Style guides ensure brand consistency across creatives irrespective of who in your organization, vendor, or agency creates it.
Style guide a.k.a. the brand bible is a document that outlines everything that you should keep in mind whilst creating websites, advertisements, memos, or any creatives with respect to your brand. In brief, it is a guide about your logo, trademark, wordmark, color usage, font usage, iconography, etc. It does take some time and effort to create a style guide and a great deal of thought goes behind creating one. That could explain why many brands do not have them despite style guides being the most important must-haves when it comes to branding.
How to Create a Brand Style Guide for Your Business
Without much ado, let us dive into the basics of creating a style guide right away.
Specify your logo size, color, iconography, usage, placement, and most importantly the dos and don’ts. A logo is the most prominent visual representation and an incredibly important part of your brand. Therefore, it is imperative you clearly specify how exactly it has to be used and how not to be used. Essentially, things like how it should be used in a dark background, light background, etc. If it is a wordmark, restrictions of the wordmark being misused or inappropriately used, etc.
Choose a color that is truly reflective of your brand’s personality, values, and aspirations as a business. Make sure you specify the exact hex code for web use as well as CMYK values and Pantone colors for print usage. A consistent color theme is the backbone of your design.
Fonts again represent your brand in all its glory and it essentially has to be consistent with your typography to give your brand a professional look. Your guide should clearly specify as to what typeface has to be used in what content and where. Not only should the guide clearly specify font size, type, etc. for heading, subheadings, text body, it also should cover areas such as sizing, kerning (the spacing between your letters and words), and leading (the distance between lines of text on the page), etc.
Iconography (pictorial material relating to your brand) can really make your brand stand out from the crowd. Your style guide should clearly define size variations and color preferences and specify usage; the various variations, if any, that could be used, and most important of all, how not to be used.
Digital or web-specific elements of your branding. Your website should reflect your brand in all its design and branding elements. The style guide should clearly specify digital adaptation of all previously discussed brand guidelines including aspects like color combinations for the navigation bar, buttons, etc.
A brand personality, which encompasses both the brand tone and voice has to be clearly defined in your style guide. Your brand should sound and look a certain way. Based on what your brand stands for and what line of businesses you pursue, your brand could be peppy, instructive, serious, intuitive, etc.
Now that you understand the basic premises of creating a style guide, go ahead and create one. A visual style guide could end up being a simple 5 to 6-page guide or may even end up being a 100‑page style guide based on the complexity of your brand and business. However, when you decide to make your style guide, it should be clear and concise.
Also, do understand a style guide is a dynamic piece of work and as your brand and business evolve over time, there should be enough inherent flexibility to adapt to the changes.
Get in touch with us to know how we could help you design an outstanding style guide just for you.