In this world where businesses are constantly on the lookout for competition, questions and doubts arise. And when everything is constantly changing, now could be the right time to work on consistency for the message of your brand. How do you create your own brand style guide? How do you make your brand stand out in this sea of endless competitions? Don’t worry! We’ve got your back as we discuss those concerns to you.
Before we move on, let us first discuss what style guides are and why they are important to your brand.
Style guides are standard style requirements that ensure brand consistency. These “brand bibles” as some call it, contain the epitome of the product, design and consistency you wish to achieve. And if a style guide is that important, the real question is, “Why don’t you have it yet?”
Well, you see, style guides don’t just fall from the sky. They require time and a conscious effort. Time, for one is gold, but if your desire is perfection, then you need to spend some of that gold to establish your desire for your company. Save yourself from all the hassle of having to explain yourself over and over, set up your very own brand bible NOW.
Don’t know how? Then let me walk you through the steps.
- IMPOSE YOUR LOGO
Your logo is the face of your brand. It is paramount to the reflection of your company. You surely wouldn’t want to be inconsistent with this aspect, as this might put you in a bad light.
A fitting logo can be embedded it into your consumer’s minds, and what can help you even more is the usage of a variety of colors. Just remember to choose the right colors to match your brand.
Nonetheless, your guide should not only contain what you want to see in your logo, it also has to tell your designers their limits. Designers are supposed to be innovative, which deems it essential to show them what they’re not allowed to do. Instructions should always be highlighted and outlined so that if issues arise, your guide will tell them how your logo is supposed to look like and vice versa.
On the other hand, if you are using various logos for your company, you can summarize everything into one page and include all your instructions. Whereas, you can also dedicate a single page of instructions for each logo.
- PICK A COLOR THAT SUITS YOUR BRAND AND STICK TO IT
Colors are crucial for your branding, they are known to sway thinking, change actions and cause reactions. Colors used in the right way can persuade or attract consumers to your brand. However, with each designer and for different platforms, color hues can easily change and be mistaken for the other, so an exact hex code is important for web use. You should also put CYMK values and Pantone colors into consideration for printable items.
The severity of alterations for RGB and CMYK can be extreme so I would advice to check conversions manually just to keep track of accuracy. Keep in mind that correct color coding is paramount to ensure consistency.
- REVEAL THE UNIQUENESS OF YOUR IDENTITY BY CHOOSING THE RIGHT FONT
Fonts are powerful when it comes to advertising, they serve as an effective tool to grab a reader’s attention, they give out a clear understanding of the message your brand wishes to convey.
Professionalism will also be revealed through your consistency in typography. Although you may be encountering different typefaces, your style guide will call the shots on what font to use, where to use it, and how to use it. For instance, a headline typeface can be used together with several other font styles.
It is also important to put in mind, that your style guide will greatly benefit if you show how the following elements can work together:
– kerning (the spacing between letters and words)
– leading (the distance between the lines of text on a page)
- CHARACTERIZE YOUR BRAND WITH YOUR ICONOGRAPHY
One of the main things that will set your brand apart from others is iconography. In fact, iconography serves an exceptionally essential role in brand building, it helps convey a lot of useful information.
A specific set of icons can be included in your style guide to ensure proper use. Make sure to keep the perfect balance in icon usage. Take note that pattern and color can be altered for different purposes. From a colorful tone, for symbolizing fun and energy, to black and white, for a more professional look.
- PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE MATTERS
If your logo is the face of your brand, consider photography as its personality. Capturing the right images will give your brand its well-deserved recognition. Include your reference for images in your style guide as this can greatly help in achieving what you wish to see in your outputs.
In all circumstances, it is always best to display and outline whatever you want your photographers to remember when taking pictures. This is a crucial aspect if you want to ensure a smooth transition of results from photographer to you.
Also, don’t forget to mention how you want these key factors to play out in your branding.
– style reference
Remember that photographers are visually inclined people, which means that, along with specifications, maybe you should give them an image that they can use as a reference point.
- REMEMBER WEB-SPECIFIC ELEMENTS
Due to modern times, it seems as though we have to put everything online if we want to gain traction. Because of this, it’s important for our website to look a whole lot like the products we market.
The process can be automatic as most of the things we use for print can be translated into the web perfectly. However, if it might have skipped your mind, there are some rules that strictly apply online. And these rules are important for you to find out.
Oftentimes, a website can have numerous pages, all of which needs to look related to one another. So, choose the information you want to display, based on importance and hierarchy. Navigation bars and buttons should also match your brand style for consistency all throughout. In addition to all that, a fun 404 page can be of use to make light of inconvenient situations.
- BRAND VOICE
Of course, if you have a face and a personality, you need to have a voice that will speak even without uttering a word. You might have rolled your eyes over that statement, but it’s not impossible! Writers will do the trick for you. Nevertheless, this is where your style guide comes in. It will dictate what you want your consumers to hear, without sounding off-brand.
Incorporate a few phrases and words that will appear consistently so you can appeal to a certain market. Make your target clients clear so you’d know how you would want to sound.
- TO SUM IT ALL UP
If you’re not yet convinced and still wondering what’s in a style guide for you. You can consider trying them out for yourself, just so you can get a bird’s eye view of the benefits you can get from making your own style guide.
Now that that’s been said and you already have basic knowledge of what a style guide is and how you can implement it for your brand, there might still be doubts on your mind on whether everything stated is necessary. Well, perhaps not. Your style guide requires information according to its needs. Some brand style guides go for up to 100 sheets, while others can do with a single page. What you need to do is identify the information you need to retain consistency in your branding, and you can start from that.
Furthermore, remember that brands may change all for the better. Your style guide now may differ from the ones you will be using in the future. Keep the old versions for reference, though.
Lastly, you need to choose whether you want your guide to be publicized or within the privacy of your company. There will be advantages and disadvantages for both. For one, if you publicize your style guide, sharing it with people you work with can be a breeze as you can easily share a link. The drawback, however, anyone can get their hands on your style guide, and worse comes to worst, they may steal and rip you of your branding.
A private style guide can be easier to update and more secure. It doesn’t have to look so professional as it stays within the company. On the other hand, it will be a bit harder to share with outside sources.
It’s all up to you, really. You get to decide and weigh in on all the pros and cons. The only thing that should be constant both ways is that your style guide needs to be concise. Whether you show it to the world or keep it to a small group of people, the real aim is to make the brand designing process more smooth and simple.