Best Examples of Great Brand Guidelines and Why You Need One

When it comes to building a memorable brand, design and branding consistency is everything. Just look at the world’s most recognizable companies and how fast you recognize them. A glimpse of the swoosh and you know it’s Nike. The golden arches represent McDonald’s. The same goes for Apple’s bitten apple. These companies are practically glued inside your brain, and strong design and branding guidelines are part of the glue that makes them stick.

But brand guidelines go far beyond a logo or icon. It’s in their colors, imagery, fonts, tone, and even the feeling you get when you see an ad. In this article, we’ll look closer at what design and branding guidelines are, 15 examples from companies that nailed it, and some tips for how to create effective design and branding guidelines of your own.

What are design and branding guidelines?

Design and branding guidelines, also known as a brand style guide, are essentially an instruction manual and rule book on how to communicate your brand visually and verbally. They lay out all the visual details, as well as important notes about a company’s voice, tone, and messaging. They come in the form of a physical or digital booklet filled with examples of what to do and what not to do.

Design and branding guidelines comprehensively cover a company’s brand identity, including its:

  1. Logos: full logos, secondary logos, and icons
  2. Color palette: primary and secondary colors
  3. Typography: font styles, sizes, and spacing
  4. Other imagery: photos, illustrations, and artwork
  5. Voice and tone: how the brand uses language and emotion

Why are design and branding guidelines important?

When companies take the time to create design and branding guidelines, it helps to ensure that their brand image stays consistent, no matter where it shows up. This consistency builds recognition and trust with consumers and ultimately leads to brand loyalty.

Here are 8 companies with killer design and branding guidelines:

  1. Apple – Apple’s design and branding guidelines set the standard for minimalism and simplicity. The guidelines focus on clean lines, intuitive design, and high-quality materials. Apple’s design style has become iconic and is instantly recognizable across all its products and advertising. Apple provides guidelines for channel affiliates/Apple-certified individuals and for marketing resources and identity.
  2. Airbnb – Airbnb’s design and branding guidelines showcase a fun, playful, and colorful brand. The guidelines are clear, concise, and easy to follow. The brand’s style guide covers everything from typography and color to imagery and user interface design. Check it out here.
  3. Netflix – Netflix takes its logo very seriously! They have a whole set of rules to make sure it looks perfect every time you see it on your screen. Their famous capitalized typeface and classic red color are the stars of the show, and they want to make sure they shine bright. Check out their brand guide for all the juicy details! See the full brand guide here.
  4. Dropbox – Dropbox’s design and branding guidelines are modern, sleek, and visually engaging. The guidelines are detailed and comprehensive, covering everything from logo usage and typography to brand voice and tone. The guidelines showcase Dropbox’s focus on simplicity, user experience, and innovative design.
  5. FedEx – FedEx’s design and branding guidelines focus on the company’s signature purple and orange color scheme, bold typography, and the iconic arrow logo. The guidelines showcase FedEx’s commitment to reliable, fast, and efficient delivery services.
  6. Google – Google’s design and branding guidelines are a masterclass in simplicity and usability. The guidelines focus on clean lines, bold typography, and the use of bright colors. The guidelines showcase Google’s focus on user experience, innovation, and creativity.
  7. Alienware – Alienware, the company known for catering to “serious gamers,” decided to level up its game after digging into the market research. They discovered that gamers view gaming as a way of life, with a diverse and constantly expanding culture. So, Alienware rebranded itself with a new identity that better reflects the gaming community. Their brand guidelines now showcase a closer connection to the gamers’ identity, proving that Alienware is more than just a company – it’s a part of the gaming culture. 
  8. NASA – Did you know that NASA’s “Graphics Standards Manual” is as official and complex as the universe itself? This 220-page guide has all the juicy details on logo placements, color schemes, and supporting designs for everything NASA. Even the space shuttles have their own branding rules! So if you ever need to launch a rocket or explore the design universe, make sure you’ve got your hands on NASA’s Graphics Standards Manual.

Need More Help?

If you still need more help to get a head start on making your own brand guideline, luckily is here to help! is a design tool that comes with hundreds of custom designer templates with clear design language that makes things easy. With an easy-to-use user interface, no design skills are required. Best of all, it’s totally free!

Get designing now