Creating Your Brand Style Guide
One of the most important documents for any company is a brand style guide, even though many businesses don’t have one.
So why are they so important? They create brand consistency throughout any material you produce – no matter who creates it.
Style guides contain all the necessary information to create everything your company needs. Whether it be a website, print material, internal memo, or anything else, this guide will make your life a breeze. So, if they are so important, why don’t all companies have one on hand?
The biggest reason is time. Style guides don’t just magically appear. They take time and effort to create. But how much time does it take to explain to a designer how much space you need around your logo at all times? And how they’re not supposed to change any of the colors? What about finding every font you use and having to relay that to them as well? Not to mention any iconography you’ve got being used.
Do yourself a huge favor. Create a style guide now and save yourself a lot of time and frustration down the road. Let’s get started with the basics of a style guide:
Determine your logo size and placement
Your logo is a crucial element to your brand and it is important that it remains consistent at all times throughout your marketing, web design, internal usage, etc.
In your style guide, it is also important to show how not to use the logo. If there are ever any issues you can refer to the style guide as a reference.
Pick your color palette
Your color palette is another essential element to your brand and another brand aspect that is crucial to maintain consistency throughout your marketing materials. Colors can be easily altered so it’s important to show the exact hex code, CMYK and RGB values, as well as the Pantone color in your style guide.
A slight color change can quickly create a severe difference, so be sure to manually check your colors to ensure 100% accuracy.
Choose your fonts
Choose fonts that reflect your brand and your brand’s unique identity. Fonts are a large visual part of any collateral you create, and it’s essential to initially choose the fonts you want for your brand and stick with them.
In your style guide you can dictate which typeface you want for what aspect of material you are working with.
Select iconography that relates to your brand
Icons can really set your brand apart from others. Include those icons or icon style in your style guide to make sure they are being used properly.
In the style guide, you can demonstrate what stroke width is correct or what colors can be used for those icons, etc.
Set a photography style
Photography can reflect your brand and specific photography styles can induce certain feelings or emotions about your brand. People can instantly recognize a brand based off of a photo.
Photographers and designers can reference your photography style in your brand guide to ensure that all photos being used or created are aligning with your brand. Be sure to give dimensions and resolution guidelines as well as visual examples.
Set your brand voice
Your brand voice is as important as your visual brand style. Your brand voice can be difficult to represent in writing though, so you might want to include particular words or phrases that can be used or even words that should be avoided.
Give examples of different material, showing headlines or social media examples, as well as body text.
The main goal throughout your branding is consistency. This is why a style guide is so important to your brand; it gives you a physical reference to circle back to if you are ever in question with what aligns with your branding.
Not all brands are the same so not all style guides will need the same information. The above points are some of the essentials that can create a great starting point for your style guide.
However, you decide to make your style guide and whichever elements you decide to include, make sure it is clear and concise. The main goal is to make the design process smooth and simple for everyone.