What is a brand style guide and why it’s necessary?
A brand style guide contains a set of rules that direct how your business is presented to the outside world. These rules help to create a consistent look and feel for your brand, even when multiple designers are working on it. It helps to manifest the brand with your customers and generate trust. A style guide also simplifies the process of creating brand collateral. It contains not only guidelines but also do’s and don’ts for the implementation of your visual identity.
What should a brand style guide include?
A style guide may vary in scope. Ideally, it will include information about your target audience, mission, values, personality, and tone of the brand. In reality, style guides are often less extensive and often define only the visual components of the brand. Depending on the focus of your visual identity, the content may differ here as well. Usually, the following factors are included:
Responsive Logo – What are the variations of your logo and when are they used (primary logo, secondary logos, colour variations)? What minimum size should your logo be used in? How is the logo placed relative to other elements (e.g. distances)? Do’s and don’ts of the logo application.
Typography – What fonts and weights are used in your logo? Which fonts and weights are used for other text elements (headings, paragraphs, quotations, etc.)?
Colour specifications – Those should be defined in 4 different profiles:
- CMYK (print)
- HEX (web)
- RGB values (web & digital)
- Pantone (print, paints, etc.)
Photography – Does your brand photography have a certain look and feel? Do images have a specific colour tone (photo filter, black and white, duplex, etc.)? Which topics repeatedly appear in the pictures? Do’s and Don’ts.
Other Visual Elements – Does your brand use other visual elements, such as patterns, icons or illustration? How are they used?
I am convinced that a style guide is essential for any business. Therefore, I create guidelines for its use and context even for a logo design project. In some cases, it may be useful to develop a style guide around an existing logo. However, the question should be raised whether the present logo actually contributes to the desired experience of the entire brand.