In most cases, the first thing that’s shown in a brand document is the logo in the form it’s seen almost all of the time. This is the one that appears on your website, letterheads and business cards.
Your logo in its primary form might not work in all placements. To ensure that you’re represented properly, lay out the logo in the acceptable different layouts. Usually, it’s standard to have a version that’s just an icon, a vertical version, as well as examples with or without additional details like backgrounds. Similarly, it’s important to provide a logo on both black and white, with the acceptable colour changes if they’re ever needed. Often, logos are also provided with acceptable spacing to ensure that they’re not crowded.
Brand colours often exist in a few iterations. You have your primary colours, which are the ones mainly found on your logo and branded content, and then the secondary colours which tone and add depth. These might be found on your site or on advertising material. Show swatches, codes and combinations to make sure that they’re used exactly as you’d like it.
If anybody else is going to be choosing imagery for your brand, it’s a good idea to explain what is and isn’t on brand. For example, at Zinc we don’t use stock photos on our site so our brand guidelines outline this to make sure that anybody who we work with only uses our internal collection of photography to choose from. If you’re a technology company, you don’t want to use outdated devices on your site. Similarly, you might have a requirement for imagery to be diverse, location specific, or within certain colourways then here’s the time to specify what is and isn’t acceptable.