One of the many hats that marketing managers wear is that of a graphic designer. Designing and creating a suite of branded assets for the rest of the team to use. That is, if they use them! It’s often the case that marketing managers are regularly asked where the company logo is kept. Or perhaps they’re banging their heads against a brick wall explaining why the sales team can’t use bright red font in a flyer they’re creating, because it’s not part of their company colours. Sound familiar? Read on to learn how a brand system might be the answer to some of these frustrations.
“Brand systems provide a convenient, centralised, and evolving map of a brand’s known product territories with directional pointers to help you explore new regions.” —Chris Messina, tech evangelist and former developer experience lead at Uber
So what is a brand system?
A brand system is the single source of truth that groups your brand elements. Think of it as a quick-link page, directing your team to your brand assets. It contains your brand guidelines so that team members can design collateral within the constraints of your brand. All on a beautifully-designed interactive page, unlike traditional PDF brand guidelines which often get lost in emails or left at the bottom of a pile of paperwork on desks.
A good brand system should:
- Have clearly written and understandable guidelines to using the brand correctly and consistently
- Contain valuable branded content that tells a story and shares your values
- Link to all of the branded collateral that your team members will use
- Make it easy for the entire business to stay on brand.
Why is branding so important?
A brand system is crucial for enhancing your brand and ensuring consistency in its usage. You control the perception that prospects and clients have by owning your brand. A strong brand identity helps people make meaningful connections to you, strengthening their recall and impacting purchase decisions.
Your brand identity includes all the visual elements that tell your brand story, including (but not limited to) your logo, business cards, product packaging designs, website design and social media graphics. Having a brand system will help to ensure that your branding remains consistent.
Signs your business needs a brand system
- Your team doesn’t understand how to apply your brand, and its usage is inconsistent and all over the place
- Your team members can’t find your brand resources, and some don’t even know they exist
- You’ve had a few different updates of your brand over the years, but there is no one single source of truth
- You haven’t done a brand audit in a long time (or ever!)
- You want to encourage innovation in your organisation, but you’re hesitant about the long approvals process for brand usage.
Creating a brand system
Creating a brand system is easier than you think. If you have all of your assets, it’s simply a case of creating an interactive page that contains links to those assets, and then sharing the page with your team. Make sure they bookmark the page so that they can refer back to it. This will mean your most recent, on-brand collateral is always just one click away for all of your team members.
Here’s some of the most common assets to include in the brand system:
- Brand guidelines
- Brand colours, family fonts and logos - and how to use them
- Branded stationery items, such as business cards, letterhead templates and envelopes
- EDM templates
- Social media templates
- Company culture documents
- Anything related to your brand that other team members can use!
At ALYKA, our creative team’s favourite tool for a brandn system is Figma. We use it internally ourselves (get in touch if you’d like a sneak peak at how we use it!)
Figma is a collaborative interface design tool. We love the commenting features that make it easy to collaborate with our team and clients alike. The designs are very user-friendly, with clickable links and interactive elements. You can avoid the large PDF files that take up space and can be impossible to download. Instead, there is one link that updates itself to newer versions. Your brand will also be protected with the ability to give different levels of access and to track changes.
ALYKA brand audit
Before getting started with creating a brand system, it’s important to make sure you have a good suite of branded assets. Not sure how your branding measures up? We're offering a small number of complimentary brand audits, so click here to submit your details.