API branding is an area that I find to be contradictory in the space. The loss of brand control is both one of the top concerns for companies when doing APIs and one of the most deficient areas of API operations, with most API providers have no branding guidance in their developer portal whatsoever. I think it is just one of those telling aspects of how dysfunctional many companies, how their concerns are out of alignment with reality, and where they are investing their resources.
Every API should have some sort of branding page or area for their API operations. I even have a branding page. If you are looking for a healthy example to consider as a baseline of your branding page, take a look at Twitter's branding page, which provides the essential building blocks you should be considering:
- Simple URL: something easy to find and easily indexed by search engines, even if it's a subdomain like Twitter uses.
- Logos and assets: provide us with at least a logo for your company, if not a wealth of assets to put to use.
- Branding guidelines: offer up some structure to help guide us, and show you've put some thought into branding.
- Link to embeddables: if you have any buttons, badges, or widgets, point us to your embeddable resources.
- Link to terms of service: provide us with a quick link to the terms of service as it applies to branding.
- Contact information: give me an email or another channel for asking a question if I get confused at any time.
I do not agree with all of Twitter's branding enforcement, but I respect that they have set a bar and provide the ecosystem with guidance. At the very least, it makes sure all of us are using the latest logo, and when done right, it can help encourage consistency across every integration that is putting API resources to work. I find it hard to respect branding concerns from companies who don't have a dedicated branding resource area for me to consult.
When done right, APIs extend the reach of any brand. Think about Twitter and Facebook sharing, and other embeddables. Most API consumers are more than happy to help extend your brand, but we are going to be lazy and always need guidance and things to copy and paste. At the very least, make sure that you have the minimum viable branding assets and guidance like Twitter does. It really is the minimum bar for any API operating out there and should not be ignored.