Summary: Brand Guidelines are the essence of your brand. They tell us who you are, what you do, and what you want to accomplish. They are the fuel for our tailor-made eLearning course. And we love them!
It’s a busy day at eWyse Agency. A new course production is underway, and our Learning Architect Anja is working on an important task – creating an instructive, interesting, and fun storyboard. Nothing eWyse can’t handle 🙂
Her laptop battery is running on fumes, and the letters on the keyboard are barely visible, because once our Learning Architects get to work – they get it done.
The Storyboard is shaping up pretty well! All the elements are already here; content restructured and presented in a cohesive and interesting way that will captivate our client’s target audience, gamification developed, and interactive exercises on point.
Let’s digress and get you into Anja’s mind for a quick second.
Jenny, the avatar of the course, has an important task. As an employee of a Pet Supplies Store, she has to present a new line of dog beds and convince the buyers that these new, state-of-the-art beds, can handle any challenge – a dog that just has to rip out the stuffing from everything from toys to beds, or a chilled oldtimer that wants to sleep all day.
But, in Anja’s vision, Jenny is a 20-something-old girl with freckles, brown, messy hair, and an orange dress. As she describes her appearance and brings Jenny to life, something starts to feel wrong.
That orange dress doesn’t sit quite right. Maybe it should be green? Or purple?
Before she continues to determine Jenny’s color preference, Anja sends out a message to our color/font/image/video/animation/ magicians – eWyse Instructional Designers.
Ivan is the first to respond to Anja’s cry for help.
“I really want that dress in orange. Can it be orange?” Anja asks.
“Nope”, Ivan responds without a flinch.
“But just this time.”
“Nope”, Ivan doesn’t give in.
“Okay, okay. Can I make it green then?”
“Green is fine, but only in two specific shades.”
“Can it have a splash of turquoise?”, Anja still gives it a shot.
“Nope.”, Ivan answers, leaving Jenny with no choice, and a closet full of green dresses.
As you can already tell, Instructional Designers are not here just to bring LA’s vision to life and create visually stunning courses, but to make sure all visual elements in the Storyboards are in line with the client’s brand guidelines.
So, why are brand guidelines so important?
Brand guidelines are a reflection of your company’s identity
Brand guidelines are rules and standards that define the look and the “feel” of your brand.
Also known as a “brand book”, or “brand style identity”, it is actually a manual that gives your brand consistency, makes it recognizable, and shows what your company represents.
Brand guidelines apply to anything connected with your company – from business cards, documents, and merchandise, to PowerPoint presentations, and of course, eLearning courses.
You communicate with your customers through your visual identity. That’s why it’s important always to use the same tools that represent your brand.
In a competitive business world, it is easy to stay in the shadow of companies with strong, easily recognizable identities, especially when the customers are emotionally connected with a brand that has been following them around since childhood.
An elaborate set of rules, or your brand style identity, ensures that your brand is represented in a consistent way that imprints into people’s minds. If they are able to recognize you wherever they go or see your logo, it will be easier for them to connect with you, and connections and emotions are crucial for good marketing.
Okay, now let’s elaborate on why Jenny’s dress just cannot be orange.
What must a good brand style guide contain?
Brand guidelines, also known as a brand book, because they are, well, compiled in a book format, should communicate everything your company stands for and wants to achieve.
That’s why it’s important to have a brand book that includes everything your brand is, not just how it looks, such as:
Your mission and values
You want your business partners and customers to know who you are and what you do. A clear outline of your products, services, and values that show what you want to accomplish, and why you exist as a company in the first place, helps us understand who you are and translate that into your course.
Brand personality and voice
Professional, friendly, authoritative, or relaxed? Just like people, each brand has its own personality, and our personality is represented in the way we speak and in the tone of our voice.
A list of adjectives, phrases, and words that you want to associate with your brand not only determines the way you communicate with your partners and customers but also helps us set the right tone for your eLearning course.
Make sure to specify your preferred tone of voice, adjectives you want to use in your brand’s descriptions, and also words you don’t want anyone to use while talking about your brand.
Logo design, variations, and usage
The logo is the core of your brand. It is a symbol that identifies your business, because when people see a logo they instantly connect it with the company.
Besides your primary logo, it’s important to add to all variations of your logo, because the size, color, or format of your primary logo might not be a perfect fit in every material that you want to produce.
All available sizes, file formats, color variations, and black-and-white secondary logos make sure your brand is still represented and recognizable in all digital and printed formats and help us choose the perfect variation for your course.
Just like logos, fonts are also a distinguishable aspect of your brand. They appear everywhere – on your website, printed materials, your presentations, and eLearning courses.
Specific details about the size of your font for titles, subtitles, or text body ensures we use the correct size when transferring the text from the Storyboard into your designed course.
The ultimate culprit why Jenny can’t wear an orange dress.
It is the main guide that our Instructional Designers follow when it comes to choosing a color of the elements in your eLearning course.
Following the primary and secondary color palettes with the specific hex code for each color, helps our designer stay consistent and use your exact shade every time.
Imagery, icons, and photography
Another element that our designers love to see in your book are images, icons, and photography examples.
We use a lot of illustrations, icons, and images in our courses, so having examples that represent your brand helps us understand your style better, and create a course that perfectly matches your style.
Brand guidelines in action - how we use them to create an eLearning course
Your brand identity is our number one priority from the second our Learning Architets hit the first letter on their keyboard.
Even though the imagination and creativity of our architects can sometimes lead them towards the wrong shade of green, our Instructional Designers are here to keep them in line with your brand guidelines and design a course that best conveys your visual identity.
Once the Storyboard is finished, Instructional Designers take the lead. First, they prepare a Moodboard – a collection of branding, style, and imagery elements, to show you what we intend to use in your course.
This way, you can check if everything is in line with your guidelines, and we can proceed with the development of your course in the right visual direction.
But, we don’t stop there. Our Instructional Designers, dedicated to avoiding even the smallest mistake in the design of your course, create a Demo of your course, or a teaser of your future course, and give us a chance to double-check if your brand is represented according to your vision and style.
Once we get your green light (green seems to be the leitmotif today, huh), we can continue with the design of a perfectly branded eLearning course.
Always follow your brand style identity
No matter if your business is big or small, brand guidelines are key to sending out your brand’s message in a cohesive and consistent way.
Without them, your brand would be lost in a sea of logos, colors, and fonts.
Your brand guidelines help you maintain your unique style and representation in every visual aspect, and they serve as our main reference point when designing your eLearning course.
So, are you ready to share your Brand Guidelines with us?
Author: Anja Pavlović