After all your hard work and sacrifice you’ve finally managed to get through all the paperwork, waiting and background checks. Now you’re ready to get the ball rolling in your cannabis business whether it be a dispensary or you’re doing the farming.
Now you need to build a brand that your customers will trust and get familiar with. We’re talking building a brand as strong as Nike or Netflix but in your very own particular industry, cannabis.
Building a strong brand means that even when there are minor or major changes in your company’s design. You still maintain your company’s look and feel regardless and this isn’t the easiest of things to do. This is why you need to make sure you set up effective brand guidelines as soon as possible.
The cover page
The first thing you’ll need for your brand guideline handbook is a cover page. This cover page will be the perfect example of how you want your brand to look like. Make sure that when you’re creating it all the important elements of your design whether it’s the words or type of fonts you use.
For the colors, photos, and illustrations, make sure they make a bold statement of how you want your brand to stand out from the other cannabis growers or retailers. In one simple design, you should make it clear to the one seeing your cover page how you want your brand to look and feel.
The contents page
Next, you’ll have to do a contents page. This is to ensure that your chosen team of designers will know exactly which page to turn to when they need guidance on their work.
Your contents page should be written in a clear and easy to read font. The colors, pictures or any other design features you use on this page should not obscure the writing and page numbers.
A brand ethos section
Another thing you’ll have to put up with your brand guidelines brochure is your brand ethos. For those who don’t know what this is, a brand ethos is the heart of your brand. A brand ethos breathes life your business and states what you do, how you do it best and why.
In this part of your brand guidelines, you basically tell your designers what is expected of them and how they should portray your company to your target market effectively. Your brand ethos must show how you feel about your business, customers and of course instill the basics of how you want your design to be as on the cover page.
A logo design section
Now we come to the most important part of any brand. The logo. In your brand guidelines, you’ll have to create a separate section which focuses just on the logo. You’ll have to make sure that your logo stands out against other companies in the cannabis sector.
Give out specifics on how small or big you want it to be. If you have different designs for your logo you’ll have to disclose how and where they must be used. It’s also important that you say how you don’t want your company’s logo to be used.
The color usage section
When you’re jotting down your brand guidelines it’s important that you also include a color usage section. Color is very important to your brand and can make your brand stand out among the others in a single glance.
You could set guidelines on how these can be used in your brand. Think about factors like you want one consistent color that identifies it or you prefer your brand to be more of a chameleon. It depends on how you want your target consumers to identify your brand easily regardless of what colors you choose to use. Also, include what colors you don’t want to be associated with your brand.
A font usage section
You must have seen this with other successful businesses like Skype, Coca-Cola and Walt Disney. They cleverly use their fonts to set them apart from the competition. If you want to create a cannabis brand as strong as these companies. You’ll have to set some rules on how you want fonts to be used in your brand.
Don’t forget to clearly state what types of font work well for your company’s identity. If necessary also include how big or small you want the text sizes in branding your business. Don’t forget to say what fonts or font sizes don’t fit in with your brand.
A graphics and illustrations section
Another key part of your brand guidelines is being specific about what pictures or illustrations you would like to have as part of your brand. Although the most successful brands just seem to work well with almost all photos and graphics. There some graphics or pictures that won’t work well with your brand. Imagine a vegan restaurant with a picture of a beef steak on its website…
Designers won’t necessarily go to these extremes. You know which graphics and/or photos you want for your brand or don’t and this should be made clear in a separate section in your brand guidelines booklet.
And provide some examples
The last but not least important part of your brand guidelines copy is dedicating a section with examples of what you believe is best for your brand. Here you could include pictures of what colors you want to be used in your company’s dispensary, website or banners. Create a mini gallery with different fonts, logos, and examples of graphics that fall in line with how you envision your ideal brand.
From this, any designer will be able to detect the “rhythm”, “voice” or “feel” of your brand and be able to expand on it without compromising how you want your company’s “face” to be.
An important reminder, you are creating guidelines for your brand and not a rule book. Make sure you leave some space for creativity as long as it doesn’t affect your brand negatively.