One of the things I provide in my brand package is a brand style guide. I think it’s one of the most important things to provide to keep the brand uniform. Just in case I’m not available or needed as a designer for retainer, it’s the perfect way for clients to keep expanding their brand consistently.
What’s a Brand Style Guide
So what’s a brand style guide? It’s basically a manual for your brand. It’s a guideline for the design elements of your brand that showcase the mood and tone of the company.
Why is a brand style guide important? It’s a guide to keep your brand consistent. If I had to use one word to describe branding, it’s consistency. A brand style guide will help keep the brand uniform. If you’re planning on expanding, the brand style guide will be useful in creating new graphics and marketing that is consistent with the brand.
Your business bible
I like to think of the brand style guide as your business bible. It’s a reference and guide to keeping your brand style uniform. Even though you’ll have creative ideas of how you want to market your brand, the design elements will always be the same.
For example, if you started off just blogging, but want to expand into creating videos, all you have to do is reference your brand style guide and use the same brand elements. No matter the content of the video, as long as the brand elements are the same your brand will be recognizable.
Keeping your brand consistent
As I mentioned before, the main goal of branding is consistency. So, as long as you consistently keep your style, your business will have a focused brand that caters to your audience.
The brand style guide will create consistency because it will list the elements of your brand. Most brand style guides consist of the brand’s:
- Color palette
- Logo Variation
The brand style guide might also include do’s and dont’s. For example, it might state ‘don’t put the logo on a blue background’ because it doesn’t match your brand, or ‘if the background is blue, use this logo’ because that logo matches better with the blue background. Another example is typography. Because type is used differently on the web and in print, there might be rules on which font to use for each medium.
Reference for your brand
Earlier, I called the brand style guide your business bible because it’s a reference for the brand. The main reason it’s important is for expanding and growing a company. One way you’ll grow your company is by hiring new employees. No matter who those employees are, they will have to know how to use the logo and which fonts to use when they are sending documents.
When I worked in accounting at the Hilton, sometimes I had to create documents from scratch because I needed to edit an invoice or send a document that didn’t exist in the Hilton system (Maybe because it was a franchise). When I created documents from scratch, I would usually copy and paste the Hilton logo and choose fonts that were consistent with the Hilton brand. I tried to make sure that the overall document looked just like any of the other Hilton documents.
Creating documents that looked just like the rest of the Hilton brand, created professionalism. Having a brand and keeping it consistent automatically makes you look professional. If I created a document and sent it without the Hilton brand elements, that would look unprofessional and questionable since the Hilton is such a known brand.
Another reason you might need to reference the brand style guide is social media. Maybe you couldn’t hire the original graphic designer and you’re doing it all yourself or employing someone else to take care of social media, you can still create a consistent style by using the brand style guide. Using the brand style guide, you can use your brand elements consistently to create a recognizable style for your social media feed.
Great for a re-brand or web design
Maybe you need a rebrand because your company is growing and expanding and the target audience has changed. Your designer can reference it to make changes or if you have to hire a new designer, you can give them the brand style guide and make notes of what you want to change. For example, maybe you want to keep the main logo but change the variation logo or you want to keep some colors and change others.
Some people start off with a physical store and want to create a website or vice versa. If you already have a brand style guide, your web designer can use it as a reference to build a website. They can match the colors (CMYK is for print and RGB is for web) and also find typography that is more suitable for the web that matches your print typography.
Summary, for those who like to skim like me
The brand style guide is a useful document because it can be used as a reference for your brand. It’s great for when you want to expand your company into different avenues like social media, print advertising, web, video, and etc. The guide can also be used as a reference when you start hiring employees that will have to send documents or update social media or represent the company in any way.
When I’m designing for the logo x branding package or the brand x web design package, I always include a brand style guide. For the web design package, I include the typography and colors that I used (unless I based it off of a brand style guide). Check out my services here for more information.
-Paigon | Natasha Lane Design Co.