Creating a Brand Style Guide
What is a Brand Style Guide?
A Brand Style Guide is a set of standards or instructions that define the branding of your business or organization. Branding guides can be used both internally and externally. By sharing your brand style guide with companies and agencies you partner with, they will know the proper way to communicate your brand.
Brand Style Guides should include the following:
Brand Story – a short description of facts and feelings that your brand portrays
Logo – logos and acceptable colors, placement, and orientations
Color Palette – primary and secondary colors
Typography – font styles, sizing and spacing
Image Guidelines – photo and illustration usage guidelines
Brand Tone or Voice – acceptable language and emotion
Why Do I Need a Brand Style Guide?
Brand Style Guides can help build brand identity and make your brand recognizable no matter where it is being seen. Here are a few reasons why having a Brand Style Guide is important to the overall success of your brand.
Brand Style Guides ensure consistency. It has been proven that consistency is key and that repetition creates brand recognition.
Creating a cohesive brand also builds your brand’s value. Consumers recognize your brand to be professional, trustworthy, and high quality.
Brand Style Guides help streamline work for your team. They have a roadmap laid out of what is acceptable, making the decision-making process more efficient.
How Do I Develop a Brand Style Guide?
Now that we have gone through what a Brand Style Guide is and why it is important to have one, let’s get into a step-by-step guide to creating your very own Brand Style Guide.
1. Brand Story
Every brand has a story. A brand story defines the company’s values and shares what the company stands for or values. All brand stories include the organization’s vision, mission, and values in a short yet descriptive narrative. Brand stories not only help their audience get to know them; they also can assist with internal decisions for the organization.
Your logo is the most important piece of your branding. It is unique to your brand. When people think of your brand, they should instantly picture your logo. Below are examples of the guidelines that should be included in your Brand Style Guide for your logo.
Some brands take it further and include more specific guidelines, such as clear space required around the logo, if the logo can be rotated, if the logo can be placed on top of images, and so on. Setting these guidelines is up to the discretion of each individual brand.
3. Color Palette
To ensure your branding stays consistent it is important to clearly state your core brand colors in your Brand Style Guide. Depending on your branding you may choose to include secondary colors. You should include the hex codes, RGB values, and CMYK values for each color you list.
Just like your logo usage and color palettes, the typography you choose for your branding should remain consistent. Including the chosen typefaces and guidelines for their uses in your Brand Style Guide can ensure that your typography is consistent across all mediums, whether it be print or digital. You should list the fonts, weights, and where they are to be used.
5. Image Guidelines
Creating guidelines for image usage provides guidance on what type of photos, illustrations, and infographics are acceptable to use in your branding. Some examples of what to include in your Brand Style Guide are the look and feel of your photos, social media graphics, and color and font usage for infographics and charts.
6. Brand Tone or Voice
Just like your visuals, your brand’s tone or voice needs to also remain consistent across the board. Find a voice that resonates with your audience and stick with that. In your Brand Style Guide be sure to include your writing style: is it casual, professional, fun, energetic, or direct? Includes words you like and words to avoid. Include a list of do’s and don’ts, such as punctuation, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, etc. Lastly, create a brief writing example to include as a guide.
As you can see, a lot of information is included within a Brand Style Guide. If you need help creating a Brand Style Guide for your company or organization or a complete brand redesign, please reach out to 30|90 Marketing.