Cotter Visual Synergist

Visual Branding Guidelines

Every impression of your visual brand has value. Viewing it with consistency builds memorablity and brand recognition allowing you to get the most value from your advertising and promotional dollars.

How is this done?

Guidelines for visual styles can be developed. Essentially, these are the rules for ”here is what you can and cannot do visually”. Often ”do’s and don’ts” of copy elements and editorial style are included as well.

The elements of a corporate identity guidelines (or sometimes referred to as a visual branding guide) include…



Company Values or Spirit

Visual Identity – Logo and hierarchy, size and relationships

Copywriting and Tone of Voice

Color Palettes for web and print-primary and secondary

Typography – Specific Type Usage and Styles

Photographic and/or Illustrative Style-Any detailed or unusual shooting angles and/or perspectives to increase impact.

Paper & Ink Print Specifications

Graphic Devices

Layout and Grids

Visual Applications

Digital and Web


More detailed brand guidelines may include…

Signage, Trade Show Graphics

Advertising – web and print


Merchandise – apparel, giveaways


For clarity…

It is best to have only one or two key messages per page.

Show clear examples of how the brand should look across an appropriate range and a variety of media with a few examples of ”what not to do” as well.

The results…

A working pdf file that can viewed online, emailed or downloaded and printed. The standards can eventually be established as an online identity resource.


It’s a fine line. The rules should be flexible enough for designers to be creative but rigid enough to for the brand to be easily recognizable. Occasionally, situations will call for rules to be bent, but they should not be broken. Continuity is key so the brand can successfully display across all media. Keep in mind, with all this said, the rules of branding should remain somewhat ”fluid” and ”evolving” as new scenarios present themselves.


Shown here is the exclusion zone and clearances on the corporate logo without tagline. In the guidelines, this is also illustrated with the tagline.


The print (pantone and cmyk values) and web (hexadecimel) color palette for primary and secondary colors.


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