does not include guidelines or rules, nor does it specify what is right or wrong, nor applications or technical language, much less instructions for use. It is the editorial personification of the brand; its objective is to project its essence, to inspire in a simple, easy and didactic way. It is usually aimed at employees, customers, partners or investors so that they understand the brand and become part of it.

The identity guidelines are the corporate identity manual; they include rules and guidelines for consistent and coherent brand management.

The brand guidelines are the combination of both documents together.

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Identity manual, Adidas NMD

In the Domestika course Creation of a Corporate Identity Manual, David Espinosa will explain everything necessary to understand and create your own identity manual, considering all the peculiarities that can come up with each project.

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