A company’s brand is often more important than the products it sells. It’s the reason why consumers avoid buying generic unless they’re on a budget. It’s a highly planned and perfected experience, and iconic companies like Apple and Coca Cola take these sort of things very seriously.

But what’s a brand? According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” In other words, it’s a strict set of rules that sets one company apart from any other.

A brand book lies at the heart of every strong company, and often reveals insider details, goals and marketing techniques. With all this in mind, here’s 11 major brand books to inspire you for your next logo or branding project:

Foursquare

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The Foursquare brand book is exemplary. Check out the do’s and don’t’s for logo usage. Yes designers really are that strict, and yes it’s 100% necessary.

Skype

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Skype’s brand book is much friendlier and appeals to both designers and non-designers, giving special attention to speech bubbles…

Unicef

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Unicef’s brand book is wildly intricate, and even includes seasonal branding for holidays like Halloween.

Nike Football

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Nike Football‘s brand book show’s an intense, powerful attitude. Hint: Click ‘Click to read’ or everything will be skewed.

Intel

Screen Shot 2011 12 20 at 4.59.54 PM 520x272 A look at brand books from the best in the business   Apple, Nike and moreIntel’s brand book, designed in part by Greg Kletsel, shows the evolution of its logo.

Adobe

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Adobe’s brand book details an incredible task: maintaing continuity through tons of different products.

Apple (resellers)

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Apple’s reseller brand book is particularly strict to prevent brand damage from outside companies.

I Love NY

scan0001 520x128 A look at brand books from the best in the business   Apple, Nike and moreMilton Glasier’s flawless I Love NY logo will be studied for ages. It was designed in 1977 and is now one of the most iconic logos ever created.

Nasa 1976

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For the vintage-inclined, imjustcreative dug up a 1976 brand book from NASA.

Santa

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Keeping up with the holiday spirit, Quietroom created a brilliant brand book for Santa himself!

Firefox

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This Firefox brand book is more of a emotional guideline.

People develop relationships with the brands they trust, and the best brands reinforce trust while driving sales and building connections. What do you feel are the strongest brands around today? Apple? Google? 

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