Style Guides and why your brand needs one
Using a Style Guide is the easiest way to ensure the consistency and quality of your brand.
With the wide range of sophisticated, design apps and software available, it’s easier than ever for anyone to create visual branding for your organisation. To ensure your brand’s logo, corporate ID, and writing tone stays consistent across all your marketing collateral, nothing beats the power of a Style Guide.
What is a Style Guide?
A Style Guide is really the brand bible for your organisation, covering all the details of your brand basics such as logo design, typeface, colour palette and design guidelines – at the very least. With a copy of your brand’s style guide in hand, a designer, printer or web developer should be left in no doubt about your logo’s size and positioning on a poster, your company typeface or the exact Pantone reference colours your brand requires.
Creating your brand bible
While we might refer to a Style Guide as a brand bible, that doesn’t mean it needs to be hundreds of pages long. Your version of the brand bible only needs to cover the elements of branding that you use. It can be as simple as setting out the guidelines for a letterhead and email template, or it can extend to cover your brand’s goals and philosophy as well as the nuts and bolts of using the correct fonts.
Whatever size of Style Guide, use examples to make it easy. A Style Guide is as important for telling your suppliers, employees and business partners what NOT to do as well as giving them everything they need to replicate your branding properly.
Establishing a style and tone
Establishing the style and tone of your brand’s ‘voice’ is a key component of brand identity. If an organisation such as a law firm decides to use a formal third-person voice for their corporate website, a style guide can help explain if and how that same style and tone can transition across other marketing tools such as recruitment advertising and social media.
Guidelines for what your brand imagery should look like is one of the most common areas organisations ignore, yet pictures are a major part of any organisation’s brand strategy. A Style Guide should define how and when certain images are used. For example:
- Are you going to use original photography from your image library exclusively?
- Is stock photography acceptable?
- Do all photos need to be full colour?
- What is the ratio of photo to text?
Evolving with your brand
Just like your business, a Style Guide will need to adapt to changing times. Even some of the best known global brands have occasionally tweaked or updated their logo and design guidelines to reflect change. We’re not talking weekly updates, but an annual review of your brand’s Style Guide is a task that should be added to your design team’s responsibilities.
Still not sure where to start? The award-winning team at iFactory has been delivering branding solutions for over a decade and has produced Style Guides for a diverse range of clients. Call us today to discuss how a Style Guide can strengthen your brand.