Brand guidelines tell a brand’s story and specifics, from its mission and motto to its logo and typography in marketing materials and social media platforms. This set of rules is essential for a brand’s marketing team, as it outlines, in detail, how all communication for the brand should happen.
Brand guidelines are also sometimes called style guides or brand identity rules. Brands typically share their guidelines with advertising teams, partnered influencers, investors, and public relations specialists to ensure a cohesive brand across all channels and reinforce brand awareness.
As you create your own standards, explore some of the best examples of brand guidelines we’ve collected in this guide. They showcase layouts, messaging, and unique brand guideline formats that effectively communicate how a brand should look to the public.
The following examples of brand guidelines are sorted alphabetically for your convenience but are not ranked in any particular order.
50 Best Brand Guidelines Examples from Real Companies
Why it works: The brand guidelines for Adidas, seen here on Issuu, focus mostly on its logo for corporate branding. The document even goes as far as to detailing the specific dimensions of each horizontal bar relative to one another, offering concise and clear instructions to designers and marketers.
Why it works: ALTERIOR’s brand guidelines showcase its approved messaging to ensure that its marketing aligns with its mission. It also offers a few color combinations using its brand color palette as a visual for how they work together.
3. American Red Cross
Why it works: Unlike other brands that have pages of brand guidelines, American Red Cross keeps things simple with a printable poster. The one-page document still does an excellent job of including all the details one would need for a comprehensive picture of the brand.
4. Barre & Soul
Why it works: Barre & Soul’s brand guidelines include multiple versions of its logo to allow options for marketers, influencers, and other digital promoters. It also offers a few examples of using its logo on photo backgrounds with different coloring to help it stand out.
5. Boy Scouts of America
Why it works: The Boy Scouts of America have several emblems and badges people could use for marketing materials and digital promotions. However, its guidelines include 90+ pages of detailed information explaining how to use its imagery and messaging across social channels, emails, and more. A comprehensive section on design and layout can also help packs and councils looking to create their own websites.
6. Coulee Bank
Why it works: Coulee Bank’s brand guidelines exemplify minimalistic, non-lengthy standards. Despite being short, it includes all the basics, like typography, logo placement, and alternative logos.
7. Denver Public Schools
Why it works: Denver Public Schools show why school systems can also benefit from brand guidelines. Its 50-page document sets standards for its website and webpages, various department logos and colors, and typography.
Why it works: Dropbox uniquely features a brand standards guideline on a Dropbox-built website with links to pages of information about its logo, layouts, customer journey, and more.
Why it works: The playful use of primary colors in EduGames’ brand guidelines makes others quickly note that it gears its products toward children. EduGames adds information about real people who use its games and branding information about EduGames partnerships, which are rare to find in brand standards.
10. Fabric IT
Why it works: Placed on a dark gray background, Fabric IT’s colorful elements of its branding kit are visually appealing. The guide’s design is also a good introduction to the brand’s IT-focused services. View a snippet of Fabric IT’s guidelines from Ahoy, its branding designer.
11. Face Palm
Why it works: Cosmetics and skincare brand Face Palm highlights its natural products in its brand guidelines by weaving in illustrations and photos of palm leaves and fresh-faced models. The brand does an excellent job telling its story and describing its target audience.
12. Forty Fifty Fabulous
Why it works: Forty Fifty Fabulous’s brand guidelines display several photos of women in their middle stages of life, just like the brand represents, driving home the idea of who its products and services are for.
Why it works: An older version of Foursquare’s brand guidelines clearly explains what not to do with its logo and logo mark, including using some color combinations together.
Why it works: Hummer uses lots of imagery in its brand guidelines, which you can view on Issuu, to illustrate its history and how the brand has transformed and continues to transform into an adventure-focused brand.
Why it works: Rather than have a digital book like other companies, Instagram uses a brand guidelines webpage with instructions and downloadable assets for others to use. This format is easy for brand partners to bookmark and use for future reference.
16. IRT FlexiCare
Why it works: IRT FlexiCare’s standards effectively display several advertising examples to give marketers specifics on how to use its assets in various forms, like large posters and multi-page brochures.
17. Jamie Oliver
Why it works: Jamie Oliver’s guidelines show how a single-person brand can benefit from setting specific standards as much as a multi-department organizaion. They also exemplify the brand’s motto, “Keep it simple,” with minimalistic pages and instructions.
Why it works: Jetlag states right in its brand guide that its aesthetic is vintage and nostalgic, and this vibe is visually illustrated across the guideline’s pages. Bright colors against a cream-colored background pop for its audience.
19. J&J Farms
Why it works: J&J Farms offers a simplistic guide with lots of helpful information for designers and partners. In its brand standards guide on Issuu, you’ll find more than just logo, imagery, and color guidance; there’s also instructions for staff uniforms, shopping bags, and shipping boxes.
Why it works: Kindthread uses very clear and straightforward instructions to help others use its logos and designs properly. For instance, rather than give specific measurements for spacing, it says to allow the height of the letter ‘k’ around all sides of its logo.
Why it works: The concept brand guidelines for this brand target its personality well, right down to its iconography section with whimsical illustrations of the fruits it uses in its products.
22. McDonald’s McDelivery
Why it works: Nearly 40 pages of guidelines are included in the brand standards for McDonald’s McDelivery, giving others a comprehensive look at the brand and its design. Its examples of messaging and logo usage are especially detailed and helpful for designers, and its legal section ensures that designs meet legal standards.
Why it works: As a publishing website, it’s not surprising that Medium includes several pages about typography and design in its brand guidelines. What makes it stand out is its standards for the different types of posts it publishes, how they should look on mobile devices, and how the desktop and mobile site should appear with light and dark interfaces.
Why it works: Audio company Meridian’s guidelines do an excellent job of detailing the brand’s messaging standards. For instance, it explains its writing style as “sparing and concise” and “technical when it needs to be” to keep messaging consistent across all platforms.
25. Miami Dolphins
Why it works: Even professional sports teams create brand guidelines, like this set of standards from the Miami Dolphins. Its section on community impact can be beneficial for potential brand partners to read.
26. Myrtle Beach
Why it works: Myrtle Beach does an excellent job of explaining exactly why it’s more than just a beach and is, instead, a whole brand. Its guidelines include several examples of phrasing, keywords, and messaging that can be helpful for marketers.
Why it works: NASA’s in-depth standards manual shows its logo on everything from space shuttles to vehicles to detail exactly what it should look like in any circumstance. There are also unique pull-out color swatches to ensure the brand’s colors are cohesive in all of its branding.
28. Nike Pro Services
Why it works: The Nike Pro Services brand manual leaves its pages relatively bare to make its branding elements pop. This technique lets others have a concise, distraction-free look at its allowable colors, logos, patterns, and more.
Why it works: Organic restaurant NJORD uses eye-catching coloring and minimalist design to get its mission and brand personality across. It also uniquely has style suggestions to uniquely change its menu coloring to reflect the seasons, like muted orange for fall and beige for winter.
30. Northwest School
Why it works: The designer for Northwest School gives a glimpse of its brand guidelines on its website, which pinpoints precisely how the school’s website, mobile site, and magazine should look after its rebrand.
Why it works: The designers for Olipop’s brand guidelines used color and photography wonderfully throughout to highlight its different varieties and give examples of how to show them off in marketing materials.
Why it works: OnePort keeps its guidelines very straightforward with guidance on colors, corporate materials, and logo placements. Its section on image application differs from the norm, giving some examples of using overlays properly to enhance or add interesting elements to photos.
Why it works: The bread and butter of Optus’s brand guidelines is its mascot information, which even includes sketches of various poses to inspire designers as they create materials for the brand.
35. Rind Candle Co.
Why it works: Rind Candle Co. outlines its preferences for patterns, textures, and coloring by using whimsical illustrations in its guidelines representative of the kind of personality it wants to display.
Why it works: Although most people likely know what Skype is, the brand’s standards take things a step further to help others understand the mission behind the brand. Its conversational approach works well, especially its engaging and lighthearted introductory comic strip.
Why it works: Shazam is well-known for its logo and simple blue-and-white color scheme. However, its style guide offers other options for monochromatic and color logos to give designers a few more options.
38. Sleeping Bear Wildlife Fund
Why it works: Clean pages with plenty of spacing keep eyes focused on the standards for the Sleeping Bear Wildlife Fund. The guidelines also explain the different types of logo files designers and marketers might receive and their best uses to clear up any confusion.
39. SR2/Socially Responsible Recruitment
Why it works: SR2 uses its beloved mascot dog throughout its brand standards, ensuring that marketers and designers understand the importance of using the mascot, too. There’s also a section on secondary coloring, which can be useful for highlighting important messaging on marketing materials.
Why it works: Starbucks’ interactive guidelines are right on its website, which uses simple navigation to move through the company’s mission, logos, voice, photography, and more. A clean design makes it easy for anyone to get the necessary information.
41. The Body Shop at Home UK
Why it works: The Body Shop at Home UK turns its guidelines into more of a magazine-style spread with lots of information about its products, including suggested retail pricing, usage, and sizes.
42. The Good Kids Brand Studio
Why it works: As a brand studio, The Good Kids knows what it takes to create beautiful, cohesive branding. It’s not surprising, then, that its brand guidelines showcase everything someone needs to know about its brand, including how often to emphasize its brand’s colors.
43. The Home Planner Co.
Why it works: The Home Planner Co.’s checklist page of its brand standards ensures that no one leaves out the most critical components of its branding.
44. The Museum of Bad Art
Why it works: The Museum of Bad Art has an in-your-face personality, which its brand guidelines put front and center with offbeat language and icons. It even includes some not-so-nice quotes people have said about the museum, along with counterpoints. After looking through the digital book, viewers should know exactly what kind of vibe the brand puts forward.
45. Tropicana Las Vegas
Why it works: Tropicana Las Vegas does a great job of explaining how to put together its digital components, like website pages and email templates, to keep its personality and branding shining through every marketing piece.
Why it works: Unlike other companies, Truth’s brand guidelines look quite different from its understated website. However, because it’s a branding agency, Truth demonstrates how well it can transform other brands with exciting, company-focused branding.
47. Urban Outfitters
Why it works: Urban Outfitters has always been about trendy apparel and accessories, and its brand guidelines emanate that from cover to cover with eye-catching imagery, bold colors, and pages that pop.
48. Visa Digital
Why it works: It may only be 22 pages long, but Visa Digital’s guidelines pack in each necessary piece of information. Because this set of standards focuses on the company’s digital brand, it even includes guidance on sounds, animations, and other sensory elements.
Why it works: YouTube is easily one of the most recognizable brands on the planet, but it still offers website-based brand resources to achieve effective branding.
Why it works: Find 82 pages of Zoom guidelines that help designers, marketers, and partners get everything right when talking about the company. It even outlines the process for affiliate partners to link to Zoom properly.
Your brand guidelines spell out what you want marketers, designers, and the world to know about your business. Make them as detailed or simple as you’d like, but be sure to spread your most important messaging, personality points, and style details across its pages.
Social media plays a big role in brand awareness. When you install ShareThis share buttons on your blog or website to grow your social media presence, you’ll give your visitors an easy way to share your content with their social media networks. Plus, you can customize the look and feel of your share buttons, creating a sophisticated and cohesive look that’s perfectly in tune with your brand.