Designing anything for a brand always involves some creative give and take. It’s important to stay within the brand guidelines that make up the company’s look and feel. But it can be frustrating interrupting a moment of creative flow because you have to find your PDF style guide to ensure you’re using the exact correct shade of turquoise.
That’s where Canva’s brand kit tool comes into its own. With a brand kit, your colors, fonts, and approved imagery are all saved right into the design platform, making it easier and quicker than ever to stick to your brand.
A brand kit is the key to building brand equity — ensuring your company is represented in a consistent and appealing way across all types of content. With brand parameters built right into the platform, everyone who creates content for your company, from business cards, to product videos, to presentations to press releases and social posts, is easily able to represent your brand identity correctly, every time. Recent research shows that brands that use consistent imagery and messaging generate more revenue than those that don’t.
And it’s not just for internal team members to use: brand kits can also easily be sent to external collaborators and advocate partners.
Plus, you can create multiple brand kits to meet the guidelines for various campaigns, product lines, or sub-brands within your company.
In this video Claydon and Rachael show you how to create and scale your brand identity and keep your digital assets consistent.
Whether you’re part of a large or small organization, brand kits are an important piece of the brand management puzzle. In this article, we’ll unpack what a brand kit is, how they can help cement your company’s brand and grow your business, and how you can build your own brand kit in Canva. We’ll also walk through some brand kit examples from leading companies to see how they set theirs up.
Let’s get started.
A brand kit is a collection of design choices and assets that make up your company’s personality and its look and feel. Canva’s brand kit feature allows you to select your brand fonts, brand colors, and brand imagery, like logos and feature photos, that you want everyone at your company to be able to use — and add them all to your design platform.
When a team member is working in Canva, they can easily select the colors, fonts, and imagery that your design team has approved. No more worrying if that was really the approved version of the logo, or if you’re supposed to use the Narrow or Normal version of that font.
While brand kits are built right into your design platform, a style guide is a PDF or printed guide to your brand’s visual identity. Brand style guides need to include the brand tone of voice, logos, colors, fonts and font styles, messaging, and imagery guidelines like photography styles or treatments. Brand guidelines are often a more comprehensive brand management reference that include both copy and design guidelines, the brand style guide, social media suggestions, and other materials for press or brand teams.
You can distribute your style guide to employees and key partners, or you can make it public for all customers and press to see, in case they want to help tell your brand’s story. Just look at Spotify: they publish their branding guidelines on their website for partners and developers who want to integrate Spotify into their apps.
Spotify’s brand guidelines not only include visual assets but also necessary legal and licensing information for using the company’s content and metadata. As such, it helps protect Spotify as well as its partners, and it ensures that the brand image remains unified across customer experiences.
You can build your own style guide in Canva with brand board and style guide templates like the ones shown below. The layout is all ready for you; you just have to input your company’s brand parameters.
You can also create a whole brand style guide presentation in Canva, with brand kit presentation templates like these:
Then, you can build your Canva brand kit by setting up your brand’s color palette, uploading your fonts, and storing your logo right in Canva for easy access across your content — we’ll get into that process step by step below.
As your business grows, you want to make sure your brand image and message don’t become diluted or misrepresented. That’s where a brand kit can help.
Your brand kit ensures that all marketing and communications are accurate and on-brand, which helps your company become more memorable and quickly recognizable by your target audience.
Whether they’re created by your social media team, sales representatives, or customer advocates, assets associated with your company should always include the same colors, fonts, and logos. Any missteps could hurt your brand reputation along the way. For example, if you saw an ad for McDonalds, but the M logo in the corner wasn’t the golden arches you were expecting, it’d be easy to dismiss the ad as spammy or illegitimate.
According to a recent Lucidpress study, 85% of companies report having brand guidelines, but nearly two thirds say that they aren’t enforced.That’s why having all your brand assets easily accessible in a Canva brand kit makes life easier for creators and reduces revisions (and related headaches) for your design team.
A thorough, user-friendly brand kit can pay off for brand growth, too. TINT reports that user-generated content (UGC) can boost engagement, reduce cost-per-click in ads, and increase brand conversions.
Netflix, for example, includes tips on proper logo usage and readability tips in their style guide. With this guide readily available, internal and external partners — with or without design experience — have the resources they need to most effectively tell this brand’s story.
Building a brand kit requires a few major steps:
Will you build your brand parameters right into your design platform with a Canva brand kit? Will you create a PDF file with all your brand’s more important design choices and assets? Will you do both?
We’ll get into which ones are the most important to include below.
Anyone who creates any kind of internal or external-facing content should have easy access to your (up-to-date) brand parameters. If you’ve built a Canva brand kit, add all collaborators to your team to grant them access to your brand kit. For a PDF style guide, simply upload it to your company’s shared drive and send it widely via email to anyone who will need to use it.
There are a few core elements that will be essential to your brand kit. They lie at the heart of your brand identity, and they are the tools you need to best convey your brand message.
Your logo provides a chance to tell your brand’s story in one small square or icon. In many cases, it’s the first impression customers will have of your brand. Then, it becomes a visual reminder of what your company stands for. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your logo is consistent across platforms and assets.
You may need different sizes and configurations of your logo, but try to limit it to a handful of variations, so that it still always feels stylistically consistent.
LinkedIn, for instance, includes acceptable variations of its logo in its brand kit. LinkedIn even outlines ways to use its black-and-white logo with different layouts, requirements for scaling and leaving clear space, and when the trademark is needed.
You can create your own brand logos in Canva with templates like Green Icon Internet Logo and Cube Computer Logo. These can be personalized with your own graphics, illustrations, and iconography. You can also collaborate on your logo designs with colleagues by sharing your work right on the Canva platform.
Your color palette sets the visual tone and language for your brand. Think about how yellow and red are associated with McDonald’s, or how green, white, and black are tied to Starbucks. It’s important to not just decide on your colors, but also to note which specific shades you use, down to the hex code.
Blogging platform Medium, for example, details primary and discretionary colors that can be used with its watermark logo:
These clarifications are especially crucial for platforms like Medium that invite users to build and market their own pages. With the right tools to guide them, audiences can become advocates of your brand and empower others to join in.
It’s easy to build a color palette with Canva. You can start from scratch, use Canva’s color palette generator, or start with any kind of template and play around with what colors feel right to you.
Your signature font is just as important for your brand as your visual assets are. In fact, your typography should be thought of as a visual asset in itself — whether you choose a ready-made font like Helvetica or design your own with the help of a design team.
Watch the brand kit creation process in our brand kit walkthrough video below:
Like any other webpage you put out there, the best brand kit pages are designed with user-friendliness and brand aesthetic in mind. Yelp’s brand kit is a good example. The company refers to it as their Cookbook and breaks down its sections into Ingredients, Recipes & Entrees, and a highlights section of key design principles. This makes sense considering Yelp started out as a place for consumers to rate and review restaurants.
Screenshots from Yelp’s branding page
One can’t help but smile a little at the thoughtfulness and wit that went into the making of their brand style guide. They could have easily just titled the section, “Typography” or “Brand fonts,” but instead, they chose to get creative. Consider what your brand specializes in. Is there a creative or quirky way you can infuse those traits into your brand kit? These small details can have a big influence on the perception of your brand.
Yelp also has a separate Brand page that has more in-depth guidelines, a download button for their logos, and specific information for potential partners, resellers, press, and media. Whether your brand already receives collaboration or press inquiries or not, it’s a good idea to set up a section or two that addresses potential collaborators. One, because you never know when someone will come along for just that reason. And two, because it can add a sense of prestige that causes people to assume you already do get these types of requests. A little boost in status never hurt anyone!
Yelp also needed to create guidelines for how to showcase Yelp reviews. Yelp provides social proof about other businesses, and this proof is very useful for those businesses and their consumers but can be misused or misrepresented without these guidelines. Your brand may also have unique considerations like these, which should be prominently and clearly laid out for those who visit your brand kit.
Hulu prides itself on its fun, friendly, and original personality. Even the title of their in-depth guidelines matches their brand identity — their famous vibrant green. By using their color palette in their brand guidelines, the page practically screams Hulu.
You can use your brand kit as a tool for your design and marketing team to hone your brand image and personality. When it’s quickly and easily conveyed on your branding site, it’ll be another avenue for freelancers or journalists to digest your style and produce content accordingly.
Hulu’s tone of voice is conversational, witty, empathetic, and bold. Great brand kits incorporate their brand voice into the page. In Hulu’s writing style section, they do just that. One part that exemplifies this reads: “We don’t use a lot of jargon. Our viewers don’t watch ‘content.’ They watch TV. Like humans do, right?“
Hulu also shares examples of their illustration style, which matches their fun and original personality. These examples come in handy for freelance graphic designers they hire. Nobody wants extra work going back and forth correcting mistakes in design that could have been easily avoided.
A screenshot of Hulu’s illustration examples and guide
Drishti is no stranger to analyzing and working with incoming data, so it’s no surprise its brand kit includes a form field to make a request for more information. Following their logo design and brand color guidelines is the “Need something else?” section. Here users can input open-ended requests for items not readily available on their brand kit page. Or, members of the press can reach out for clarification or direction when it comes to writing about Drishti.
However, for some, Drishti’s work might be unfamiliar territory. To further educate others on their work, they include links to their latest blog posts at the bottom of their brand kit page.
Bolt designed their brand kit for those who need quick access to download their visual assets. They include a clear button at the top of the page to download their entire kit and also break down the assets into segments throughout the page.
Bolt provides high-quality product screenshots, photos, and site illustrations. Companies like Bolt care about their brand image and provide accurately branded photos, videos, screenshots of their technology or application, and shareable social media templates. The more high-quality images you have, the more likely your marketing team, the press, or freelancers will create content that reflects your brand.
As you build your brand kit, consider which aspects of your brand might be confusing or need a bit of supplemental information.
Grubhub designed a captivating, responsive, and interactive branding site with fun visuals and copy. This may have been a bit of extra work for their graphic design team, but that extra work can go a long way in perpetuating their brand's visual identity.
Their Visual Identity page is organized according to asset categories. If you have a brand with many assets and examples for each category, breaking down your brand kit into pages like Grubhub does will make it easier to share with others and for users to navigate right to it without having to scroll endlessly.
Grubhub also decided to include a tab called Takeaways, which summarizes the key and crucial components for visitors of their branding site to understand. For a company like Grubhub that has a ton of information and assets, this tab helps those who want a quick recap. It reinforces their purpose, where they’re headed, and the bite-sized information they want the reader to take away about their brand.
Impossible Foods’ mission is to have a sustainable impact on the environment, so they included a special report section in their brand kit. It’s important to make information surrounding their progress accessible wherever journalists, freelancers, or agencies might be searching. By sharing the positive impact they have on society, not only do they get publicity about their efforts, but they also gain trust from consumers and critics thanks to their transparent behavior. In 2022, 6 in 10 consumers believe that trustworthiness and transparency are the most important traits that brands can have — up from 2021.
There’s an expression that goes: you gotta see it to believe it! Impossible Foods knows people are skeptical of a non-meat-looking burger. They want to see their “burger” up close and personal. By providing high-quality images that convey the look, feel, and texture of their patties, freelancers and agencies that create content about Impossible Foods can do the brand justice.
Moreover, having control over the style of images circulating about your brand will help your audience instantly recognize what they’re looking at. In the case of Impossible Foods, consumers might do a double-take when they see images of their all plant burgers, thinking: Isn’t that real meat?! But a reaction like that is a win for Impossible Foods. That’s the whole idea.
Figure out which reaction you want your audience to have when they see your images. Capture and organize your brand kit images in a way that aligns with your identity and provokes the right reaction. This reaction will be the one they associate with your brand, and if you do it right, it’ll be a positive one!
At the bottom of Shopify’s brand kit page is an example of how to accomplish more with your branding site. They include a free trial CTA and button with a one-step, easy email signup field. In and of itself, a brand kit's purpose is not to increase sales or attract leads. However, that doesn't mean your brand can't take advantage of a potential lead or sales opportunity!
Once you’ve built your brand kit, you can always improve it. It’s important to make tweaks as your company grows and develops. Incorporating your brand kit into your brand strategy and finding ways to make it both utilitarian and memorable requires a fine-tuned balance. But this balance can have a significant effect on your internal team, your external collaborators, and your overall business success.
When you consistently refine your brand kit, your marketing team can be more efficient and confident, leading them to develop more engaging and on-brand content. As your business grows, the attention to your product or service also grows. Refining your brand kit to match the needs of potential collaborators and journalists can save you time and energy while building important relationships. In the end, your brand image and reputation are shaped by the choices you make and the tools you use to get you there.
Creating your brand kit doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, it should be an exciting process that helps you solidify your brand’s visual identity and to the core of your messaging.
Maybe you’re just starting to look through brand kit examples and can use this opportunity to finalize your company’s brand. Or maybe your brand has a long history but is in need of an upgrade.
Either way, you can use your brand kit to guide you and your company as you scale internally and externally. As you grow your customer base, a brand kit helps deliver a cohesive customer experience no matter where audiences may find you.
And as you grow your company’s employee base, a brand kit helps new team members get quickly acclimated to your brand and how to implement it in their work.