How to Make a Basic Logo Identity Guide for Your Clients

by Alabaweh Baweh -
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So you've spent hours, days, weeks designing the perfect logo for a client. Once you export those final files, it might feel like the design process is over. But is it? Surely it can be, but you can add immense value to your work by including a simple logo identity guide with your other assets. 

Why Send a Logo Identity Guide?

Brand identity is defined by a vast array of interacting elements, and it certainly doesn't start and end with the logo itself. Equally as important, if not more important, is how that logo is used to convey the brand's message. As a designer, you know better than most how logos can be used effectively. Why not share that with your client?

Taking the time to compile a simple logo identity guide teaches your customers how to use—and not use—their new logo. On the customer's side, a set of concise guidelines helps prevent mistakes or discrepancies in branding that could harm their image. And on your end, the small outlay of time benefits your business by adding an impressive layer of polish and professionalism to your product. 

Formatting the Document

Your logo identity guide does not have to be terribly complicated. Although there is a lot of information to convey, you can likely fit it all into a simple one-page PDF. The exact format is up to you, but you should ensure that the information is laid out in an organized, user-friendly way, and that you use imagery where appropriate. 

Oftentimes, a comprehensive brand identity guide will be formatted as a carefully designed visual document. However, unless you've been tasked with larger portions of a branding strategy, you likely don't need to concern yourself with elaborate designs for the logo guidelines themselves. Instead, use visual components to emphasize and explain the most important aspects of your guide.

Elements of an Identity Guide

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A logo identity guide should include comprehensive instruction as to how your logo should be used. The components will vary slightly based on the nature of the project, but there are certain elements that every project should address.

Color 

Color is an absolutely essential part of branding, so it's important to ensure consistency with the logo. In your guide, you should answer the following questions:

  • What colors should this logo be reproduced in? For simple monochrome logos, it may be possible to create versions of the logo in a variety of corporate colors. For ease of use, you can include a list of these colors (or even versions of the logo as it appears in each color), including specific hex, RGB, and CMYK codes for each tone.
  • What colors are used? If your logo incorporates multiple colors, defining the entire color palette can be invaluable as it allows customers to use identical colors in other branding or design applications. This is especially important if your logo is part of a larger rebranding effort. Again, these should be provided in multiple formats to accommodate multiple workflows.
  • How can this logo be used in black and white applications? Color often feels integral to a logo design, and it often is. However, there are a lot of scenarios in which a company might prefer or require a black and white version of their logo. In your guide, you can provide a grayscale or black and white version of the logo for such uses, along with guidelines about how this version should be presented.

Spacing

Appropriate spacing guidelines can ensure that a logo has room to breathe and that it isn't overwhelmed by other elements of a layout. It can also reinforce a brand's image, whether that be carefree or more traditional. In either case, while spacing might feel intuitive as a designer, your customers may not share the same background, and a little explanation can go a long way.

  • What margins should surround the logo? This answer might be a straightforward "0.25 inches on each side," or it might be more complicated, incorporating different guidelines for different applications. For instance, you might provide suggestions for how spacing should appear on a website versus printed ads versus mobile applications.
  • What kerning, leading, and tracking should be used in conjunction with the logo? Often, a tagline or motto is displayed with a logomark, so providing guidance on font spacing can ensure that surrounding text complements the image itself. This is even more important for consistency with logotypes.

 

Sizing and Orientation

Few things ruin the presentation of a logo like improperly sizing it, especially when it is not scaled proportionally. Emphasizing this point with clients can prevent unsightly stretched logos and similar mishaps.

  • What aspect ratio is this logo designed at? If you only include one bit of sizing information, include this.
  • How should this logo fit into a hierarchy of information? When the logo is used in conjunction with text, taglines, or other components, it's important to size the logo appropriately to maintain a hierarchy of information. Giving an idea of how large the logo should be in relation to other text can be useful.
  • What size should this logo be reproduced at? Providing a minimum and maximum size is sometimes helpful, although it may be overly restrictive.
  • Are there any differences in usage between horizontal and vertical documents? For instance, should the tagline or motto be moved based on the orientation of the design? Should the sizing or position in the hierarchy be different?

Use Across Mediums

Finally, you wouldn't expect to use the logo in exactly the same way on a receipt as on a website header. To that end, you should do your best to stipulate how any of the above considerations change between print and digital environments. 

One of the most impressive ways to do this is to incorporate mockups into your presentation. There's no better way to prove that your design works across mediums than to show your client exactly how their future products will look. A pack of mockup templates can make this process incredibly simple on your end and yet incredibly impressive to your customers. By purchasing and using mockups, you can easily educate about how the logo will look in real-life applications, which also generates excitement about the possibilities.

Next Steps

By now, you're hopefully convinced to incorporate logo identity guides into your future projects. If so, all you have to do is get yourself set up so that the process doesn't add too much time to your workflow.

  • Start thinking about use guidelines from the start of each project to minimize work at the end.
  • Communicate with clients about what would be most useful for them, including if they have specific questions.
  • Browse examples of brand identity guides for inspiration.  
  • Purchase reusable assets such as mockups to showcase your work to each client that you gain. 

With that, you'll be prepared to wow clients with a flawless, professional delivery package.