One of the biggest questions small business owners and entrepreneurs have about their brand is whether or not it’s cohesive across all platforms.
When your brand is cohesive and consistent across platforms and marketing materials, it becomes more recognizable in the minds of consumers and looks more professional
A great way to ensure that everything you put out - from your website to social media images to blog posts to marketing materials to your annual report - is consistent is to use a style guide.
It’s one of THE most important documents you can have for your business, because it ensures that no matter who creates materials or designs for you, he or she can stay true to your business branding.
If you don’t know what a brand style guide is, here’s what you need to know.
A brand style guide contains the necessary information to create anything your company might need. It takes your vision, mission, values, style, and heart and demonstrates how to translate it into every design for your company
So, what is the necessary information a style guide must contain? Here’s what your brand style guide should include --
Brand Story - Your style guide might be given to in-house designers or freelance designers. Regardless, it’s important that you introduce or re-introduce who you are as a company and what your vision, mission, values, and target audience is so the designer has a foundation to start from.
Exactly how to use your logo - from the size to the proper placement to acceptable color variations, you can dictate how your logo should be used. It’s also a great idea to demonstrate how not to use the logo to ensure that no errors occur. If you have different logo variations, give direction as to where to use each variation of your logo. For example, you might use one logo on internal documents and another on marketing materials.
Your Color Palette and Color Codes - Your brand style guide should show your color palette as well as the hex color codes, CMYK values, and Pantone colors for every color in your brand.
Your brand fronts - Your brand style guide should include what fonts you use in your brand and give any instructions on how you prefer them to be used. If you have a particular font for headlines and another for body copy, state that in your style guide.
Patterns, icons, or texture - Your brand style guide should include the patterns, icons, or textures you use in your brand and how to use them. If you use certain textures or backgrounds for social media images, make sure to state that.
Stock Image Style and Photography Style - Make sure that you detail the type of images and photography style your brand uses. If your photos needs to be vibrant and colorful, state that. If you prefer clean lines, minimalist images, and diverse people groups, state that. You can also include some examples of stock images and photos that your brand uses for reference.
Brand Voice, Tagline, and Important Words - Detail the voice of your brand ( is it chatty and fun or sleek and professional), important words that you use frequently, and your tagline. You can also include words that you don’t like used or associated with your brand as well.
Web and Social Media Elements - Detail the type and style of graphics you share on your social media platforms or website. If certain website pages need to be laid out or flow in a particular way, make sure to provide that information.
As you can see, a brand style guide is incredibly important. BUT - many small businesses and entrepreneurs don’t have brand style guides, because they are time consuming to compile.
This makes life a little more difficult when it comes to giving a designer direction or hiring a freelance designer. It also makes it more difficult to ensure consistency in your brand.
Hiring a designer to design your brand style guide can save you lots of time and help you finally compile this crucial document so your business can communicate consistently across all mediums.
If you’d love a brand style guide for your business, reach out to me via the contact page so we can discuss your needs further. I’d love to help you create one!