What is a Brand Style Guide?
A brand style guide, sometimes referred to as a ‘brand book’ or ‘brand bible’, is the DNA of your company’s branding. It is a visual document that defines what your brand looks like.
A brand style guide is an essential reference for creating consistent and unified content across your business. It combines your company values, mission, and vision in order to establish how your brand will be communicated. This includes not only what your brand looks like, but also how it feels and sounds.
Why is a Brand Style Guide Important?
Your brand identity is like the personality of your business. It helps customers recognize and understand who your company is.
Setting guidelines for your brand helps to maintain a coherent personality so that your customers are able to both recognize and trust your brand. If your personality was always changing, customers wouldn’t know who you are. Inconsistency is confusing for clients and prevents them from being able to form a connection with your brand. A brand style guide is a great way to maintain your company’s personality and build loyalty with customers.
A brand book keeps your team on the same page. Designers, customer service reps, marketing, and sales employees can all benefit from your company’s style guide. When different people are all working to create a consistent look and feel for your brand, a style guide works as an important reference tool. This will help colleagues to create content which fits with the look and feel of your brand.
What is Included in a Brand Style Guide?
Your brand story helps to introduce your business. It gives a summary of the core components of what makes your business who it is. This should include aspects of your brand personality, vision, mission, and values. It may also be helpful to include who your target audience is.
This aspect of the brand style guide helps to ensure a consistent visual representation of your logo. It defines how your company logo is used in different environments so that your brand image remains recognizable. This section may include rules for the proper usage of your logo such as correct spacing, colour variations, minimum and maximum sizes. It can also be helpful to include logo ‘do’s and don’ts’ with rules on what to avoid. These rules will assist in preventing mistakes like incorrect alignment, stretching, and altering of the logo.
It may be useful to include imagery that has done well for the brand. Including images from the company’s Instagram, print materials, or previous advertising will indicate the visual aesthetic and personality of your company. You can also create a moodboard of images which you feel convey the feeling and look of your brand.
A great way to make the designers’ jobs easier is to include a colour palette in your brand style guide. Including this will make sure that company visuals keep a consistent look and feel. Businesses often choose four or fewer colours and stick close to the colours included in their logo.
These colours should include one dark colour for text, a lighter colour which can be used for backgrounds, a neutral hue, and a colour that stands out.
You will want to show these colour swatches in your brand style guide, as well as include hex codes, RGB, CMYK values. This will help maintain a consistent look throughout your print and digital content.
A helpful tool for choosing colour schemes and creating colour swatches is Adobe Color CC .
Font selection is a huge part of creating the look and feel of your brand. Some companies choose to go with one typeface family, whereas other business may choose to use multiple fonts to define their brand. A professional designer can be a great asset when deciding on which fonts to go with.
Your style guide should include an explanation for the choice of font. How does this typeface fit with your brand? It should explain what exactly the typefaces are used for, how they should be aligned, and the spacing of the font, including tracking and kerning ratios.
Writing style is often overlooked when thinking about brand style, but it is one of the key components for how people perceive your brand. It helps to establish personality and affects the interactions your brand has with its audience.
When including voice in your brand style guide, provide appropriate writing tones by defining what sort of words you like vs words you don’t like. It can help to think of your brand as a person and include various qualities that might help to guide the writing style. Words like funny, energetic, positive, trustworthy, all have different meanings and can help to give an idea of how your brand will communicate.
A brand style guide is an important tool for any business. It is something that requires a great deal of consideration, and is worth investing the time and money in. There are many aspects that need to be considered, and seeking the professional help of a branding agency will help give you the advantage of knowledgeable and experienced designers.