Now that we understand the core elements of brand design and how important brand guidelines are to establishing a company’s brand, let’s walk through some visual examples from top brands we know and love.
Be sure to click through and check out their microsites to fully experience the depth and context of these guidelines.
Over the years, brand guidelines have evolved and many of the big brands have microsites to easily share with external partners. Here are a few examples, starting with Starbucks. They share usage for their logo, colors, voice, typography, illustration, photography, and even a few case studies of their design in action. This microsite is truly beautiful, a brand expression in itself, and is an asset for communicating the Starbucks brand.
Uber also has a beautiful microsite to host their brand guidelines. Their guidelines cover 9 elements: Logo, color, composition, iconography, illustration, motion, photography, tone of voice, and typography. You even have the option to download the logo and other templates directly from these sections of the site.
YouTube’s brand guidelines live on a section of their website and is a bit more streamlined, all displayed within one page. A common section in the brand guidelines is to show what not to do with the logo. Usually, you don’t want to modify a brand’s logo in any form but just in case there is any confusion, a section like this is helpful to reference for external partners.
Dropbox also has a streamlined version of their guidelines. They share logo usage for the glyph and wordmark, placement, incorrect usages of the logo, application logos, product screenshots, and some disclaimer mentions for other uses.
Netflix’s brand microsite goes a step further and offers a login to share more assets. In their brand assets section, they share their logo and symbol with specs including the colors, placement, and also what not to do. If you’ve ever wondered the exact HEX color code of the Netflix logo, now you know.
Slack embeds their brand guideline document on the media kit page of their website. They’ve divided it up into three sections:
- Defining our brand — This section goes deep into the messaging and strategy behind the Slack brand.
- Design elements — This section covers the visual brand elements like logo lockups, color, typography, icons, illustration, motion, and more.
- Governance — This section dives more into general terms, trademarks, use requirements, basically the legal side of working with the Slack brand
Zendesk has a little fun with their branding microsite by naming it “Brandland”. Under “The brand” they share the basics such as philosophy, brand attributes, and messaging. Within “Design” they dive into brand identity, typography, color, and layout. They also share in detail guidelines for copywriting, film, and experiences.
Audi uses a well-designed microsite. They share brand appearance and basics under “Fundamentals”. Under their guide section, they go into detail for user interface, communication media, corporate branding, corporate sound, motion pictures, Audi motorsport, and dealer facility. What’s great to note about the design and organization of Audi’s brand guidelines is how on-brand they are. You can sense the luxury and sophistication.
Spotify’s brand guidelines are displayed on one webpage with links jumping to specific sections such as attribution, using our content, using our logos, using our colors, logos and naming restrictions, fonts, and more.
What can you learn from these brand guidelines?
These are just a few examples of brand guidelines and all the elements that make up brand design. Try researching your favorite brand, find their brand guidelines online, and see what you can learn. You’ll notice common themes but you may discover something new. Use these guidelines as inspiration to further understand branding.