23 Elements For App Brand Guidelines

Launching a new business app is an exhilarating journey, brimming with endless possibilities and the thrill of innovation. It's like standing at the threshold of a world where efficiency meets creativity, where solutions are just waiting to be discovered. There's an electric excitement in the air, pulsating with the promise of transforming workflows, simplifying processes, and revolutionizing how things get done.

App Brand Guidelines

Creating a comprehensive set of brand guidelines is essential for maintaining consistency and coherence in the visual and messaging aspects of your app design. Brand guidelines ensure you clearly communicate your value in language and visual style. Clear guidelines also attract your target audience, capturing your customers' attention.


  • Colour and style

  • Logo use

  • Photography and image selection

  • Layout and functional elements

  • Animation, movement and sound

  • User experience and accessibility

  • Distribution and collateral

  • Meeting trademark and legal requirements

  • Updating the look and feel of the app

  • Plan for continuous improvement

The following guide breaks your app brand guidelines into 23 elements that will ensure you have a comprehensive guide to enable consistent branding throughout your app and all communications about the app.

Colour and style

Specify primary and secondary colour choices in your colour palette. Make sure you include colour codes (RGB, CMYK, Hex) for both print and digital media.

Next is the typography. Select and list the primary and secondary fonts, specifying font sizes for headings, subheadings, and body text. It can be helpful to designers, developers and other content creators to provide examples of font pairings.

Most apps will use icons of some kind so be sure to include your choice of Iconography in your app brand guidelines. This should define guidelines for the use of icons in the mobile app, and specify size and colour requirements.

Logo use

Provide clear guidelines on how to use the logo in different contexts. Be sure to specify minimum size requirements and define clear space around the logo.

Photography and image selection

Whether you are using bespoke imagery or stock images, you will need to guide the types of images that should be used. Specify image styles (photography, illustrations, etc.), including colour schemes, visual appearance and lighting. Include any filters or effects to be applied.

Layout and functional elements

Define the grid system that will ensure a consistent layout across the app, including the specific margins, padding, and spacing.

Buttons and other interactive elements also need to be uniform. Provide guidelines on button design, including size, colour, and states (for example: hover, active). Be sure to specify any other interactive element styles.

Many mobile apps include forms to collect information from the app users. Define the design for input fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, etc., and specify error and success states. The design should provide a seamless and unambiguous experience for the person completing the form.

Easy to use, intuitive navigation is a key part of your mobile app and will help to fight against mobile app abandonment. Your app brand guidelines should outline the design for menus, navigation bars, and breadcrumbs.

Animation, movement and sound

Specify guidelines for any animations or motion design used in the app that will bring your app to life. Make sure you define the speed and style of animations.

No app brand guidelines would be complete without a section on voice and tone - after all your app is how you communicate with your audience. Outline the preferred writing style and tone for all app communications, with examples of messaging.

User experience and accessibility

The user interface (UI) elements are critical to a seamless user experience. Detail the design of common UI elements (cards, modals, sliders). Be sure to specify hover and click effects.

Responsive design ensures your app works as expected across a range of different device specifications. Provide guidelines for how the app should adapt to different screen sizes and include responsive breakpoints.

Accessibility is important to enable all users to enjoy your app offering. Ensure that the app adheres to accessibility standards, considering visual and audio requirements. Provide guidelines for accessible colour contrast and text sizes.

Sometimes your app might not load instantly, so appealing loading screens are key to keeping the user engaged. Design specifications for loading animations and screens.

When something doesn’t work, your app will display an error state. Provide guidance on how errors and system messages should be displayed.

Distribution and collateral

Now you’ve defined the brand guidelines inside the app it’s time to consider how you’ll market the app to your audience. Specify how the brand should be represented on social media platforms, with social media graphics and avatar guidelines.

You’ll also need to define how the app brand guidelines are used within the relevant app store and other marketing channels. Make sure you have email templates designed along with guidance for transactional and marketing email communications, such as whether you will use emojis in the subject line.

Meeting trademark and legal requirements

There may be legal and compliance requirements you need to meet under the trademarks or to remain GDPR compliant. Ensure these instructions are included along with your app brand guidelines.

Updating and refining the app's look and feel

Now that you’ve set the style and tone of the app brand, it’s time to consider how you will evolve the brand and announce changes to the app. Create guidelines for how release notes should be presented to users.

When a new version of the app is released, specify how different versions of the app should be represented visually.

Plan for continuous improvement

You’ve done it! Now that you’ve considered the elements for your app brand guidelines, it’s time to implement a plan for customer feedback, internal feedback and iteration of your brand guidelines to continually improve your app. Encourage a feedback loop for design improvements and provide a process for updating brand guidelines as the app evolves.

If this guide seems daunting, never fear. The PixelForce team are expert in executing app brand guidelines and can provide you with support along the way.

Frequently asked questions

What should app brand guidelines include?

Brand guidelines for your app should include how your logo will be used, the characteristics of your brand, in particular the overall look and feel, and an overview of the tone of the written and spoken language within the app.

Apple’s developer documentation provides best practice guidelines on branding for iOS mobile apps.

How to do branding for an app?

When setting branding for your app ensure that the style, colours and fonts you choose resonate with your target audience. Aim to elicit the desired emotional response that will leave your audience feeling confident about using your brand. Brand consistency helps to build trust and increase brand loyalty over time, so when making changes, ensure the transition between styles is seamless and clear.

What are digital brand guidelines?

Digital brand guidelines set out how your business will be represented visually online. A digital presence is essential, and these ‘rules’ about using your brand style ensure that your messaging remains consistent across different digital communication platforms and channels.

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