Everything About Brand Books – When, Why, and Why Invest in One?

  • Icon Holy Studio
    Holy Studio
  • 10 November 2023
  • 32 min reading
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Ilustracja z przykładowymi elementami brandingu – logo, typografią, paletą kolorów i ikoną

The world of branding is full of terms, many of which are perceived as fashionable phrases or merely fleeting trends. However, there are several timeless concepts that deserve your attention and a deep understanding – one of them is a brand book. This is not just a collection of guidelines describing the brand, but above all a fundamental tool for effective brand management. A well-constructed brand book not only strengthens its recognition and ensures its consistency, but also helps save time, money, and nerves. Discover why investing in a brand book can bring significant financial and strategic benefits to your company.

From this guide, you will learn:

  • How a brand book differs from a logo guidelines book
  • What elements should be included in a brand book
  • Why it is worth including brand communication in it
  • How you can tailor a brand book to suit your individual needs
  • What mistakes to avoid when designing a brand book
  • What difficulties you may encounter if you do not have a brand book
  • To whom and how you should present your brand book
  • What barriers employees most often encounter when using a brand book
  • How to make it easier for your team and collaborators to follow the rules


Definition of a brand book

A brand book isa key document defining the brand's identity. It describes communication and visual strategies in a clear and accessible way, which are the foundation for every aspect of the company's presentation. It containsprecise instructions that help to avoid discrepancies in brand presentation, which is crucial for maintaining a professional image in the eyes of customers and partners. Thanks to the brand book, the brand's image remains consistent and coherent across different platforms.

Differences between a logo book, brand guidelines, and a brand book

Logo book, brand guidelines and brand book are terms that, although sometimes used interchangeably, represent different aspects of describing a brand's identity. A logo book focuses on the basic elements of visual identification, such as the logo, color palette, and typography, establishing the foundations for further design activities. Brand guidelines develop these foundations, providing more detailed guidelines regarding brand communication, the use of graphic elements, design of materials, and maintaining consistency across various media. Meanwhile, a brand book is the most comprehensive document. It combines visual and communication guidelines with information about the mission, vision, values, and strategy of the brand.A brand book serves as a comprehensive tool for supporting consistent and effective communication of a brand’s vision both internally and externally within an organization. It is a key source of knowledge about the brand for creatives, marketing, and the company's management. It helps to ensure that all aspects of the brand's activities are in line with its strategic direction, which is invaluable in building a strong market position.

Lesser-known spirit book

Spirit book(the book of spirit) is a concept much less frequently used in the context of branding. It refers to a document or set of guidelines that describe and define the spirit of the brand, its core beliefs, and its mission. Thanks to it, employees and business partners can better understandwhat the brand truly stands for, what values drive it, and which behaviors are consistent with them.

It is worth noting that the term spirit book is not as widely used as brand book, but it is employed by some companies as an additional tool for defining and communicating the essence of the brand.

Brand books, image guidelines, and corporate ideas inspire, shape, and increase brand recognition. No brand strategy will reach its potential if it is confined to the four walls of a conference room, remains in the realm of someone's private thoughts, or gets lost on the third page of a marketing plan. The vision of the brand requires a form of communication that is easily accessible, mobile, and tailored to individual needs. Corporate websites are increasingly presenting content such as 'About Us', 'Our Philosophy', or 'Values of Our Brand', not limited to template solutions.

Time matters. Companies going through changes need to clearly define the direction in which the brand is headed. Often it is the process of shaping the brand's identity that brings breakthrough insights concerning its essence. Making employees aware of how they can contribute to strengthening the brand is not only smart but also beneficial for the entire organization.

Designing Brand Identity, Alina Wheeler
Infografika z ikonami przedstawiająca zakres brandbooka. Opisane na grafice elementy brandbooka to: logo, key visual, typografia, kolory, zasady, elementy prawne, komunikacja i przykłady zastosowań.

Elements of a brand book

Structure of the document

A complete brand book is divided into three main sections: brand communication, visual guidelines, and legal aspects.The section about communication defines the core of the message and brand values, determining whether we are dealing with a full-scale brand book or rather a visual identification guide.Visual guidelines transform these values into specific, cohesive graphic directives, ensuring a uniform brand presentation across different media. Although legal aspects are often overlooked in most cases, they provide important legal protection for all elements of brand identity.

Fundamentals of Image Communication

Brand communication is the essence of its relationship with audiences. In this section of the brand book, it is defined how the brand presents and defines itself through words, tone, and messages, allowing for effective and consistent communication of its values and mission.

The most important elements to focus on in this section are:

  • Brand Values – fundamental principles and beliefs that constitute the core of brand identity.
  • Brand Mission and Vision – definition of the brand's purpose of existence, the problem it solves, and its target audience.
  • Tone and Language of the Brand – determination of communication tone, preferred vocabulary, and emotions that the brand wants to evoke.
  • Text Samples – example formulations, sentences, and text fragments that reflect the brand's character.
  • Key Phrases - words and key phrases that fully reflect the essence of the brand and are used to ensure a consistent message.
Fragmenty strony internetowej Spotify, które przedstawiają zasady użycia logo, kolorystykę i uproszczone widoki aplikacji.
Spotify Guidelines for Developers contain instructions for using brand elements and applications. Their goal is to maintain brand consistency across different platforms.
Fragmenty strony internetowej Dropbox, które przedstawiają firmową kolorystykę, zasady użycia logo i sygnetu oraz ilustrację.
Dropbox Brandbook describes the brand strategy. In addition to graphic guidelines, it also includes assumptions about communication.

Examples of additional elements that can be included based on the individual needs of the brand are:

  • Brand Archetype - a universal pattern that describes the character and personality of the brand, related to culturally rooted symbols, facilitating the establishment of deeper relationships with customers.
  • Storytelling - narrative presentation of the history, values, and mission of the brand, serving to engage audiences in various media and contexts.
  • Recommendations for Social Media - ways of presenting the brand's language in social media, from tone to style.
  • Contextual Examples of Communication - specific cases illustrating brand communication in different contexts, such as customer correspondence, blog posts, or social media interactions.
  • Brand Ambassadors – recommendations and guidelines for people publicly representing the brand: from employees, through influencers, to strategic business partners.
Fragment strony internetowej Starbucks. Na grafice znajdują się elementy strony, które opisują komunikację matki, logo i jego historię oraz paletę kolorystyczną do opakowań.
Fragment strony internetowej Starbucks. Na grafice znajdują się opakowania, karty podarunkowe, fragmenty strony i menu, które przedstawiają, w jaki sposób są używane ilustracje.
Starbucks Brandbook describes the brand's expression and its application in premises, on packaging, and promotional materials.
Wybrane strony z brandbooka Glossier. Opisują one komunikację i język marki, wytyczne do zdjęć oraz pozycjonowanie firmy względem innych firm z branży beauty.
Brand communication and positioning described in the Glossier brandbook.

Visual language guidelines

Visual guidelines define how the brand communicates its identity through graphic elements. This section of the brandbook contains information regarding the color palette, typography, used graphic motifs, symbols as well as their application, ensuring consistency and uniformity of the brand's presentation across different communication channels.

When we need more detailed instructions concerning specific elements, more detailed guidelines are created. They may pertain to various areas, such as:

  • Logo application – precise instructions regarding its placement, appropriate and prohibited modifications, as well as contexts in which it should (or should not) be used.
  • Animated and 3D logo – rules concerning animating the logo or its three-dimensional representation, particularly important for digital and film media as well as promotional purposes.
  • Co-branding – rules for using the logo in the context of collaboration with other brands or during special events.
  • Key visual for social media – definition of post formats, color scheme, typography, message tone, and specifics of interaction on different platforms.
  • Photography and Multimedia – guidelines concerning the style, themes, and composition of photographs, films, and other visual media that align with the brand's identity.
  • Specific Communication Channels – instructions for printed advertisements, banners, TV spots, or radio commercials.
  • Corporate Apparel – rules regarding the use of the logo, color scheme, and other brand elements on employee clothing.
  • Physical Signage – instructions for placing the logo and other elements on company buildings, vehicles, or event locations.
  • Promotional Materials – how the brand should be presented on flyers, posters, promotional gadgets, etc.
  • Product Packaging – specifications for design, color scheme, materials, content, and placement of brand elements on packaging to ensure consistency across different product lines and market segments.
  • Website, Online Store, or Mobile Applications – rules regarding user interface design, visual elements, content layout, and user interaction.
  • Presentation Materials – guidelines for presenting the brand in PowerPoint or Keynote, PDF documents, and other formats used for external or internal communication.
  • Trade Show Booth Stand – rules pertaining to trade show booth design, including graphic elements, signage, and visitor interaction.
  • Educational materials – instructions on using the logo in training materials, webinars, or presentations.
  • Points of sale – rules for brand presentation in sales locations, on screens, store windows, or POS materials.
  • Brand hero – description and guidelines regarding a character or symbol that personifies the brand's values and acts as its 'ambassador.' This can be a human figure, animal, animated character, or another symbol.
  • Thematic campaigns – adaptation of the visual language for specific campaigns or seasonal events (e.g., holiday versions of the logo).
  • Cultural or regional adaptations – instructions for adjusting the logo to different markets or cultural groups.
Fragmenty brandbooka NASA z 1975 r. Mają one formę drukowanej książki. Wybrane strony przedstawiają zasady użycia logo, układy treści w firmowych dokumentach, kolory firmowe oraz oznakowanie pojazdu.
NASA brand book from 1975 includes guidelines on visual language, vehicle signage, and the appearance of corporate documents.
Fragmenty strony internetowej IBM. Na grafice znajdują się elementy opisujące logo, dopuszczalne warianty kolorystyczne znaku, firmową typografię oraz przykład użycia kolorystyki firmowej w interfejsie aplikacji.
IBM brand book is available on the official website.
Fragmenty strony internetowej z wytycznymi języka wizualnego firmy Slack. Przedstawiają one zasady użycia logo, kolorystykę firmową oraz elementy aplikacji z wytycznymi do użycia typografii i emoji w reakcjach na wiadomości.
Slack brand book contains detailed guidelines on the appearance and operation of the application.

Legal section

This section appears in the document of brands that particularlyprotect their capital legally.. It may contain information concerning copyright for all visual and text elements of the brand, as well as specifics regardingtrademarks and other intellectual property rights. As a result, the brand is protected against potential violations, and all collaborating partners are aware of the rules for using the provided materials. If the company utilizes external resources (e.g., image banks, purchased fonts), information concerning licenses and conditions of their usage are also included here.

When deciding on the scope of the brand book, be guided by the unique needs and goals of your brand. If the main objective is to present visual identity, focusing on key, classic elements will be optimal. However, if you want the brand book to be a complete source of information about your brand, consider including more advanced sections and tools.

Fragment strony interentowej Instagram z wytycznymi prawnymi dotyczącymi użycia znaku. Na stronie znajduje się logo Instagram do pobrania oraz szczegółowe opisy dotyczace zasad korzystania ze znaku i nazwy marki.
Example of legal issues using the Instagram logoas an example. The subpage describes the rules for using the company's trademark and brand name.
Strona z brandbooka Resibo, na której znajduje się tabela z certyfikatami i pojemnościami, które są wymagane na etykietach opakowań.
The Resibo brand book describes the informational data and certificates required on different types of packaging, and contains information on the minimum scale of these elements.

The scope of the visual identity guide


  1. Description of the symbolic meaning of the company's trademark – brief history and philosophy behind the logotype.
  2. Logo variants:
    1. basic (full) version of the logotype
    2. abbreviated/monogram version
    3. horizontal/vertical version (if applicable)
    4. black and white version
    5. negative version (on dark backgrounds)
    6. version with brand's hashtag, tagline
    7. guidelines for the use of the signet if the brand uses such an element separately from the logo
  3. Logo construction:
    1. logo construction grid, indicating the key elements of its structure
    2. proportions and distances between the elements of the sign
  4. Protective field of the mark – the minimum space around the logo, ensuring its legibility.
  5. Logo scaling:
    1. minimum and maximum allowed logo sizes in print
    2. minimum and maximum allowed logo sizes on screen display
    3. guidelines for maintaining proportions while scaling, avoiding stretching or distortion
  6. Use of colors directly in the logo:
    1. color specification for each part of the logo
    2. recommended and prohibited color combinations
  7. Permitted uses and prohibited modifications – examples of improper use of the logo.
  8. Background variants – instructions for using the logo on different backgrounds.
  9. Minimum line thickness in the logo for different printing methods – depending on the printing technology, certain details may disappear or become less legible, especially in small sizes.
Strona z brandbooka Mobipol przedstawiająca logo firmy oraz pole ochronne.
Strona z brandbooka Mobipol przedstawiająca skalowanie znaku oraz jego minimalną wielkość.
Protective field and scaling guidelines of the sign described in the Mobipol brand book.
Strona z brandbooka Naturalnej Drogerii. Na sześciu grafikach są pokazane niewłaściwe użycia znaku jako przykład, czego nie należy robić z logo.
Prohibited use of the sign with the example of the Natural Drugstore brand book.

Color scheme

  1. Main color palette:
    1. description of the main corporate colors that represent the character and values of the brand
    2. color codes in different formats, i.e., CMYK (for print), RGB (for display), HEX (for web) and Pantone (for ensuring color consistency across different media)
    3. examples of where and when to use the main colors within brand materials
  2. Complementary Colors:
    1. description of colors that complement the main color palette and extend the visual range of the brand along with codes in different formats
    2. guidelines on where these colors are best used and how they can be combined with the main colors
  3. Accent Colors:
    1. description of colors that are used to draw attention, emphasize important elements, or add depth to the design along with codes in different formats
    2. how and where to use accent colors, tips on their application in combination with other palette colors
  4. Color Application:
    1. guidelines and examples concerning the effective combination of colors in different media and formats
    2. warnings and tips on situations where certain color combinations may be problematic or not recommended
    3. specific contexts – if they exist, guidelines concerning the use of colors in specific contexts, e.g., in television advertising, on billboards, in mobile applications, etc.
Strona z brandbooka Resibo przedstawiająca firmową kolorystykę. Na plamach koloru są opisane nazwy serii oraz opis dotyczący symboliki poszczególnych barw.
The color scheme of Resibo packaging has been described in detail in the brand book.
Strona z brandbooka Mobipol z trzema kolorami firmowymi oraz odcieniami tych kolorów.
Shades of corporate colors used by Mobipol.


  1. Main typefaces:
    1. presentation of dominant fonts that reflect the brand's spirit
    2. guidelines for optimal use of the main fonts in selected materials or contexts
  2. Complementary and additional typefaces:
    1. presentation of additional fonts that can be used in specific situations or to diversify materials
    2. guidelines on the best use of these fonts in various materials and contexts so as not to conflict with the brand's main message
  3. Content hierarchy:
    1. titles and headings – defining weights and styles for different levels of titles and headings
    2. main text – guidelines concerning the style and font size for the main text
    3. quotations and highlights – recommendations on the styling of quotations and other highlighted elements
  4. General rules:
    1. line spacing - recommendations regarding the distance between lines of text
    2. spacings and margins - guidelines for the space around blocks of text and between paragraphs
    3. letter-spacing - recommendations for the distance between letters in text
    4. font size - recommendations on the appropriate size of texts for different elements, taking into account various media (print, screen) and contexts (advertising banners, informational materials, website, etc.)

Elements worth adding in the typography section:

  • Compatibility and alternatives - in case the main fonts are not available, what are the recommended alternatives.
  • Stylizations and variations - guidelines for using different font variants (bold, italic, small caps, all caps).
  • Licensing - information about licenses for the fonts used and the permitted scope of use.
  • Special characters and iconography - guidelines for using various special characters, ligatures, or icons available in a given font.
Strona z brandbooka Coders3, na której pokazane są przykłady dwóch krojów pisma, ich nazwy oraz opis, w jakich sytuacjach nalezy używać danych fontów.
Instruction for using Coders3 typography.
Fragment brandbooka Resibo. Na fragmencie tylnej etykiety są zaznaczone odległości pomiędzy treściami. Strona opisuje typografię i odległości na opakowaniach.
Guidelines for typography and the distance between contents on Resibo packaging.

Key visual

  1. Presentation of the brand's visual elements:
    1. main graphic themes that reflect the character and values of the brand
    2. a distinctive style, repeating patterns or textures that help distinguish and recognize the brand in different contexts
  2. Icons and illustrations:
    1. guidelines for graphics and illustrations that are consistent with the brand's character
    2. examples of appropriate and inappropriate use of icons and illustrations in the context of the brand
  3. Application:
    1. guidelines for the proper placement and scaling of visual elements in different media
    2. examples of key visual application in promotional materials, advertisements, websites, etc.
    3. examples of prohibited use or modification of the key visual
    4. instructions describing when and how you can slightly modify visual elements, adapting them to specific needs, without losing the brand's consistency at the same time
Infografika przedstawiająca system marki za pomocą kół. W centrum znajduje się treść "Tożsamość marki", a na zewnętrznych okręgach opisane są "Język wizualny" oraz "Zastosowanie". Grafika przedstawia, jak tożsamość marki definiuje język.

Common mistakes in creating a brand book

Every creative process carries the risk of making mistakes. In the case of a brand book, a document of fundamental importance for brand identification, every mistake can lead to serious consequences. Let's discuss the most common problems and ways to avoid them.

Structure and readability

Too general guidelines

Effectivebrand book requires precisely formulated guidelinesWhen they are too general, different individuals or teams can interpret them in many ways. This can lead to inconsistencies in brand communication and its visual presentation.

Too complicated language

A brandbook should be understandable to a wide audience, not just specialists. Using too technical terms or complicated vocabulary can make it difficult for those less familiar with the subject to understand it. If people without design experience are going to work with your document, consider simplifying the language.

Lack of good navigation

One of the most important aspects of a document is its readability. A poorly structured document without clear markings or a table of contents can cause teams to waste time searching for the necessary information. It is worth ensuring a logical structure, clear headings, and a table of contents.

Creation process

Improper choice of contractor

Creating a brandbook is a task requiring not only technical know-how, but also a thorough understanding of the brand's values, mission, and visionHiring a contractor who is not a branding specialist or someone who cannot grasp the essence of the brand may result in the creation of a brand book that does not reflect its authentic image.

Insufficient needs analysis

Brand book creation cannot be based solely on intuition. An insufficient analysis of the brand's needs, its values, goals, or target audience can lead to the creation of a document that does not match the real needs and challenges. Before proceeding with the creation of a brand book, it is advisable toconduct a thorough analysisand consultations with various company departments.

Lack of updates and audits

Brands do not stand still. They change, adapt, evolve. A brand book that is not updated quickly becomes outdated and may not meet present market challenges. Regular reviews and updates are fundamental to ensuring the document's good functionality. About how to conductbrand book audits, we have writtena dedicated guide.

Not considering cultural differences

For globally operating brands, it is important to include cultural differences in the brand book. What works in one country may be inappropriate or misunderstood in another. The document should be adapted to different markets and cultures.

Lack of alignment with brand strategy

Inconsistency among different elements of a brand can lead to confusion, weakening its recognition or reputation. A well-constructed brand book, which reflects the mission, vision, and values of a company, strengthens its image and helps to build long-term relationships with customers.

Fragment brandbooka Kaiterra. Na trzech stronach są opisane wytyczne dotyczące języka marki oraz komunikacji.
The brand book for Kaiterra describes the company's values and contains guidelines regarding communication and language used in it, to ensure consistency with the brand's strategy.

Not taking team feedback into account

Creating a brand book should not be a one-sided process. Teams that will be using these guidelines can provide valuable comments and suggestions that will help to perfect the final document.

Barriers in usage

Lack of accessible examples

Examples make abstract guidelines concrete, clearly demonstrating how they should be applied in practice. Without them, brand book users can feel lost, which increases the risk of erroneous interpretation of the rules. Access to understandable and representative examples increases the effectiveness of the document and helps in achieving visual and communication consistency for the brand.

Complete lack of flexibility

Although the brand book serves as a guide for the brand, it should not restrict creativity. Too restrictive guidelines might limit the ability to respond to unforeseen market situations. Properly balanced guidelines allow for maintaining image consistency, while still allowing a certain margin of freedom in brand presentation. Such flexibility is essential in the rapidly changing business world.

Lack of a digital or interactive version

Companies that rely exclusively on physical versions of the brand bookmay encounter new challenges. In today's world, where remote work has become the norm, the availability of the brand book in digital form or as an interactive platform is a necessity. It allows for easy sharing of the document with different teams, and also for quick searching of specific information.

Lack of language translations

Many companies employ workers from different countries and cultures. If the brand book is only available in one, native language of the brand, it can pose a significant barrier to using the document.Translating the brand book into English or other popular languages facilitates broad understanding of the guidelines by the entire international team, which translates into better and more unified brand communication.

Too narrow a perspective

Overlooking the ecological aspect

More and more consumers are paying attention to the ecological aspect of companies' activities. The brand book should therefore include guidelines on communication in matters related to environmental protection, such as principles of recycling packaging or the use of eco-friendly materials.

Overlooking the aspect of accessibility

Contemporary standards require brand books to include guidelines on creating content that is friendly to all users, including people with various types of disabilities. The brand book may contain specific recommendations concerning the design of communication materials that are easily accessible – for example, by using appropriate color contrasts, considering alternative descriptions for graphic elements, adapting texts for screen readers or versions of materials in sign language. Such an approach confirms that the brand is open and accessible to a diverse group of recipients, not excluding older persons or those with mobility and sensory limitations.

The most important benefits

A brand book is not only a tool for graphic designers or marketers. It is primarily a compendium of knowledge about your brand, which allows for effective building and management of your business in a changing business environment. Whether you are just starting your own business journey or have been running it for years – a well-designed brand book will undoubtedly bring numerous benefits. Below we indicate the most important of them.

Grafika z ikonami tłumacząca, dlaczego warto mieć brandbook. Najważniejsze korzyści to spójny wizerunek, zwiększona sprzedaż oraz większa rozpoznawalność.

1. Ensuring image consistency

The brand book serves as a comprehensive guide, enabling the company to maintain consistent imaging across various communication channels and ways of interacting with recipients. These guidelines guarantee that regardless of the context – whether virtual or physical – the brand representation remains uniform, facilitating customers' identification and associating it with their experiences.

2. Building brand recognition and customer loyalty

Ensuringbrand recognitionrequires consistent use of distinctive visual attributes, such as specific color schemes, logos, and graphic elements. The constant presentation of these elements not only cements the brand image in the minds of the audience but also builds trust and increases their attachment. The brand book provides the framework that allows maintaining this essential consistency in every aspect of communication with the customer.

3. Efficiency and economy in marketing activities

A brand book is not only about accelerating the process of creating marketing materials, but also about increasing their precision and effectiveness. Defining specific guidelines allows teams and brand partners to act in harmony, minimizing the time spent on aligning concepts and details. It's also important that even though a good brand book provides stable foundations, it also allows for flexibility in responding to new trends and changes in the market. As a result, marketing materials are always up-to-date, and the brand can develop and meet consumer needs, enhancing its recognizability and marketing efficiency.

4. Guarantee of high quality in collaborations

When working with graphic designers, printers, creative agencies, you invest specific amounts of money into the realization of a project. If something goes against the plan or doesn't meet the established standards, the brand book becomes a tool that facilitates the enforcement of business service quality.If your partner does not adhere to specific guidelines, you can precisely point out where the discrepancies occurred. A brand book not only streamlines processes, but also protects your company's budget.

Fragment brandbooka Resibo, na którym przedstawiony jest obrys formy własnej dla butelek szamponów i odżywek.
Fragment brandbooka Resibo, na którym przedstawiona jest butelka szamponu oraz kartonik olejku do włosów. Strona zawiera informacje na temat wytłoczenia logo, które pojawia się na opakowaniach.
The Resibo brand book describes guidelines concerning the unique form of packaging.

5. Maintaining continuity of work during staff changes

Staff changes, especially in marketing and design departments, can cause disruptions in the brand's uniform communication. In this case, a brand book becomes an indispensable tool that ensures effective induction of new employees into the company's structures. Thanks to clear instructions, new team members can quickly assimilate the brand philosophy and continue working on its image, minimizing the risk of misunderstandings or delays.

6. Support in building an employer brand

Thanks to well-defined values and mission included in the brand book, not only will you strengthen the commitment of current employees, but you will also more effectively attract valuable candidates. Having consistent guidelines concerning the brand makes it easier to present the company as an attractive place to work. Candidates will more quickly understand what they will be identifying with and what they will aspire to within the organization, which translates into a better recruitment process and integration with the team.

7. Support in Rebranding

Rebranding is a process that requires full commitment and understanding at all levels of the company.In this change, a brand book is a valuable aid, ensuring that the information about the new image is clear and consistent for the whole team. The guidelines included in it ensure uniformity of actions, enable quick adaptation of employees, and help in maintaining the most important brand values. It is therefore a tool not only saving time but also key for a smooth and understandable transition through brand transformation..

8. Facilitation in Scaling and Expansion

Extending the brand's activities into new sectors and markets presents the challenge of adapting to varied consumer expectations and needs while maintaining the core identity. A brand book, as a compendium of knowledge about the brand, provides the necessary tools for this process. Thanks to a clear set of guidelines, the brand can not only effectively shape its presence in different contexts but also take care of consistency in communication and image.

9. Legal Protection of the Brand

A brand book is not only a guide to the brand's style but also its legal protection. Its guidelines serve as the first line of the line of defense against unauthorized changes in the brand presentation, using its elements or plagiarism, helping to maintain the brand's unique character. Proper use of the brand book can significantly reduce the risk of legal conflicts related to intellectual property.

Having a well-designed brand book is an investment in the future of the brand. It makes it easier to achieve consistency in image, build recognition, and also save time and resources in the long term. In the fight for customer attention and trust, where every detail matters, the brand book becomes a proven guide.

The Costs of Not Having a Brand Book

One should not confuse the absence of a brand book with a lack of branding strategy. Although both terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they refer to different aspects of brand management. Not having a brand book can result in many unwanted consequences, depending on the specifics and size of the organization.

The lack of a brand book is not equivalent to the lack of a branding strategy, although these two elements are often closely related. A brand book is a tool that implements branding strategy through specific visual and communication guidelines, while branding strategy defines the general directions for development and positioning of the brandNot having a brand book can lead to inconsistencies in the brand's messaging, which in turn affects its recognition and perception among audiences.

For local businesses targeting a wider group of customers, a brand book might not be a priority. Nonetheless, even in such cases, certain guidelines for image and communication enhance the effectiveness of promotional activities. For larger organizations operating on a national or international scale, the consequences of not having a brand book can be more severe. Below we provide several examples.

Increased production costs

Unclear guidelines can lead to errors in advertising campaigns, production of marketing materials, or even packaging production. These mistakes can result in additional costs associated with revisions, reprints, or distribution.

Extended decision-making time

A lack of clear rules complicates and prolongs decision-making processes related to the brand's image.

Potential misunderstandings with suppliers

During collaboration with external agencies or freelancers, the absence of a brand book can lead to misunderstandings regarding visual and communication expectations.

Greater risk of losing image coherence

If a company is going through a period of rapid expansion or major changes, the lack of established guidelines can lead to a loss of consistency in communication and brand presentation.

Difficulties in monitoring brand image

Without defined standards, it is difficult to monitor and analyze whether marketing and communication activities are in line with brand expectations.

Risk of reputation damage

Inconsistent, ambiguous image may discourage potential customers and partners, undermining trust in the brand and negatively impacting revenue.

Difficulties in maintaining company culture

Without a brand book that reflects the mission, vision, and values of the brand, it may be more difficult to indicate to new employees and partners what the company expects and believes in.

Risk of unintended image changes

Without clear brand rules, there is a risk that employees or partners will introduce unwanted changes that, in the long term, may affect the brand's perception by the audience.

Who should have access to the brand book?

Proper brand management not only relies on a well-thought-out strategy but also on the involvement of all those who contribute to its promotion and communication. One of the key elements in this process is making the brand book available to all entities that will jointly build a unified and strong brand image.

Below you will find a sample list of employees and partners whom it is worth giving access to your brand's visual guidelines.


  • Management staff
  • Marketing and sales department
  • Graphic designers
  • Lawyers
  • Customer service
  • HR department
  • Employees creating presentations


  • Branding studios, graphic designers, creative and art directors
  • Advertising agencies and social media agencies
  • PR companies
  • Printing houses
  • Packaging manufacturers
  • Photographers
  • Architects and interior designers
  • Copywriters and editors
  • Event organizers
  • Co-branding partners

The key to effective brand management is providing the right tools to the right people. Sharing a brandbook is a step in this direction, but let's remember to do it thoughtfully and control access.

Where and how to share the brandbook?

The brandbook is a valuable source of information and principles for those involved in building the brand's image, therefore its availability should be balanced with good protection. Depending on the scale of the company's activities and the nature of its promotion, a brandbook can be shared internally with employees and business partners, as well as externally with the media and the wider public. The choice of the sharing system should take into account both communication needs and the necessity to protect the content from unauthorized access.

Methods of sharing and company size

Small businesses

Small enterprises often have limited resources and teams. Branding in this context focuses on building local recognition and customer loyalty. Familiarity with and adherence to the brand book by all employees is crucial.

Useful solutions may include:

  • Cloud services (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox) – These are tools that are intuitive to use and usually accessible from any location. They offer various levels of access permissions.
  • Project management platforms (like Trello, Asana) – These are popular in managing projects, but their main function is not document sharing. They may be useful in the context of branding projects, but they are not the ideal place for storing and sharing a brand book.
  • Printed versions – For some companies, a physical version of the brand book can be useful, especially if it is to be presented during meetings or workshops.

Medium-sized businesses

They have a larger structure, more complex marketing actions, and a wider reach. They need more advanced brand book management to maintain a consistent image across different levels and locations.

In this case, the document can be shared through:

  • Dedicated server – offers greater security and the ability to control access in detail, thanks to individually configurable resources that can be managed both locally and remotely. A good solution for companies that want full autonomy in managing their data.
  • Document management platforms – for example, Microsoft SharePoint, which facilitates sharing, updating, and tracking changes in documents, which is essential when the brand book is frequently updated.
  • Internal intranet networks – enable centralized storage of the brand book in a secure environment, where access is strictly limited to designated employees. This ensures effective protection against unauthorized use and guarantees that only authorized persons can make changes or distribute materials.

Large companies

Corporations and global brands operate in many markets and in many cultural circles. Their branding needs are complex, taking into account regional diversity and the challenge of maintaining consistency. Corporate documents must be accessible to hundreds, if not thousands of employees, partners, and suppliers.

  • Public platforms (e.g., dedicated pages for media) – are designed to enable mass distribution of brand materials while simultaneously providing easy access for media and other interested parties. These platforms often contain resource libraries where one can find necessary materials, such as logos, brand guidelines, or product images.
  • Dedicated corporate resource apps (e.g., Adobe Experience Manager) – enable centralized content management, and consequently control over the latest version of the brandbook and its consistency across all markets. Thanks to access management features, the right individuals in different locations can easily download current guidelines. Such platforms also offer the possibility of content personalization for individual regions, while maintaining global brand standards.
  • Internal VPN networks and intranet – For corporations with a globally distributed structure, security and control over access to company resources are a priority. VPN networks allow employees to remotely log in to the company's systems from anywhere in the world, offering a level of security comparable to working in an office. The intranet, being the internal network of the organization, enables centralized management of documentation and communication, which facilitates the distribution of current brand books and ensures their consistent application by all employees.

Public Access

If your company is frequently mentioned in the media or you participate in numerous industry events, it is worth considering a publicly accessible brand book. Providing editors, graphic designers, and other interested parties with guidelines pertaining to your brand can significantly reduce your involvement in their individual inquiries. Facilitating easy access to the rules of presenting your company, for example in a dedicated tab on the website, can not only make cooperation with the media and partners easier but also strengthen the consistency of your brand's image.

In some cases, instead of a full press kit, a basic package of graphic materials is sufficient – this is what we did for the Mobipol brand, which needed an easy way to share information regarding the use of the logo itself.

It is important for companies to adapt their method of sharing to the specific context, resources, and needs, while also considering security and privacy issues when sharing important documents.

Not all information in the brand book should be publicly available. We recommend considering which elements are key for internal communication and which can be shared externally. We discuss more rules on safe sharing of the brand book inthis article.

The Importance of Adhering to Brand Book Guidelines

All employees of the company, regardless of their position, shape the brand's image. However, often for various reasons, they overlook key guidelines set out for image communication. These are often minor deviations, but accumulated, they can lead to serious inconsistencies in communication and weakening of the brand. Let's take a closer look at how to effectively implement and enforce these standards, while caring for the coherence and strength of the brand.

Reasons for Difficulties

To understand why some employees or partners do not adhere to the guidelines contained in the brand book, it's worth taking a closer look at the main obstacles they encounter. Often it's not a matter of dislike or neglecting the brand, but more complex factors that can influence their decisions and actions. Below, we present the most common of them:

  • Lack of awareness - employees may simply not know about the existence of a brand book or may not understand its importance.
  • Complexity of the document - the document may be too extensive or unclear. If not appropriately structured, employees may feel overwhelmed by its content and give up trying to understand it.
  • Lack of access - in many companies, access to the brand book is limited. If an employee does not know where to look for the document or how to use it, they will naturally have difficulty adhering to its rules.
  • Resistance to change - new guidelines often mean a revolution in existing professional habits. Without clearly presented benefits for employees and the company, the natural reaction may be resistance and adherence to old methods of operation.
  • Insufficient training – if there is a lack of proper educational tools, and knowledge is not regularly refreshed, there is a risk that the rules will be misinterpreted or completely overlooked.

Planning Training

Effectiveconveying the brand book principlesto employees is a significant challenge for any organization. Depending on the size and characteristics of the company, this process can take various forms.

In small enterprises, where relationships are more direct, there is a natural possibility of conveying key information in a less formal way. However, in large corporations, due to structural complexity and geographic dispersion, a more systematic approach is necessary. In this case, e-learning stands out as an optimal solution – scalable, accessible at any time, and not requiring the constant involvement of trainers. For those who prefer a more direct approach, organizing regular workshops or webinars can be a good alternative.

Brand Book in the Onboarding Process

For many companies onboarding is a key moment when new employees become acquainted with the culture, mission, and values of the organizationIt's the perfect time to provide them with a thorough understanding of the brand vision and the brand book guidelines. Introducing such training at the beginning of their career path in the company not only ensures that they will act in accordance with the brand's expectations from the start, but also strengthens their sense of belonging and engagement. The training should be well-thought-out, engaging, and tailored to the needs of new employees, so they can become brand ambassadors from day one.

Monitoring adherence to principles

Monitoring is not just about controlling, but above all, understanding and improving usage. There exists many ways to care for the brand's consistency within the organization: from regular visual audits (e.g., reviewing marketing materials, checking the website), through internal surveys, analyzing customer feedback, to meetings and discussions with the team responsible for the brand image. The specific scope of visual audits we discussed in a separate guide. The value of proper monitoring lies in quickly detecting irregularities and immediately responding before minor errors turn into major problems.

Summary (TL;DR)

A brand book is one of the tools of an image strategy that defines and regulates the way a brand presents itself in various media and customer contact points. Its goal is to ensure consistency of the brand's visual and verbal communication.

Scope of the brand book

The brand book is the essence of a company's visual and communication consistency, playing a crucial role in maintaining its professional image. It focuses on four main areas:

  • Logo guidelines - Specifies the use of logos, typography, color schemes, and key graphic motifs.
  • Brand communication - Defines the tone and language, as well as the values, vision, and mission of the company.
  • Practical applications - Determines how the brand is presented in different media, from websites to printed materials.
  • Rights and licenses - Contains information about licenses and copyright, thus protecting intellectual property rights.

Advantages of a brand book

Creating a brand book is an investment in clear communication and visual consistency, which translates into strengthening the market position and streamlining operations within the company. Here are the key benefits that such a document provides:

  1. Image consistency. - A brand book guarantees continuity and uniformity in brand presentation, essential for its recognition.
  2. Building loyalty.A document can strengthen customer trust through consistent visual and communication messaging.
  3. Operational efficiency.A brand book enables faster and more efficient execution of marketing campaigns thanks to established standards.
  4. High quality of cooperation.Prepared guidelines facilitate the enforcement of quality standards in relationships with external suppliers and partners.
  5. Assistance for new employees.A brand book facilitates quick familiarization with the company's communication standards.
  6. Support in building an employer brand.The document contributes to creating an attractive image of the company as a place to work.
  7. Help in rebranding.Branding resources gathered in one place serve as a reference point during visual and strategic brand changes.
  8. Scalability and expansion.Ready-made communication patterns facilitate the expansion of business activities into new markets.
  9. Legal protection.A brand book protects against unauthorized use of brand elements, which has legal significance.

Consequences of not having a brand book

Not having a brand book can lead to a series of negative consequences for the brand. Here are the key challenges that companies without visual guidelines may face:

  1. Higher expenses– without a brand book, costs associated with production, design, and necessary revisions can significantly increase.
  2. Delays in implementation – lack of clear standards slows down both decision-making and execution processes in projects, leading to noticeable delays.
  3. Business misunderstandings – without explicit guidelines, creative partners may struggle to meet expectations, leading to errors and misunderstandings.
  4. Brand image inconsistency – companies without a brand book often struggle with the problem of inconsistent brand presentation across various platforms and materials.
  5. Challenges in managing the image – without a brand book, it is more difficult to maintain control over how the brand is presented.
  6. Difficulties in building organizational culture – a consistent brand book supports the brand culture, and its absence can weaken the company's identity and values.

Common mistakes

An effective brand book is a key element of the brand's strategy, but it's easy to make mistakes that can diminish its value. Here are some of the most common problems:

  • Not tailored to individual needs – guidelines are often too general or excessively detailed, which makes their application challenging.
  • Complicated language – specialized jargon and an unintuitive structure can discourage users.
  • Lack of updates – Skipping regular audits results in the document losing its relevance.
  • Ignoring user feedback – Opinions from individuals using the brand book are valuable; neglecting them can lead to the creation of ineffective or impractical guidelines.
  • Lack of visual examples – Visual examples are crucial for better understanding and interpreting the guidelines; their absence can result in ambiguity and mistakes in the application of the brand book.

Brand book distribution

For a brand book to be effective, it must be readily accessible to all stakeholders – both internally for employees and decision-makers in the company, as well as external partners or service providers. We can divide the methods of distribution and education into:

  • Digital – through the cloud, project management platforms, VPNs, or dedicated applications.
  • Physical – printed versions for key decision-makers.
  • Trainings – organizing workshops and educating the team to ensure understanding and adherence to the guidelines.

Having a brand book is primarily about making conscious strategic decisions that can completely transform the way your brand is perceived. Are you ready to stand out from the competition and gain customer loyalty?Set a goal – let this guide serve as the first step on the path towards coherence and recognizability of your brand. Remember that every great brand started from the first page of its brand book. Now it's time for your story.