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Best practices: How to write company brand guidelines – Pictograms

In this series of Best practices: How to write company brand guidelines, deBroome will be sharing our expert knowledge of style guidelines – how to get started, what to include and questions to consider. We hope to give you the tools to create a solid foundation for your brand style guidelines.

Chapter 6: Pictograms

Pictograms are a great way to express meaningful messages in a picture form. Most businesses create their own collection of pictograms to stay consistent with their brand identity.

Pictogram library

The pictogram library is the central location for all the pictograms. A quick glance at the pictogram library can give you an overall feel for the brand identity, aspects of company offices and product features.

example of SEB pictogram library

SEB pictogram library, visit here


Pictograms are for both print and online use. They are included in presentations, reports, or surveys to compare, show ratings or display percentages. Moreover, pictograms can indicate the progress of a goal by showing key stages.

Unlike images, pictograms usually have clear self-explanatory meaning. However, in some cases, pictograms may need supporting text.

example of a pictogram illustration

Example of a pictogram illustration

Do's & Don’ts

It is important to clearly outline what is allowed and not allowed when using pictograms.

example of how to use pictograms
Size pictograms in the same proportions
Do not distort the proportions

One key characteristic of pictograms is that they are using black. There are exceptions to the rule depending on the brand’s identity and values. It may be that a brand uses color but only has one or two colors and never have contrasting colors together. Another way to use color is to show shades of one color in a comparison.

Another unique factor is that pictograms are primarily not used in advertisements, campaigns and events.

pictogram example of how to use it
Pictograms should be the same size when beside on another
Never display pictograms beside each other in different sizes

Thank you to SEB for letting us use their pictograms for this blog's examples!

Previous chapters

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Danielle Wright

Danielle Wright is a project manager at deBroome, revolutionizing the way businesses manage their brand through digital brand products.

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