Updated: Aug 5, 2019
The brand style guide is the center of your brands universe. A style guide helps establish a recognizable theme that allows your brand to establish it's own identity in the market place. The brand style guide is not something that is just thrown together. It is a strategic document developed to hold your brand to a set of rules and regulations to ensure that your brand is presented in a consistent manner.
What is a Brand Style Guide?
A brand style guide is a document that establishes distinct rules and standards that dictate your brand. It sets the rules on how to use your logo design, the look of the website, the stationery systems your office use, and also how your brand is portrayed on social media. This allows employees and contractors flexibility to be creative while adhering to your brand's established standards.
The contents of a basic brand guide will include:
Brand Background: An overview of your brand’s history
Brand Personality: Your brand’s mission, vision, and key values
Logo Guide: Specifications for size, colorization, and placement
Color Palette: Primary and secondary colors to use and their combinations
Fonts and Typography: What typestyle(s) to use and when to use them
Stationery Template: Design for business cards, letterheads, and press releases
Web Guidelines: A generic template of your website layout and navigation
However, as your brand grows and develops it is best to continue to develop your brand style guide.
An enhance brand guide can include:
Photography style and image use specifications
Copywriting style and voice
Social media guidelines
Print- and web-based design layouts and grids
Signage and outdoor advertising specifications
When Do You Need a Brand Style Guide?
That is a simple question. You need one as soon as you have a logo developed. You are going to use that logo on many different things. It will appear on promotional materials, your website, vehicles, stationery, and any other number of materials. You need to have rules in place to limit the size of a logo on these pieces and to ensure that viewers will be able to see and recognize the logo. The earlier you have a brand guide established the easier it is to ensure that your brand identity is consistent. That being said, it’s never too late or “not the right time” to establish a brand style guide.
How Do You Use Your Brand Style Guide?
This tool should be given to everyone in your company. The brand style guide allows your new hires and employees to familiarize themselves with the brand's vision and standards. You will also need to pass the brand style guide to outside agencies that will handle any creative work for your company. This will allow these agencies to know how to use the elements of your brand. A brand style guide is the roadmap for ensuring that people with limited knowledge of your brand are able to work within your brand’s set guidelines and identity to create work that’s consistent with the style of your brand.