A Brand Kit is a concise, easily digestible guide to your visual identity. A shorter version of a Brand Book that allows early stage companies to ensure collateral is on brand.
Why create a brand kit?
Put simply, brands sell better than products. Strong brands with clear purpose and vision are proven to secure funding quicker – and strong brands don’t appear by accident. Developing a unified brand experience across every touch point for all stakeholders requires focus, coordination, and consistency.
Think about your customers for a second – how would you like them to describe your company when you’re not in the room? Will they describe your business exactly the same way you would yourself? If the answer is yes, you have a strong brand
As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, creating a brand is a complex process requiring a substantial amount of strategy and research, it’s a marathon not a sprint and certainly not a task to rush into. Step 1: make sure your existing brand assets are cohesive. In other words ensure your logo, colors, typography and other visual elements are on brand across all of your communication channels.
As your company grows you need to ensure your brand image and message remain consistent across teams. Be it social, sales or product all teams will interact with your brand in one way or another. By creating simple guidelines from the get go you’ll be able to maintain order as your business expands and becomes more complex.
What to include in a brand kit:
At a basic level brands consist of brand strategy (positioning and messaging) and visual identity. While the former is a larger piece of work that typically comes into play following significant financial investment in your brand, a MVP version of the latter can easily be assembled early in your business journey.
A basic visual brand kit should include:
The most important part of your Visual ID. A logo is a memorable graphic representation of the idea or metaphor behind your brand.
Keep it simple regardless of the complexity of your offering. Use a maximum of 3-4 colors and 1-2 fonts. Try to include a visual representation of your business, but remember to follow logic and structure. Finally, be unique – do your research and check other logos in the industry. The goal is to stand out amongst competitors whilst looking like a major player within your industry.
The color combinations you use across brand applications.
For the primary palette use a maximum of 3-4 colors and ensure they follow a hierarchy. First, establish your brand’s primary palette (the main color / set of colors used for dominant graphic elements: logo, backgrounds, typography color and so on) and then secondary color palette (additional colors used to support the primary palette).
Do not pair colors at random – use color guides or preselected palettes such as mycolor.space or gradients.io. Think about the color palette functionality when selecting. How is it going to look on your website? Does it match the brand imagery? Are the colors visible? Meaning is great but function is vital.
The fonts and layouts you use across brand applications. Use a maximum of 2-3 fonts across all brand applications. Treat your font as your company’s voice and choose it as if it was a business decision – font is probably the most style-forming identity element in any branding. If your brand was a human, what would their voice sound like? Calm (could be a bold san-serif), sophisticated (could be a serif) or excited voice (could be a decorative font)? When in doubt, use “acknowledged” and neutral fonts (Avenir, Roboto, Work Sans, etc).
Additional graphic elements and imagery used across all brand applications. For example, patterns, imagery, collages, photos and so on. Focus on 2-3 graphic treatments and keep them consistent across all applications. Do not mix photos, illustrations and patterns – it is nearly impossible to combine all three into a polished identity. Invest enough time into imagery selection and use high quality photo and graphic stocks – for example, unsplash.com.
How to build it a brand kit:
Traditionally Brand Kits are PDF documents linked to respective folders with source materials (your visual assets in .ai, .png and so on). For rapidly growing businesses this method may not be the most effective solution.
Google Slides is the simplest team tool for assembling a first Brand Kit – it allows for collaboration, has the functionality to add links, gifs and other digital perks, and can be easily exported to PDF when required.
Another strong tool is Readymag (or other digital presentation builders, like Canva). Readymag requires slightly more advanced knowledge (or willingness to learn), but it produces higher-quality, responsive Brand Kits for taking your company to the next level.
Remember, your brand kit will be used by both internal and external stakeholders – optimizing your document for ease of use should be the driving factor in choosing one tool over another.
How long should a Brand Kit last?
The quick answer is, it depends. Some companies choose to develop their brand internally overtime and will often maintain the same Brand Kit for years. Updating and expanding it as and when required.
Others prefer to invest in a full rebranding at a crucial or point in their development. In these instances an external partner (for example an agency like Wunderdogs) will be onboarded to conduct research, undertake strategic work and create an end-to-end visual identity for the business.
Whether with or without an agency we’d recommend giving consideration to your branding as early in the process as possible. A basic Brand Kit will prove hugely useful in your early years, and when the time comes for elevating your business consideration must then be given to how your value proposition is articulated through your brand strategy and identity.