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What Great Brands Do PDF by Denise Lee Yohn. Leave a Comment / Business, Non-fiction / By BOOKSPDF4FREE STAFF. Download What Great Brands Do PDF: The Seven Brand-Building Principles That Separate the Best from the Rest by Denise Lee Yohn published on 7th January 2014. Read the soft copy of this book anytime, anywhere and download it for free! Oct 29, 2021 A great free brand identity template you can also use to craft brand manuals. This template comes with 46 unique page layouts in A4 and US Letter size. The template is also available in Illustrator and InDesign file formats. A partnership agreement can help you create the right agreement for your deal. 8+ Collaboration Agreement Templates - Download Now Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word (DOC), Google Docs, Apple (MAC) Pages. Agreement Templates in Apple Pages. 330+ Agreement Templates in Word.
- 1. Cohesive Brand Guidelines
- 2. Typographic Brand Guidelines
- 3. Extensive Brand Guidelines
- 4. Minimalist Brand Guidelines
- 5. Voice & Tone Guidelines
- 6. Grid-Based Brand Guidelines
- 7. Inspirational Brand Guidelines
Brand integrity is a fragile thing, so it needs to be treated as such. Brand guidelines are, in essence, your owner’s manual on how to “use” your brand. These guidelines will be referenced by everyone who touches your brand, internally or externally, and will often be partially reused in future brand identity revisions. Because of that, it’s important that you define enough of the guidelines to keep your brand consistent, but keep them short enough that contributors can actually digest all of the rules.
With that in mind, I’ve gathered some of the best publicly available brand guidelines that I could find in order to help you brainstorm what should go into your own brand guidelines. Whether you’re looking to produce a document that’s fairly straightforward, or complex and in-depth, you should find a resource in this list.
A Quick Note on Automated Brand Guideline Tools
Editors Note, 2019-11: Our services team at Content Harmony was always putting together quick one-off brand guidelines to support content marketing clients, so I’m excited by this new tool launched by our friends at 1Brand that automates the process of building basic brand guidelines. Take a look at the following demo video they put together with some of Content Harmony’s design styles:
- Capture styles from your existing website.
- Customize the assumed defaults inside of 1brand.
- Save and share your new brand guidelines with your team, vendors, etc.
Give it a shot at 1Brand.co.
OK, now back to the brand guidelines examples:
Cohesive Brand Guidelines
What Great Brands Do PDF Free Download And Install
Company: Optus // Designers: Various
Click here to see Optus’s brand guidelines
When your brand identity goes as far as your mascot on shopping bags as your customers walk out the door – I think you’re doing pretty well. Optus is a cellular services provider in Australia, so you may not be familiar with their name or brand. As a result, take this as a great opportunity to explore a new brand without bias.
Company: LinkedIn // Designer: LinkedIn – Internal
Click here to see LinkedIn’s brand guidelines
Even though LinkedIn is primarily a website and mobile app, they make sure to cover any print materials. They have one of the cleanest brand guidelines I have come across – full of resources, even downloadable print and web color pallettes to import when designing new collateral.
What Great Brands Do Pdf Free Downloads
Company: JEGS // Agency: Origo Branding
Click here to see JEGS’ brand guidelines 
Even if you’ve never heard of JEGS, you can tell what industry the company is in based on the visual cues they use throughout their brand guidelines. This is a great use of industry concepts to build coherence throughout their brand guidelines.
Company: Asana // Designers: Asana – Internal & Moving Brands
Click here to see Asana’s brand guidelines (ZIPs)
It’s one thing to list a bunch of adjectives describing your brand, but it’s better to help everyone understand “Why?” they describe the brand. In this example Asana also goes into the ratio and origin of where the three dots come from (hint: it’s the counter of the “a” in Asana). They even wrote an in-depth Medium article about the process and symmetry of the three dots.
Company: *Santa* // Agency: Quietroom
Click here to see *Santa*’s brand guidelines
Although this is a “concept”, and not an actual brand, Quietroom showed us one important thing with *Santa*: If you’re a fun brand then you should show it – with everything you do. Stay light-hearted, because that’s what you’re known for, not just a big man stuffing himself down your chimney in the middle of the night.
Typographic Brand Guidelines
Company: Telenav‘s Scout // Designer: Telenav – Internal
Click here to see Scout’s brand guidelines
Let’s face it, your brand’s text won’t always appear on white backgrounds, so Scout shows us how to prepare for alternate colors. This is a very straightforward example, and honestly, it doesn’t need to be more complicated than this.
Company: Truth. // Agency: SocioDesign
Click here to see Truth.’s brand guidelines
Truth., as a branding agency, shows just how good they are at what they do. Subtlety may be one of their strengths, but they went purely bold throughout all of their brand guidelines.
8. Macaroni Grill
Company: Macaroni Grill // Agency: Superbig Creative
Click here to see Macaroni Grill’s brand guidelines
The way Superbig Creative laid out the brand guidelines reads like a book – it’s beautiful. Creating a custom font isn’t easy, it needs its own style guide, and that’s just what was done for Macaroni Grill.
9. Beats by Dre
Company: Beats by Dre // Agency: R/GA
Click here to see Beats’ brand guidelines
Sometimes it’s better to “hit them over the head” with simple examples.
Company: KAE // Agency: SocioDesign
Click here to see KAE’s brand guidelines
There are only 9 pages in the brand guidelines for KAE, so it’s clear that typographic expression is a major identifier for the brand – big enough to take up an entire page. Also of note, SocioDesign did an excellent job creating a rich brand presence through bold serifs and copper colors via web, and foil via print.
Extensive Brand Guidelines
Company: ESPN // Agency: Dalma Design Inc.
Click here to see ESPN’s brand guidelines
At 45 pages long, Dalma Design gave ESPN’s brand guidelines links to each section for easier use. The easier that you can either make things to use or readable, the better it is for your users.
12. Boy Scouts of America
Company: Boy Scouts of America // Designer: BSA – Internal
Click here to see the BSA’s brand guidelines
Because the nature of BSA’s operating platform is based upon small community membership, funding isn’t always a luxury. So, to help parents and leaders maintain the brand integrity it’s important to demonstrate the appropriate usage. Overall, the brand guidelines were jam packed full of information and enjoyable to go through – as some can seem like pulling teeth.
13. Destination Canada
Company: Destination Canada // Agency: DDB Group Canada
Click here to see Destination Canada’s brand guidelines
Table Design? Whoa. 104 pages later, I get it – I officially know how to market Canada.
Company: Mohawk Fine Papers // Agency: Pentagram
Click here to see Mohawk’s brand guidelines
Mohawk and their products have become more dynamic, so why not their identity too? Pentagram did an incredible job reflecting their brand through the products. Now that Mohawk Fine Papers has adapted to the digital work with Mohawk Connects, this new brand identity literally pops off of the paper, and the screen – see what I did there?
Company: Centric // Agency: Gretel
Click here to see Centric’s brand guidelines
Branding a television channel is an interesting task. Gretel has some beautiful transitions mixed with textures, lines, photos and text in their case study. The use of duotones photos has become a huge trend, courtesy of companies like Spotify. If anything, you can walk away with ideas of how to control the way your UX is designed, and some simple .gifs included in your brand guidelines .pdf is a great solution.
Minimalist Brand Guidelines
Company: Uber // Designer: Uber Internal
Click here to see Uber’s brand guidelines
The way their branding subdomain is set up allows the user to only see what they need; rather than, having to rifle through a few dozen pages. Also, once the user clicks on the desired portion, those pages are very clean and visually legible.
Company: Vanvero // Agency: Brendan Lane
Click here to see Vanvero’s brand guidelines
Brendan Lane trimmed all of the fat, and replaced it with beautiful imagery to reiterate what the brand does – creates digital camera accessories to allow photographers to capture incredible footage. He also laid out all of the necessary examples of logo and wordmark do’s & don’ts; as well as, voice, about, color, typography and more, into just 13 pages.
Company: Chempoint // Agency: Hornall Anderson
Click here to see Chempoint’s brand guidelines
Hornall Anderson went with a very simple black, white, and blue branding. Thus, it’s very simple and translates well across all media, so there’s not much hand-holding to do.
Company: OntraPort.com // Agency: Studio-JQ
Click here to see OntraPort.com’s brand guidelines
The bold use of navy page dividers and large section numbers makes and easy use of referral for the team to use internally. With large examples of company logos, typography, icons, and more, OntraPort definitely set up for success.
20. Red Cross
Company: Red Cross // Designer: Red Cross – Internal
Click here to see Red Cross’s brand guidelines poster
A brand “one-sheeter” is an excellent quick, desk-side reference. Even after you’ve made your in-depth brand guidelines, please make a one-sheeter for everyone within your company.
Voice & Tone Guidelines
Company: Skype // Designer: Skype – Internal
Click here to see Skype’s brand guidelines
Giving great branded examples throughout your brand guidelines really shows “how” everyone should be presenting the brand. You may think that the basic “do’s and don’t” are enough, but they can still be misconstrued and used incorrectly – it just makes a sound brand presence.
Company: Amazon // Designer: Amazon – Internal
Click here to see Amazon’s brand guidelines
Using the correct voice, even layout, in advertisements is crucial. You need to make sure you’re saying “the right thing.” Using a CTA depends on the product and where you’re advertising, and Amazon went as far as giving examples of both on-site and off-site ads in the brand guidelines.
Company: Fandango // Agency: Gelcomm
Click here to see Fandango’s brand guidelines
Break it down. Fandango has 4 main branded words their using, and next to each word the present get examples of just what they mean, and how to use them. This is a great example of speaking to those reading your brand guidelines like a human. Kudos.
24. DFW Airport
Company: DFW Airport // Agency: Interbrand
Click here to see DFW’s brand guidelines
I was traveling through DFW Airport when the new branding launched. So, I can’t help but feel like I had something to do with it – but, in reality, when I read the article about the new branding I had to give them a nod. They clearly went through and extensive process to lay their ground rules: so much so, that they color-coded their voice guidelines. That’s a technique I hadn’t seen before. Who knew color-coding could be innovative?
25. IT Job Board (now Dice)
Company: IT Job Board (now Dice) // Agency: Ragged Edge
Click here to see IT Job Board’s brand guidelines
Taking the step to further promote your brand voice with reminders around the office is a great cue to take from IT Job Board (now known as Dice).
26. MailChimp – Voice & Tone Guide
Company: MailChimp // Designer: MailChimp – Internal
Click here to see MailChimp’s voice & tone brand guidelines
MailChimp is a great SaaS email platform that makes email marketing way easier (it’s our go-to tool). So, it only makes sense that their voice and tone would be supportive and uplifting. There’s nothing like getting a big ol’ slap on the back from your software.
Grid-Based Brand Guidelines
27. 1968 Mexico City Olympics
Company: 1968 Mexico City Olympics // Designer: Lance Wyman
Click here to see the 1968 Mexico City Olympics brand guidelines
You cannot create and identity like this without a grid. Although this event may be known for something else, this branding identity won’t soon be forgotten, because of the bold brand identity of the Olympics. It’s remarkable how the design team was able to transfer the heavy line design throughout the Olympics, from the stadium design to apparel design.
28. Demand Media
Company: Demand Media // Agency: Manual Creative
Click here to see Demand Media’s brand guidelines
Manual Creative found a great way to repurpose Demand Media’s logo to break up their print and web formatting. Rather than shrinking and dissecting their logo, they blew it up to create unique negative space that would be hard to conceive otherwise.
Company: Gandour // Agency: SocioDesign
Click here to see Gandour’s brand guidelines
Now this grid is a bit extensive, but you can see why the designer went as far as they did for the sake of symmetry. Upon further review of their website, I don’t see this particular logo being use, nor the grid – but it would be incredible to see what they could come up with from the grid.
Company: TBS // Agency: Sean Heisler
Click here to see TBS’s brand guidelines
Oh, the simplicity. Thank you – thank you. If you click on Sean’s link, you will see the versatility of the logo through the images and colors he applies. Sort of a has a mid-80’s MTV feel, fast-forward to today.
31. District Circle
Company: District Circle // Agency: BASIC
The Golden Ratio, and copy guidelines – BASIC built a great unit of measurement for District Circle to follow. Including the Golden Ratio is something I wouldn’t have thought about, but it’s clear (especially in the lower left layout) how much of a difference it can make.
Inspirational Brand Guidelines
32. Inter Miami FC
Company: Proposed Inter Miami FC // Designer: Diego Guevara
Click here to see the Conceptual Inter Miami FC’s brand guidelines
This a fictional brand, created by a fan in hopes of a new MLS soccer team coming to Miami. He went through a very thorough branding process just to show how well the city of Miami could be represented by a new addition. These brand guidelines really get the point across by explaining the meaning behind every shape and line – that’s a step often overlooked in many brand guidelines.
33. Kansas State University
Company: Kansas State University // Designer: K-State – Internal
Click here to see Kansas State University’s brand guidelines
You may think you have hit all of the nails on the head, but remember how many swings it took to do so. People will have questions, they always do. One way to speak to that is to include a great Q&A at the end with internal contact information.
34. Calgary Chamber of Commerce
Company: Calgary Chamber of Commerce // Artist: Iancu Barbarasa
Click here to see the Calgary Chamber of Commerce’s brand guidelines
Using branded elements to carry throughout all of your brand collateral reiterates brand stability. These are very forward-thinking, financial-based brand guidelines that many conservative companies can use as a jumping-off-point.
35. University of Dayton
Company: University of Dayton // Designer: University of Dayton – Internal
Click here to see University of Dayton’s brand guidelines
Even though the University of Dayton has incredibly conservative brand standards, they managed to find a coherent way to market themselves in a way that is relatable to their market: all while maintaining their brand integrity. By the way, their institutional brand guidelines are 46 pages long, and it doesn’t even include their athletic marks – impressive.
36. Jones Soda Co.
Company: Jones Soda Co. // Agency: Superbig Creative
Click here to see Jones Soda Co’s brand guidelines
Identifying your products as specific brand colors is another great cohesive branding style. In Jones Soda’s case, they are using this as a guide to show the three primary color IDs (Pantone, CMYK, and RGB) to help maintain the branding across all of their brand mediums. Companies often separate their products from their brand guidelines, but Superbig Creative found a seamless way to combine everything into one.
My goal with this article was to show you a collection of some brands that are doing it right.
These are just a few of the many brand guidelines that I found interesting available on the internet. Please feel free to follow the links I have provided to the either the companies or agencies to see some other amazing projects.
If you’re just getting started with your brand guidelines, take a look at my last article, How To Produce Your First Brand Style Guide. When you’re ready to expand beyond that, Graham “Logo” Smith provides us with a free 14-Page Brand Identity Guidelines Template to get you started. Just add a few pages to talk about your voice, show some examples of brand usage, and add a Q&A at the end.
Do you know of a great brand guidelines document out there that we missed? Maybe one that you worked on?
Leave a note in the comments for others to check it out!
Great brands become that way by doing the things that others don’t seem interested in doing or capable of accomplishing.
Fortunately, the things they do aren’t locked in a high-security vault somewhere – they’re completely out in the open.
It might not be possible to emulate them completely, but if you understand the things great brands do, you’ll improve your chances of success.
This guide will walk you through the five actions great brands take, as well provide you with seven examples of great brands. Let’s begin!
5 actions great brands take
The following five things are undeniably something all great brands do. As such, use these as a way to increase the effectiveness of your own brand.
1. Great brands master the art of communication
“Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
It’s no surprise to anyone that successful brands thrive in all areas of communication. However, it’s not always easy to make adjustments in this area.
Fortunately, with a few simple strategies, you can be put onto the right path and have better relationships with customers.
Now, before you’re able to sharpen your brand communication, you’ll need to set some basic standards to dictate all future messaging and tone.
Adhere to the following in order to build an established set of principles to point to:
- Create a brand persona. It becomes a lot easier for all forms of communication to be successful with customers if they can envision your brand as a person with human characteristics. Determine the way you want customers to think of your brand and start from there.
- Understand your market. There’s going to be tons of disconnect between your communication and the audience if you don’t truly know them. Learn who they are, what they want and what they need, then start crafting your voice.
- Build brand ideals. Being able to refer back to your brand ideals makes all the difference when communicating. It is like a guiding light throughout conversations.
With these principles to refer to, you’re ready to craft a brand communication blueprint. Follow these techniques in order to succeed.
Expand your outreach
Part of mastering communication is increasing the amount of conversations you’re able to have. As such, consider the places your audience might be spending their time.
Are you showing up when and where they want you to? Do they see you on the same social media platforms they use?
Further conversation potential
Examine the way in which you respond to customers to see if you could push the conversation further.
Are your responses automated and cookie-cutter? If so, consider looking for ways to build up the conversation and engage the customer for more than a brief, meaningless moment.
Lastly, brand transparency is what makes great brands stand out in their communication. If you enter conversations with honest intentions, things will go smoothly.
Furthermore, customers will continue to work with and communicate with you as a result.
2. Great brands stand out bigtime
“Determine who you are and what your brand is, and what you’re not. The rest of it is just a lot of noise.” – Geoffrey Zakarian
There are a lot of near-identical products and services on the market at all times. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between one product or the other if it weren’t for the brand on the label.
What makes good brands great, then, is how well they stand out as a whole compared to the competition.
The more brand differentiation you achieve, the higher the chance you’ll draw in customers and keep them.
There is certainly value in the practice of bucking trends, going an untraveled path and taking risks. The brands that do so regularly are the ones who ultimately stand out.
3. Great brands commit to consistency
“Consistency is the true foundation of trust. Either keep your promises or do not make them.”
– Roy T. Bennett
Consistency is a funny thing in the world of branding. All too often the idea gets overlooked for new and exciting tricks of the trade.
In reality, brand consistency is what makes brands successful and keeps them at the top through thick and thin.
Does this mean you can’t make changes, such as upgrades or rebrandings? Of course not. But the consistency of numerous brand elements absolutely needs to be in place.
The great brands commit to consistency by ensuring things such as brand values don’t derail during communication and visual elements don’t switch from one marketing project to the next.
Follow this same level of commitment to consistency in order to become a great brand.
4. Great brands understand their image
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook
The best brands are aware of their brand image, and work hard to influence it in a positive manner.
Of course, the greatest indicator of how successful our image will be is brand identity. Great brands realize this and build one in order to influence the other.
After crafting their image, the best brands are the ones who understand it. Knowing how customers view you is key to all future campaigns.
Think about the ways in which your target audience sees your brand and adjust accordingly.
5. Great brands thrive on genuineness
“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” –Thomas Jefferson
We see it time and time again – brands with inferior products and services outselling and outlasting bigger brands. At this point, the pattern cannot be ignored.
This pattern, of course, is a direct result of brands who are genuine and authentic throughout all endeavors. More than ever, with information so available to everyone, the great brands are open and honest.
This doesn’t mean every brand has to be an open book, but the slimier a brand seems, the more distance customers will create between themselves and the company. Aim for brand authenticity to avoid this result.
Now that you have five important actions that successful brands adhere to, let’s take a look at seven examples of great brands and explain why they’re so successful.
7 examples of great brands
“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” – Steve Forbes
The following seven examples show great brands and attempt to give insight into why each has elevated itself to be a great brand.
The one thing I love to point out when explaining why Apple is such a great brand is the way their products seem to boost one another.
They have figured out how to cross-promote items in a practical way. For example, the Apple Watch is an accessory to the iPhone, making its purchase more justifiable once you have one or the other.
This type of branding lures customers into an entire world of Apple technology.
On top of this, the layouts of Apple Stores are unique and universal in their customer experiences they provide, with an open concept that puts all on display.
Key takeaways to consider: Appealing to a niche group doesn’t have to mean fewer customers. Apple aims their marketing towards a specific group but it extends their outreach regardless.
2. Taco Bell
Taco Bell accomplishes things other brands only dream of by reinventing their logos, slogans and designs all the time with something new that seems to work every time.
Whether they are modernizing a phrase or renovating the interiors of their restaurants, Taco Bell pushes themselves ahead of their rivals and sets the standard for which others must follow.
Most notably, Taco Bell engages their customers with things like the creative arts and other lifestyle hobbies, both on packaging and lining the walls of restaurants.
This brands the company as not only a great place to buy food but also a cultured sport for those interested in the creative arts.
Consider how Taco Bell uses topical branding to connect with their customers on a deeper level in order to have similar success in your own marketing campaigns.
Key takeaways to consider: Taco Bell shows us that change and reinvention can be frequent if done right. Look for new ways to stand out with your own brand.
Despite having a product that never really undergoes major changes (sportswear), Nike has remained relevant over the years by attaching unique ideas and images to its brand through marketing campaigns.
One such way was by transforming the world of logos by using a silhouette of NBA star Michael Jordan, which still today is used despite Jordan’s retirement decades ago.
Nike’s products are nothing special in and of themselves, but the brand behind them, through their calculated risks and unique marketing campaigns, have elevated the products to mean something more.
Their ideas seem to connect positively with audiences, which makes all the difference in the long run.
Key takeaways to consider: Nike realized the only way to stand out in their industry is through risky marketing techniques and attaching themselves to relevant icons. Look for ways to distance yourself in similar ways.
Amazon is the one example of a brand that takes something everyone else already does and accomplishes it more efficiently and more conveniently for customers.
As a result, they have become a great brand through sheer effectiveness. Each time they take on a new service, it becomes the industry standard, and most often the competition can’t keep up.
Whenever possible, think of the Amazon model and try to apply it yourself. If there’s a way to outdo your competitor, why not go for it instead of simply emulating them?
Key takeaways to consider: Competing sometimes requires a cutthroat approach. Great brands often meet this challenge head on.
For the products IKEA sells, they are talked about way too much. How can a furniture brand get so much attention and word-of-mouth advertisement?
The answer comes in the way they’ve branded themselves to be infinitely different than other furniture retailers.
Probably the most prevalent reason is their brand experience, which is on display anytime someone purchases a new product from IKEA and puts it together.
If you could point to one of these great brands as someone who breaks free from the restrictions of what they sell, IKEA would be the one you point to.
Key takeaways to consider: It really isn’t all about what you have to offer in terms of products or services. Strive for something more.
Microsoft is a great brand because of the way they focused their marketing efforts toward the right audiences.
Now, clearly Microsoft is a direct competitor to Apple, whom we discussed earlier. Therefore, there must be a reason why the two can both be great despite having similar services.
For Microsoft, they decided that it was more important to be available and usable for everyone rather than a specific group.
This type of dedication was risky but remains something that makes them convenient for so many millions of people.
Key takeaways to consider: We don’t always have to fight our competition for the exact same customers. Sometimes it will happen, but our branding can pivot to new markets.
Toyota is an automobile brand that continues to grow worldwide, no matter what type of competition sprouts up. So, what makes them a great brand?
It’s easy to point at the quality of their product as well as the affordability, but many of their competitors offer similar.
Instead, what makes Toyota a great brand is the way they’ve branded themselves to be about family, which by default makes your brand appear the safer option (certainly, a family automobile is safest).
Key takeaways to consider: I love to point to Toyota when it comes to explaining why some brands stand out over others. Sure, they make a reliable vehicle, but it’s more about how they present themselves as a brand that drives their success.
Your path to greatness begins here
Great brands are great not only because of how successful they are, but because of how well they can influence and inspire other brands to rise up.
Now that you see the many things other great brands do, it’s time to achieve greatness of your own.
To learn more about branding, check out our complete branding guide.