The brand book | Comprehension Precedes Design

Precedes Design
The brand book

Anyone who has had the opportunity to take part in the creation or repositioning of a brand knows how gratifying and demanding this experience can be, and how much this initiative can impact the future of an organization. This highly strategic endeavour also represents a significant investment, and must therefore bear its fruits.


This is why it is so important to develop a rigorous implementation plan and the right tools to put the brand back on track. Upon its launch, the new brand must be able to stake its place in the market for a long and prosperous life. It must clearly differentiate itself to conquer its target market’s heart and mind.


A great brand book is one of the key tools to ensure a brand’s success. Contrary to its previous incarnation, known as the graphic standards guide, the brand book is a flexible and upgradable tool that allows you to consolidate the brand's expression at every step of its growth. Strategic anchor points and various ways of expressing the brand according to context will serve as inspiration to its users.


This valuable tool will allow the people who are tasked with bringing the brand to life in its various expressions to create a cohesive, consistent experience across all media platforms and points of contact.


Communications and marketing professionals, copywriters, graphic and industrial designers, community hosts, advertisers, event planners, architects — each and every one involved with the brand is thereby able to commit to a single vision, sharing the same reference points.


The brand book is also meant to be used by the organization at large. If provides executives with strategic guidelines to a consistent direction. The brand manager uses it as leverage to mobilize staff and ensure impeccable execution. Used as a starting point for a “culture book”, the brand book helps convey information about the brand and its associated values to all employees.

Searching for The Ultimate Brand Book

Having drafted the outline of this formidable tool and explored what already exists on the market, we had to face the fact that the ultimate brand book simply hasn’t been invented yet. None had the depth, conviviality, ubiquity or convenience inherent to the digital universe.


We thus decided to create our own digital brand book, covering all aspects to be considered, and perfectly adaptable to the needs of our clients. After over six months of research and development, we are finally able to present it to you.


Here is an overview of what you will find in this definitive guide.



Section 1

Brand Universe

To create memorable and engaging brands, management and creative professionals must necessarily work together in unison.


All stakeholders must understand the brand’s universe and share a common vision of what it represents. That is what will allow them to adapt to different execution contexts and use their judgement to devise timely solutions.


The first part of the book presents the brand’s strategic anchor points.


It includes:

  • The brand’s reason for being
  • Its targets
  • Its values, beliefs, and ambitions
  • Its promise and reasons for believing in it
  • The key concept at its core
  • Its personality, voice, and manner of being


The content of this section is presented in an inspiring way: strong statements, precise language, high quality, powerful images. All these elements combine to engage everyone involved in the brand project. This first part also serve as a preamble to the “culture book”, which will be distributed to all personnel.



The Van Houtte Digital Brand Book                                           

Here is a look at the brand book BrandBourg created for the Van Houtte® brand. Through this guide, every user is now well equipped to better understand its essence and reason for being. In just a few clicks, users can now find the information required, download it, share it or use it any other way they need.

Section 2             

Keys and Instructions for Use

Identity symbols are tangible features that make one brand recognizable among all others. They can be found in every expression of the brand, from advertising campaigns to events, points of sales, packaging and web sites, their constant presence contributing to building brand awareness.

The second part of the book presents identity symbols and basic principles that guide their use.


This includes:

  • The logotype and its variations
  • The brand signature
  • Editorial tone
  • Colours
  • Typography
  • Iconography
  • 3D versions
  • Motion design
  • Principles of pictorial or spatial organization
  • Architectural applications
  • Audio identity or any other form of brand expression



“For a long time the graphic standards guide was used for 'policing' the brand, and the Marketing Dept. was responsible for making sure the standards regarding the logo were always applied. Today, our role is to convey a clear vision that everyone can understand, embrace and implement on a daily basis and in all their activities and decisions, whether they're part of our team or our partners'.”

- Nathalie Lachance, VP Marketing, Desjardins

Section 3

The Brand in Action

Any strategy remains an abstract hypothesis until it has been tested in the real world. However, examples can be quite useful to help explain what we are trying to express.


The third part of the book showcases prototypes of the brand as it is used in various contexts and platforms. This includes technical details as well as communication issues as they relate to different applications.


Examples include:

  • Web
  • Advertising and promotion
  • Retail environment
  • Architecture and signage
  • Industrial design



“The Van Houtte brand book is a tool that has been perfectly adapted to our reality, as it applies to our product, bistro or coffee service contexts. Thanks to this guide, we are totally in control of our brand and can interact in real time with all stakeholders. It’s so simple and convenient! And above all, useful.”


- Caroline Losson, VP Marketing, Keurig Canada

Section 4

Digital Library

The fourth section of the book is a digital library featuring all graphic files used in designing and producing the brand’s various manifestations. Authorized users may choose and download the files they need for their purpose.


It includes:

  • Different versions of the logo
  • Graphic elements associated with the brand
  • A bank of authorized photos/illustrations
  • Layout templates 



What About Your Brand?

We hope this article inspired you to find out more about our digital brand book.


We have two more important recommendations to add. If you’re a brand manager, you know that for any brand project, nothing beats the talent, skill and commitment of a great design team. Not even the best digital brand book in the world.


In addition to forming this talented team, we suggest you set up a brand committee whose role will be to track the plan’s implementation and your brand’s evolution over time.


With a great brand book and a skilled team to bring your brand to life, all your efforts will no doubt be rewarded.



A Customized, Interactive Digital Guide Book

BrandBourg innovates with its digital brand book, a new standard in brand management.


To Better Serve You

How can we provide our clients with the best brand book possible? To answer this question, we analyzed the most desired features in a brand book. They boiled down to four key points that drove our creative thinking.




Democratize the Digital Brand Book

We have found no model of digital brand book that was adaptable to different brands, whether it was because of their size or their language. Large corporations who have the means have spent a great deal to develop a high-performance tool to manage their brand. Others settle for static brand guidelines, often published in PDF format, that do not fulfill the requirements or expectations of a connected society.


A performing brand book must be adaptable to all brands and be accessible to all users, everywhere and at all times. To democratize this guide and offer it to our clients, we designed it like software: flexible and modular, convivial and, above all, digital. In other words, we’ve come up with a convenient and accessible tool.




Facilitate Sharing of Information

Brands evolve increasingly fast, there are more and more people who work on the brand, and communication channels keep multiplying as well. In this context, it’s a real challenge for brand managers to keep their teams up to date and to ensure optimal productivity.


With BrandBourg’s brand book, everyone is connected and receives information quickly and at the same time. In addition, the digital library allows authorized users to download the files they need, which in turn allows the brand manager to concentrate on actual brand management!




Centralize the Information Within a Single Tool

Sometimes there are more than one brand tools to fulfill the needs of different users, such as executives, agencies, suppliers and employees. Although they provide customized content to each user, this approach complicates brand management and multiplies costly projects.


A great brand book is THE reference for all stakeholders. It must cover all aspects and, despite the abundance of content, everyone must be able to easily find the information or file needed for their specific purpose. We have designed a comprehensive book where users browse to get a feel for the brand, or pick and choose a specific topic of interest.




Safeguard “Sensitive” Content

Some parts of the brand book are not meant for all users. They can be restricted to management, sales reps or human resources. Preserving confidentiality and controlling distribution can be a challenge, considering the universality inherent to a tool designed for general use.


Controlling access to information is virtually impossible with a guide published in paper or PDF form, but a digital version offers solutions to this problem. Our BrandBourg brand book is designed to allow the administrator to decide which content will be available to which user, depending on the person’s specific access code.



The BrandBourg Brand Book’s Key POINTS


  • Digital format making the content accessible everywhere and at all times
  • Controlled sharing of information
  • Real time user management
  • Real time customized PDF version
  • Security comparable to bank networks, with access codes based on type of user
  • Reactive web design: content displayed according to type of device or screen used
  • Alerts sent to users in case of major updates
  • Digital resource management: library of files available for downloading
  • Dynamic presentation including video, motion design, photos, hyperlinks


Brand identity management

  • Logotype
  • Brand signature
  • Colours
  • Typography
  • Iconography
  • 3D and motion design
  • Pictorial or spatial organization
  • Audio identity