Check if You Need a Brand Book and Define its Scope. Ready-Made Checklist!

  • Icon Holy Studio
    Holy Studio
  • 10 November 2023
  • 12 min reading
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Previously, we prepareda comprehensive guide-compendium on the brandbook, in which we discuss all the nuances of this essential document: from its definition, through individual elements, to the most common errors and business-image benefits. If you are at the beginning of your journey with branding, we definitely recommend starting with this article.

In this article, however, we focus on more detailed issues: when is the best time to create a brandbook and in what contexts it is most profitable. We will also discuss how to more easily define the individual needs of a brand, to understand the expected scope of the document and plan a budget for it. We advise why it is worth entrusting the design process to a professional branding studio. At the end of the post, we will also share with you an exhaustive list of 30 questions that will facilitate your decision to create a brandbook for your brand.

From this guide you will learn:

  • Why a brandbook is an important tool for your brand, regardless of the stage of its development
  • When it is best to start creating image guidelines and why it's never too late to do so
  • How to define realistic budgetary frameworks for a brandbook project, taking into account the current financial needs of the company
  • How to tailor this document to the unique features and values of your company, so that it is both aesthetic and functional
  • Why it is worthwhile to entrust the brandbook project to a branding studio
  • What questions should you ask yourself to assess whether you need a brand book at this stage?

When is the best time to create a brand book?

If you're just starting to build your brand, this is the perfect moment to focus on branding and establish the right guidelines. Has your brand been around for a long time? It's never too late to develop a robust brand book. The realization that complete, well-described, and collected guidelines in one place are necessary indicates that the best time to create them has arrived. Remember, without guidelines, it is extremely difficult to maintain consistency in the company's image at every stage of its life.

Launching a new brand

At this point, you are building the foundations for the company’s future development and creating an image that is worthy of trust. A brand book will help you clearly define the rules for collaboration in terms of visual communication of the brand, which will facilitate building recognition among customers and relationships with business partners. Moreover, establishing consistent guidelines from the start makes internal processes easier and helps present the spirit of the brand to new team members.

Company expansion

A brand book will be good support while entering new markets – irrespective of whether they are international or local markets. Thanks to the collected guidelines, you can more effectively adjust your messages to the specificity of these markets while maintaining consistency with the overall image of the brand.


Rebranding is a process that requires a lot of thought and analysis. At this stage, the brand book becomes a useful tool in maintaining visual and communication consistency, enabling effective updates of existing brand resources. It is also a time when it is worth considering adding additional content to the brand book, such as explaining the reasons for the rebranding, goals and objectives, and anticipated changes in communication and visual presentation of the brand.

Recurring difficulties in maintaining consistency

If you notice that your company is struggling with problems such as inconsistency in print, difficulty in presenting branding clearly and attractively, or problems in the graphic design process, it's a sign that you need a brand book. Regardless of the stage of development of your company, such a document will help you avoid mistakes and maintain consistency in your image. You'll protect against accidental changes in graphic designs, poorly chosen colors, violation of the rules for using your logo or company typography.

Building a marketing department

When a company's activity gains momentum, the time comes to hire new employees and collaborators, and often to create its own marketing department. At this point, a brandbook proves to be a kind of compendium of knowledge about the company, allowing for faster and more efficient onboarding of new team members in branding-related actions.

Preparation for investment or sale of the company

In such a case, having an extensive brandbook can increase the value of the brand, show that the company has prepared processes in this area, and make it more attractive to investors or potential buyers.

Consolidation and standardization

For companies with multiple branches or operating in multiple markets, a brandbook is an invaluable tool for unifying and standardizing brand-related activities. It ensures consistency in communication at different levels of the organization.

Introduction of new products and services

When introducing new products or services to your offer, ensuring brand image consistency is fundamental to success. With a good brandbook, the new elements of your offer will be presented in accordance with the existing brand image, enhancing their recognition and customer trust. Such a document will also facilitate the coordination of activities among different teams responsible for the creation and promotion of the novelties.

Protection of intellectual property

A brandbook can also serve as a tool to protect the company's intellectual property. Documented guidelines and trademark reservations serve as evidence that branding is protected and cannot be used by other entities.

Starting cooperation with new partners and suppliers

If you work with other companies – such as advertising agencies, print shops, or freelancers – responsible for different aspects of marketing and design, having a brandbook will help you maintain consistency in visual communication across various fronts.

Defining the scope

Brand situation audit

Begin by thoroughly analyzing the current situation of the brand and identifying your problems. Summarize what you already have and what you are missing. To achieve this, focus on these three actions:

  • Inventory of branding resources – check which elements of your company's visual identity are already prepared, and which of them need changes, extension, or to be designed.
  • SWOT Analysis – prepare an analysis of strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and threats that your brand's image faces, to preliminarily assess the scope of changes.
  • Gathering feedback from the team – ask your team (mainly marketing and design departments) for opinions about the current visual identity and brand communication, to understand where difficulties and gaps occur, what has been working so far, and what could be improved.

Individual approach

Creating a brand book combines creativity with an analytical approach. It is crucial to tailor the content of the document to the unique needs and values of your company. Such a brand book should be not only aesthetically pleasing but primarily functional, comprehensible, and custom-made. Here are a few aspects worth considering at the initial stage.

Industry characteristics

To create a strong brand, you must understand the market you operate in. This will help you better understand which aspects of branding are key for your industry and what the customers' expectations may be.

Mission and vision of the company

A brand book should reflect the core values and the development direction of your company. Think about what your brand represents and what kind of image you want to present to your customers.

Research and Analysis Results

While comprehensive market research can provide valuable information about your customers' expectations, it's not always available due to budgetary reasons. In many cases, simple opinion polls are sufficient and can help understand the needs and expectations of your target group. It’s crucial to properly construct such a survey.

Even without conducting research, you can create a valuable brand book. However, remember that information obtained from research can help more accurately tailor the document to your needs and enrich its content.

Structure and Content

The scope of the document can vary – from a basic brand manual, consisting of a few pages, to an extensive, multi-page document known as a brand book. When preparing the expected structure, consider elements such as:

  • visual identity – includes color schemes, typography, or guidelines concerning logos, icon systems, illustrations, or other graphic elements
  • communication – these are guidelines regarding the tone of communication, writing style, as well as example templates of messages
  • practical applications – namely examples that show how to use visual identity elements in different contexts, e.g., on a website, in promotional materials, or on social media
  • so-called dos and don’ts – it's a clear compilation of specific examples of what we consider good practice and what we see as a mistake that should be avoided in the context of visual presentation and brand communication
  • additional materials – these could be, for example, case studies that show how branding has been applied in practice, or FAQs that help solve common problems.

Budget Planning

Every good brand book is the result of the work of a design team and specialists in branding and marketing. Superficial needs analysis, poor decisions, lack of understanding of the brand vision, or mismatched designs can lead to unnecessary costs associated with revisions or misguided investments. Therefore, it’s important to know what the main components of the cost of creating a brand book are.

Cost of creating the document

Estimate the cost of creating various elements of a brand book, taking into account both the time and the resources needed to complete them. This is not only an investment in the future of the company, but also a safeguard against potential long-term costs resulting from an unverified contractor or lack of solid branding projects, which are the basis of the document. Consider these components in your pricing:

  • Graphic Design – Choosing the wrong contractor can result in mismatched designs or a lack of understanding of the brand's vision, which can lead to additional costs from revisions or the need to start work again.
  • Texts – Preparing clear and comprehensible descriptions, guidelines, and brand story is a crucial part of the brand book. In the pricing, include the cost associated with content creation.
  • Print layout and production – If you plan to have physical copies of the brand book, consider the costs of production and printing.

Retrospective financial analysis

Try to assess, how much your company might have lost due to the lack of image guidelines in the past., as well as the financial benefits that can be gained from its implementation. These financial benefits include, among others: avoiding errors and corrections in marketing materials, more effective image-building activities, and fewer problems in cooperation with printers, advertising agencies, or designers.

Realistic Budget Framework

Consider how much your company can allocate for this purpose without subjecting itself to too great of a financial burden. Remember thatcreating a brand book is an investment in the future of the company, but it also requires taking into account current financial needs.

Checklist: Do I need a brand book?

If you have doubts and are wondering whether at this stage you need to invest in such a document, use this list of auxiliary questions. The answers will help you determine whether a brand book is a tool that will strengthen the position of your brand.

  1. Is consistent brand communication important to me?
  2. Does my company already have a defined visual identity and a way in which it communicates?
  3. Have I previously had problems with inconsistent image communication or improper use of my brand's visual elements?
  4. Do you see the need to organize or standardize your brand's image across different materials?
  5. Do you want greater control over how your brand is presented in various contexts?
  6. Do you ever use the services of external providers (e.g. graphic designers, photographers, printers, advertising agencies) in the process of creating marketing materials?
  7. Do you want the execution of these services to be adapted to the standardized needs of your brand?
  8. Would one complete tool standardizing brand guidelines make cooperation with business partners – contractors, suppliers easier?
  9. Are you planning rebranding or significant changes in your brand's image?
  10. Does my company operate globally or in multiple regional markets?
  11. Is my company open to sales or marketing cooperation with other companies?
  12. Do you participate in industry fairs, exhibitions, or conferences?
  13. Do you maintain contact with the media or engage in PR activities?
  14. Does my brand have its own stores or service points?
  15. Are you planning to organize corporate events, conferences, or client meetings?
  16. Are you planning to expand your offer with new products or services in the future?
  17. Does my brand have different customer segments or target groups?
  18. Do I intend to acquire investors or business partners?
  19. Am I considering selling my brand in the future?
  20. Do I intend to expand my business to other markets or market segments?
  21. Do I want to build brand recognition on different platforms – such as a website, social media, etc.?
  22. Do I plan to develop my brand, invest in promotional and branding activities?
  23. Do I need to protect my company's image?
  24. Has my company faced legal or image-related brand conflicts in the past?
  25. Does my brand have visual identification elements that distinctly differentiate it from the competition? Are my legal advisors aware of their existence?
  26. Do I want to facilitate design processes and ensure a uniform approach to creating marketing materials?
  27. Are the guidelines for elements such as logos, corporate colors, fonts, and other visual elements of the brand completely clear to me and my team?
  28. Do my employees or partners responsible for various image and promotional works have difficulty maintaining visual consistency?
  29. Do I plan to collaborate with influencers or brand ambassadors and easily present them with branding guidelines?
  30. Does my company need a tool to educate new employees about the culture and values of the brand?

The answers to the above questions will help determine whether your company needs a brand book as a tool for building visual and communication consistency, and protecting the brand image.

To remember

A brand book can help facilitate design processes, collaboration with suppliers, and building brand recognition.

Best with a branding studio – why?

In search of the right contractor for a brand book, you can encounter many challenges and doubts. The market offers a variety and choosing a proven designer is not the easiest task. A branding studio, a freelance graphic designer, advertising agencies, social media teams, or perhaps some other option? Who will best understand your needs and vision?

Trusting a professional branding studio can be a strategic move for your brand. Here's why:


A branding studio specializes in building a brand from the ground up. It has a team of specialists who know best – having gained knowledge and experience by focusing exclusively on branding projects. You can therefore rely on a deep understanding of your brand's needs and the highest level of expertise.

A holistic approach to the brand

A branding studio thinks of your brand holistically. It will not only design your company's image but also help develop a strategy that will be consistently implemented across different platforms — not only visual but also communication ones, ensuring coherence and clarity of every element.

Experience in storytelling

Creating a strong, recognizable brand requires telling its story in an engaging way. A branding studio will help you develop a unique brand language that will allow you to stand out from the competition and build an authentic relationship with customers through creating a persuasive, consistent, and engaging narrative, including visual aspects.

Strengthen your brand

Ready for changes? It's time for good branding. Let's talk about the possibilities.

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In the process of building a strong and recognizable brand, a key element is creating an effective brandbook. This document not only allows for consistent and coherent communication with the audience but is also an indispensable tool for the internal team and external partners.

To remember:

  1. It's the right moment to create a brandbook if:
    • You are on the threshold of a new adventure with your brand.
    • You are planning expansion or considering rebranding.
    • You've noticed that it's hard to maintain the consistency of your brand.
    • You want to unify actions or introduce new products/services.
    • You're thinking about strategic changes in your company.
  2. How to define the scope of your brand book?
    • Conduct an analysis of your brand's current position and owned branding assets.
    • Take into account the specifics of your industry and business.
    • Collect feedback from your team and creative partners.
    • Determine the necessary structure and content of the brand book.
    • Decide which branding elements require designing or changes.
    • Set a budget, remembering the complex costs of creating the document and potential future benefits.
  3. In case of doubts, use a checklist. By answering a few questions, you'll gain certainty about whether your company really needs a brand book.
  4. Why is it worth relying on the experience of specialists?
    • You will benefit from their expertise in branding.
    • You will gain a holistic view of your brand.
    • You will learn how to effectively tell a compelling story of your business.

A brand is more than just a logo or a slogan – it's a concrete commitment to your customer. Brand guidelines help you consistently keep that commitment in every aspect of your business activities. By investing in a well-thought-out tool such as a brand book, you're building the foundations for the long-term success of your brand.