A brand style guide is the essential tool for businesses that gives clear guidelines on how to communicate a brand effectively. It details the style, voice and the intended audience of a company that ensures consistency across all their communication channels.

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Who benefits from a brand style guide, you ask? Almost all sections of a company can benefit, starting from its developer team through to the marketing and creative departments. As a whole, the company needs to be across what’s accepted and what’s not accepted when representing their brand to outside audience, and a brand style guide can help make those rules clearer.

But while a brand style guide carries such responsibility, it need not be boring. Over the years, we’ve seen a wide variety of the standard brand style guide that don’t compromise their ultimate objective to inform. Some stay true to the company’s branding by decorating its pages with the brand’s color theme, and others display key inspirational images to reiterate the company’s vision and mission.

best brand guidelines

Whatever the choice is, there is a brand style guide for everyone! Here are the 30 best brand style guides and why they work so well:

Use an inspirational image as your brand guide focal point

Sometimes an eye-catching brand guide doesn’t need much. Some brand style guides use key inspirational images to reiterate the brand’s voice and theme.

Think about the images you may have collected at the beginning of the design process—these could be key images that either you found yourself or your client shared with you. Use these images to help you tell the story of the brand.

One way to incorporate such an image is by using it as striking background for some pages of your brand guide. This helps anchor the important pages to the audience so they always know where they’re at in the brand guide:

TRUTH. brand style guide
truth.’s brand style guide uses on-brand images as the background of certain pages to mark their importance. For example, the brand guide’s section titles are marked with the background images and the content page does not. Via MashCreative®.
This brand guide for Three Ants Communications effectively uses the image of tall buildings as background of the brand’s logo for a strong finish to the overall reading experience. By orangejuice.


NISSI brand style guide
Using the island image as background to the brand logo and the four key themes pull it all together. NISSI brand style guide by Asha7.

Alternatively, a focal image can be used as an effective highlight of what the particular brand is all about. Choose strong images that speak for themselves or need little explanation so that when the audience sees it in the brand guide, they automatically know the image epitomizes the brand:

Julie of the World brand style guide
The image of an exotic location speaks to the fact this is a travel blog and that the writer may have personally taken this picture herself. Julie of the World brand style guide by Flavia²⁷⁶⁷.
In this example, a feature image serves as dual function: as a reiteration of the brand, and an instructional image to show audience the best logo/branding placements. Fitmeal.me brand style guide by Designs By Cat.
WORKING LUNCH CO. brand style guide
Working Lunch Co. brand style guide by Sarah Crawford
Legent Inc. brand style guide
Image of a clean and neat workspace represents what the company is a service provider of: project management. Legent Inc. brand style guide by eyereen.
RESTAURANT D brand style guide
Restaurant D brand style guide by HA_Gin

Keep it simple

Whitespace can go a long way. You don’t need a lot of details to get the point across: simple and clean designs prove to be clear winners no matter what the nature of the business is.

There are a few reasons why adding whitespace to a brand style guide is beneficial for the audience. Firstly, it focuses them to what’s most important in the guide. The empty space around a certain element in the brand guide encourages the audience to think that that is the highlight and they should take notice.

In the examples below, you can see that an entire page of blank space is dedicated to one or a few elements (logo or key brand image). But it works because it lets them take center stage and demand the audience’s attention.

PRODUCE HAUS brand style guide
Produce Haus brand style guide by 3whales studio
WorkBites brand style guide
WorkBites brand style guide by Vuk N.
Clever and Quill brand style guide
Clever and Quill brand style guide by max | m.

Secondly, whitespace acts as a separator between different parts of information. It ensures the audience can properly ‘breathe’ before moving on to the next piece of the information and follow the intended flow of the guide.

In the following examples, the space around the text becomes an effective separator between the images which are full of texts and that without the space, they would otherwise look convoluted and busy.

LifeVault brand style guide
LifeVault brand style guide by Terry Bogard
SOUND UK brand style guide
The letter ‘D’ (which essentially acts as the branding in the page) is let to breathe with the white space around so that it’s not confused with the image and text to its right. SOUND UK brand style guide by I Want Design.
Root + River brand style guide
Root + River brand style guide by Pace Creative Design Studio

Adding details for an on-brand finish

Staying on brand is good, but staying on brand with style? Even better. Think about how to add brand details to certain pages of the brand guide that will lift it to the stratosphere. These designs play around with the layout, as well as adding shapes and colors that call back to the brand to personalize the guide’s overall look.

As shown in the following examples, the result is a cohesive branding bible anyone will be happy to refer to at any time.

SWITCHRCM brand style guide
In this brand style guide for SwitchRCM, the designer took care to include the brand’s logo in each page to subtly reiterate the branding throughout the viewing experience. By Terry Bogard
JIM YOUNGBLOOD brand style guide
Jim Youngblood brand style guide by SB_Notion
FLOW brand style guide
Flow brand style guide by Terry Bogard.
Pima brand style guide
Pima brand style guide by weapon™.
Next Machine brand style guide
Next Machine brand style guide by Brandstar™.
THE NUUDLE COMPANY brand style guide
The Nuudle Company brand style guide by E·the·re·al”
PAYTRONAGE brand style guide
On every page of Paytronage’s brand guide, the designer calls back to the brand with the top-left square to mark each page and its section title. By YogiArt-Designs
CAMPUS brand style guide by MultiAdaptor
Campus’ brand guide cleverly uses the geometric square of their logo to frame the heading of each section title. This successfully calls back to the brand’s style and periodically reminds the audience just whose brand guide they’re viewing. Via MultiAdaptor.
AIRBNB brand style guide by DesignStudio
Not only does AirBnB’s brand guide call back on its brand by including its logo in every page, it also includes table of contents to remind its audience where they are at in the guide. Via DesignStudio
FRUGALLY SUSTAINABLE brand style guide
Frugally Sustainable’s brand guide calls back to the brand by using its key color of mustard-yellow as background color for certain pages. By EllyFish

Let your brand style flow

Sometimes the audience needs that extra helping hand to keep them focused on what they’re seeing. It’s especially nice to see your reading flow visualized in attractive graphics.

The following designs use elements to straddle multiple pages of the brand guide to convey a sense of continuity. For example, Quiqup’s brand guide below uses cursive, flowing lines to gently guide the audience from one page to the next. The result: they are subliminally reminded that they are viewing Quiqup’s brand and strengthen the brand effect in their minds every step of the way.

brand guidelines for Quiqup with flowing lines
A brand style guide for Quiqup that has the right flow. Via MultiAdaptor.
OLLO brand style guide
OLLO brand style guide
Ollo is another example that uses flowing line in its brand guide to emphasize its brand. The decorative colorful line reiterates on the logo to remind the audience just whose brand guide they’re viewing. By Bibliothèque Designs

Another way to visualize your reading flow of a brand guide is to strategically place elements in two pages at a time. The following brand style guides place on-brand images and text in between pages and successfully create a cohesive reading experience.

NASA brand style guide
NASA brand style guide by Danne & Blackburn
LOVE TO RIDE brand style guide
The peeking bicycle to the left of the page shows it is a continuation of the previous reading material and that the audience should connect them together. Via Hello.
THE GUARDIAN brand style guide
In The Guardian’s example, the designer purposefully plastered portions of the company name to psychologically trick the audience into turning to the next page for a continuation of the story. Via The Guardian.
Gordons Gin brand style guide
Gordons Gin brand style guide by Together Design

Do you have an idea for your brand guidelines?

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Remember, the sole purpose of brand guidelines are to always inform your audience how to communicate a brand effectively. We love a seriously attractive brand style guide, but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t do its job properly, then it loses its significance quickly.

Test out your freshly-designed brand guide with various layers of the company you’re designing it for. After all, they must all benefit from it and understand clearly how to represent their brand, so make sure your creative flair doesn’t get in the way of your equally important communication skill.

Want to learn more? Here are our top branding tips and here’s how to create a solid brand identity for your business.

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