Practical Tips for Using Your Brand Guidelines

Branding | |

You’ve received your beautiful new brand guidelines document, but what do you do now? Here are some steps you can take to optimise your branding and ensure you achieve consistency and a strong brand narrative across all of your comms.

1. Install Your Fonts

Before you do anything else, it’s a good idea to have your entire team install the fonts used in your branding so they are readily accessible when you come to create new documents or graphics.

A note on font licenses: at Ballyhoo, we ensure the fonts we recommend include the correct license for commercial use but it’s always worth familiarising yourself with the license wording.

System Fonts

If a font included in your guidelines is a system font , you should already have this available to use in programs like Word, as they are  supplied with Windows and MacOS by default (system fonts will be specified in your brand guidelines document, think fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia and Impact which you’ll have been using since your first time on a PC!). 

Free Fonts

Free fonts, like those from Google Fonts or Fontshare, are typically available at no cost for commercial use but need to be downloaded via the link provided in your brand guidelines. We recommend downloading all weights available unless specified in your guidelines. 

Once downloaded, right-click and choose ‘Install’. If you’re prompted to allow the program to make changes to your computer, and if you trust the source of the font, click Yes.

The font will then appear on your programs to be used. You may need to restart your computer for them to appear in your font selection dropdown.

Paid Fonts

Just like free fonts, you’ll need to download and install paid fonts following the process above, ensuring you have selected the correct commercial license for your intended usage. The process is similar to downloading a free font, except that you’ll need to make a payment before you can access the download link. 

Your brand guidelines might specify which weights you need to download but there’s usually a discount for buying the full font family (all weights including italics) which is more cost-effective long-term.

2. Set Your Default Styles

Once downloaded and installed it’s a good idea to set your fonts as your default styles, this will ensure good consistency with all the documents you produce as well as your website and printed materials. 

Unless specific font weights and sizes are specified, try to match the combinations used on your website or in the brand guidelines themselves for headings and paragraphs.

To set default fonts in Google Docs and Microsoft Word, see our step-by-step instructions here.

3. Set Your Default Colours

Brand guidelines  include a selection of colours to be used in your branding and recommendations on how and where to use them. Colour codes should be provided in  formats including CMYK, RGB and Hex (a six-character alphanumeric code starting with a #) – sometimes you’ll see a Pantone reference too. 

For most programs, you will need to use the hex code to set the colour. To make your life easier, set your default brand colours in your software programs – this will allow you to easily choose the correct colours quickly.

To set default fonts in Google Docs and Microsoft Word, see our step-by-step instructions here.

4. Understand your Logo


As part of your branding exercise you’ll be provided with your logo in various formats, including on a transparent background and in reverse colours, all in RGB and CMYK colour profiles which you’ll need depending on whether your logo needs to be used on screen or in print respectively.


Printers will be happiest with a vector version of your CMYK logo which they can resize without loss of quality or definition for the situation at hand, particularly for large-scale applications like van livery or signage. Vector files end with .ai or .svg.


 If you need to upload your logo for anything, such as social media platforms, it’s always a good idea to create the size required for the situation at hand. Rather than using a logo that’s too small or too big, which  may result in blur or fuzziness,  it’s best to create a custom size logo. Most programs and tools will give you recommended size requirements that you should follow.

To resize your logo we recommend using Figma, which is free for individuals. To use Figma to resize images:

  1. Open Figma on desktop or app
  2. Create a new file
  3. Drag and drop your RGB SVG logo to the page
  4. To resize, select one of the image corners, holding down the shift button and dragging your mouse to the correct dimensions that you need. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+K to ensure that the dimensions stay the same, and drag one of the corners to resize 
  5. On the right hand side, click the + next to ‘Export’ and choose ‘PNG’ or ‘JPG’ from the dropdown menu
  6. Click the ‘Export’ button.

Use Template Gallery

In Google Docs, you can create templates to use for all of your documents – making it easier to use the correct styles and fonts.

To create a template:

  1. Start a new Google Docs file, and save it under a unique name
  2. Add any content that you like – including content and colours
  3. From the Google Docs home screen, select ‘Template gallery’ and select your organisations name, and ‘Submit template’
  4. Select a document and click ‘Open’
  5. Select a category from the drop down menu and ‘Submit’

Then to use a template for your documents going forward:

  1. Go to Google Docs, and click ‘Template gallery’
  2. Select the template you want to use
  3. A copy of the template opens which you can make changes to. Remember to rename it and move it to the correct folder

Support from Ballyhoo

If you need help with how to use your branding, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

Need help formalising your brand? Contact us to see how we can help.

Headshot of Rebecca young new team member


Rebecca helps to keep the team organised and supports all of our clients with day to day activities and content. She also runs all of Ballyhoo's internal marketing.