Have you ever glanced at an advertisement and instantly recognized the brand, even without seeing the name? There’s a good chance that you recognized certain aspects of that business, such as its distinctive fonts, taglines, logos, and color schemes. The Brand Style Guide is composed of all of these components. A brand’s style guide establishes all editorial and visual facets of the brand’s identity.
What Is a Brand Style Guide?
A brand style guide is a document that governs all of a company’s visual (and sometimes editorial) elements that make it recognizable and distinct. It also describes when and how to apply these elements. Simply put, a style guide is essential for any type of communication!
These style guides ensure that there is no ambiguity about how the brand’s content should look and sound. All company communications are consistent across channels and mediums when the guide is used as a reference. The style guide can be as detailed as you want; larger companies typically have more comprehensive style guides because they use a wider range of communication channels and appear in more places (television, print, online, etc.).
Why Words on Us use Brand Style Guides
Your brand should be appropriately reflected in everything you produce. Every time a customer interacts with your business, consistency produces the coherent brand experience that most customers seek. Your ability to cultivate prospective clients will ultimately be aided by having a clear style guide, which is why we use them for our clients.
Even if multiple marketers or content producers work for your business, through our brand style guide, your brand identity and recognition will be maintained. We invest the time and resources necessary to do it right, so as to aid subsequent content producers in maintaining the typographic and color hierarchy necessary to maintain the consistency of your brand.
These style guides ensure that your employees always use your branding correctly – the right shade of color, the right tagline, the right font, the right size logo, and so on. If you have a new hire, having a set of brand style guides ensures that everyone has easy access to the right branding and understands how to use it properly.
Why should every brand have brand style guides?
One of the reasons you need a brand style guide is that it assists in the development of a strong brand identity. Consistency is essential. It is much easier to construct an identity, no matter what it is, when you have a guide to help you maintain a consistent image. Strong and consistent branding clarifies what your company stands for, allowing you to communicate your purpose, personality, and promises. A law firm or a higher education institution may, for example, have stricter rules about how they use tone of voice on social media than a restaurant or a creative agency. A consistent tone of voice and brand identity aid in keeping a company on message. Which brings us to our next point…
A law firm, for example, may want to use a consistent tone of voice, perhaps one that is sincere, informed, but also friendly – text talk and cheeky jokes are probably not appropriate. This will aid in maintaining a professional image. However, it is not only the tone of voice that conveys professionalism. Consistent colors and logos across your online and offline businesses will also help.
Customers may become confused or even apprehensive about using your business if your logo differs on Twitter from your website, or even between your Facebook profile picture and your cover photo. Simply put, inconsistent branding does not look good. One reason businesses require brand style guides is to ensure consistent impressions of competence and professionalism across the brand. Because of the consistency that style guides create, brands are instantly recognisable to customers, without the need to explain who you are or what you do.
Take, for example, Google. You know who you’re dealing with when you see those four colors. This is due to Google’s carefully crafted brand guidelines, which outline which colors are the “Google” colors.
This all comes back to your brand’s identity: the stronger and more consistent it is, the more likely your audience will recognize and identify you among competitors. Having a consistent brand style guide also means that when you add something new to your store of designed products – whether it’s a new logo, a Twitter header, or a new email signature – the new addition will blend in with your existing designs and be just as recognisable, even if your customers haven’t seen it before!
We are all creatures of habit, so we are more likely to buy from brands that have gained our trust through time. A business can successfully meet the expectations of its clients by maintaining consistency in its branding.
Let’s dig deeper into style guides.
Visual Style Guides
Visual style guides establish a brand’s visual identity so that all corporate graphics are consistent throughout all sources. Design rules for the feel and aesthetic, use of white space, adaptations of the logo, and corporate color palettes are typically included in graphic style guides. All typography information, such as line height/spacing, font families, and sizes, are included in such a guide. Additionally, there are layout specifications that show where objects should be placed on a page.
One of the biggest advantages of having a visual style is that it fosters collaboration among content producers working on your brand. If businesses leave their visual representations up for individual interpretation, the results are not always pleasant.
When you have a visual style guide prepared, you can make all marketing decisions with clarity and keep your blog, social networking pages, and official website all looking the same.
Editorial style guide
This style guide contains a brand’s message or voice. For instance, it might be active or passive and written in the first or second person. All words to avoid and any regional dialects that should be incorporated are listed in the editorial style guide.
The spelling, abbreviations, and punctuation are all included so that everyone follows the same rules. Brands are personified by the business voice to appear as if they are actual people. Your digital and online marketing initiatives serve as examples of your brand. Make sure the tone you use complements the other content marketing strategies you are using.
The Structure of a Brand Style Guide
Brand style guides should be as detailed as necessary to convey your message consistently and to assist in the creation of a brand story. They should also be concise and easy to use for those who use them.
Consider these elements as you work through the steps of creating a brand style guide to help deliver a consistent brand identity.
Voice and tone
Brand tone refers to how a company communicates with its customers and has a significant impact on brand identity. It can help to increase trust and make the brand more memorable.
Customers prefer brands that they feel connected to, and developing a distinct brand voice can help to foster that connection. When developing a brand voice, it is critical to consider how the brand refers to itself and its readers. Determine the length of paragraphs and sentences for all company communications to ensure consistency.
Make a list of keywords to use in written content and a list of words to avoid. Indicate whether your brand’s tone is formal, casual, playful, or scientific. Determine the brand’s personality as well as what to avoid.
A brand style guide should outline all fonts and typography used within a brand and indicate which fonts and styles are used for titles, subheadings, and body text. It may be beneficial to include an example of how a final document using these fonts and styles would look.
Consider including a type system that clarifies details such as body text, heading levels, color, responsiveness, and so on. You can also specify a type scale that includes the system’s supported styles.
To maintain a consistent style, include specifics on alignment and preferences. Include the font used for the company’s logo, as this will be useful if the logo is refreshed or rebranded. Add all typography and writing elements from the business brand style guide.
Images and logos
Because a logo is one of the most important aspects of a brand, you should include all aspects of the brand logo in the brand style guide. Many of the brand’s other visual elements will be determined by the brand logo; it’s critical to include a detailed explanation of the logo elements (and any acceptable variations) in the brand style guide.
Because most businesses have a social media presence, you should include a guideline for creating images and graphics. This will aid in the creation of brand consistency across online platforms.
Add all color codes used within a brand to ensure consistency across all social media posts, the website, and marketing materials. Customers will be able to associate certain color schemes with the business brand, which will aid in brand recognition. Using a consistent color palette across all brand assets can help create a consistent look and feel for your brand and help customers identify you.
A color palette is a collection of colors that appear throughout your branding. It is critical to make your colors well known and consistent in order to maintain your brand’s recognition. A brand’s color palette is frequently divided into three categories: primary colors, secondary or accent colors, and neutrals.
A brand style guide is essential for any company in order to maintain consistent visuals and tone across all platforms of communication with their audience. This explains why it is so important to put time and effort into creating a guide that makes it simple for everyone to work with your brand and its assets.
It’s preferable to leave the design of brand style guides to experts like Words On Us. We will collaborate with you to build a style guide that is appropriate for your business and aligns with your brand identity. You must choose your identity, your principles, and the image you want to project to the world.
Once you’ve established a strong brand identity, you can use it to propel your business strategy. Don’t know where to begin with your branding? Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can assist you in developing your brand.