Developing Brand Identity Guidelines - Part 4: Brand Manual Examples for Inspiration

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Posted Nov 14, 2011
Susan Gunelius

In Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the Developing Brand Identity Guidelines series, you learned what a brand manual is, why you need one, and how to create one. In this final part of the series, you can see a variety of great brand manuals to learn from and be inspired by. Some of these examples might surprise you!

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There are many examples of brand identity guidelines that you can find through a simple Google search. Some are short and succinct and others are extremely detailed reaching 100 pages or more!

It's important to understand who your audiences are for your brand identity guidelines and create brand manuals that speak to each of those specific audiences. For example, your internal marketing department and external advertising agencies should have an extremely detailed brand identity manual, but many of your employees can receive one-page highlights or shortened versions of your full manual.

Later in this article, you'll see some examples of creative brand identity guidelines that appeal to different audiences, but first, here are some examples of more comprehensive brand manuals from well-known companies and brands which you can benchmark as you develop your own brand guidelines.

Brand Identity Manuals and Websites


The Skype brand manual does a great job of communicating dull brand guidelines for a creative brand. Scroll through and you'll see illustrations, a friendly tone, and a great representation of the Skype brand persona. Click on the image below to view the complete Skype brand identity guidelines in PDF format.

skype brand identity guidelines

Best Buy

If you visit the Best Buy website, you can find brand manuals for dozens of the companies brands. Click on the image below to see the Best Buy U.S. brand identity guidelines online. It's a simple way to offer the information in a brand manual in a more interactive way on the Web.

best buy brand identity guidelines

Yale University

I included Yale University in this list for two reasons. First, the section on the Yale typeface is very comprehensive and provides a great example of developing a brand identity around typefaces. Second, the complete Yale Visual Identity website is provided in an extremely simple design but offers tons of information. It's a great site to benchmark for navigational structure. Click the image below to visit the site.

yale typeface


IEEE is another organization that uses an interactive website to provide its brand identity guidelines. The layout and structure is different from the Yale University Visual Identity site, but the content is just as comprehensive. Therefore, it's perfect for comparison. Click on the image below to visit the IEEE Brand Identity Toolkit.

IEEE Brand Identity Guidelines


The HP Brand Center is the best version of online, interactive brand guidelines on this list. The layout, information, structure, and user experience is excellent. Click the image below to browse this site and be inspired.

hp brand identity guidelines


The BBC created an entire website and experience to help launch and manage its online identity, called the Global Experience Language initiative, for all of its digital services. This is a great site dedicated to digital brand identity and includes all the details for layouts, grids, imagery, typography, and more. Click the image below to visit the website or click this link to view the associated style guide in PDF format.

bbc gel brand identity guidelines

Creative Brand Identity Guidelines

Not all brand guidelines have to be communicated in a printed brand manual, a PDF file, or a website. As mentioned above, different audiences respond to different types of content, so it makes sense to create different versions of your brand guidelines.

For example, a single-page brand identity guidelines sheet is common as are brand identity posters. Also, you can visit the IEEE brand identity website referenced above, and you'll find a comprehensive 72-page brand identity manual as well as a 4-page IEEE Visual Identity Quick Reference Guide.

Some companies have turned to video in recent years to communicate specific elements of the brand identity guidelines in very creative ways. Following are some examples to get your creative juices flowing.


To communicate the ArcelorMittal brand identity guidelines to employees in 60 countries, the following brand identity video was created. It's simple and easy to understand. It's also far more likely that employees would watch this seven minute video than they would read a brand identity manual with dozens of pages.

The most important thing is to create your brand identity guidelines. Put together your manual and then consider the various ways you can modify the contents to ensure your varied audiences read and understand the parts that apply to them. Then make sure those guidelines get to every person who needs them to do their jobs effectively.

If you missed any of the earlier parts of the Developing Brand Identity Guidelines series, follow the links below to read them now:

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