What is a brand style guide and why is it crucial?
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 uniform look and feel for your brand, even when several designers work on it. It helps to manifest the brand by generating consistency and trust. Having all rules in one place simplifies the process of creating brand collateral. The more detailed your set of rules, the easier it is to keep your brand consistent.
What should a brand style guide include?
A style guide may vary in its scope. It should include information on your brand’s audience, mission, values, personality, and tone. In reality, style guides can be very loose and only define the visual components of a brand. Usually, a visual style guide includes the following:
Responsive Logo – What are the variations of your logo and when are they used (primary logo, secondary logos, colour variations)? What’s the smallest size your logo should be used in? How is the logo placed relative to other elements? 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 (headlines, paragraphs, quotes)?
Colour specifications – in 4 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 appear in the pictures? Do’s and Don’ts.
Other Visual Elements – Does your brand use elements such as patterns, icons or illustration? Which rules apply around these?
Consistency in the look and feel of a brand drives recognisability. Recognisability generates trust and loyalty to a brand. This is why even small businesses profit from a brand style guide. I always deliver a logo design with a basic set of rules to go along with it to ensure its consistent use.