Brand style guide to help with business growth!
What is a Brand Style Guide and Does Your Company Need One? When you send your brief to an agency, their first question is usually: “Do you have a brand style guide?” (along with the questions about the timeline). There has been much talk about the importance of brand consistency and recognition. A brand … Continuedget in touch
Brand style guide to help with business growth!
What is a Brand Style Guide and Does Your Company Need One?
When you send your brief to an agency, their first question is usually: “Do you have a brand style guide?” (along with the questions about the timeline). There has been much talk about the importance of brand consistency and recognition. A brand style guide is something that will help you maintain this consistency. A style guide is a useful tool for designers. It serves as a guide for creating different brand assets required for a multitude of campaigns, across a variety of platforms.
What is in a brand style guide?
Some businesses have brand style guides that can be up to 30-40 pages long, whereas some other companies only have a few pages.
What are the key elements that should be included in a brand style guide and which ones to prioritise?
Starting from the most critical elements, I have listed different sections that the brand style guide should include.
The Basic Visual Brand Style Guide.
The smaller version of brand guidelines usually sticks to the visual aspects of your brands’ identity – the basics typically include the following elements in various ways:
- Logo Guidelines – includes different versions of your logo. Guide for size, colourisation and placement. It might consist of horizontal and vertical versions of the logo placement, how to place the logo on dark backgrounds, etc
- Additional Logo section elements
- co-branding and how to apply the logo in a logo lock-up
- How to not use the logo
- How to use the logo on a background
- Simplified versions of the logo if they are required.
- Typography/ Font Guide – specifies what fonts to use, and when they are appropriate. Which fonts are for headings and which fonts are for body texts?
- Additionally, this may include alternative “fall back” fonts.
- Colour Scheme – Includes primary, secondary and neutral colours and combinations.
- Include primary and secondary gradients
- Applications – Company Design Template – Displays a variety of examples for how to use all the above elements together on different assets, while keeping a consistent approach. May include examples of letterheads, business cards, press releases, email signatures, etc.
The basic Style guide may also include information about using imagery and what version of the logo and colours to match with what type of imagery.
More Advanced Brand Style Guide – Brand Visual and Marketing Visual.
What are the legal purpose, philosophy, and goals of the company?
As the company grows, this information needs to be understood and accessible by all employees. If you run a franchise or multi-unit brand, these guidelines are critical, so you operate with one voice, as one brand.
- Image Treatment – For many brands, a specific way to treat the images is a big part of the visual identity. This sections will clarify what type of filters to use for social media assets. Or what kind of gradients or overlays to use for all the photography used in the artwork.
- Digital and Social Assets – Digital and social media presence is a massive part of any business strategy in modern days. This section will have examples of different types of headers and social post tiles that are acceptable for the brand. Adding to the image treatment guide, it will also explain how to place text over an image, what types of icons to use, how to use the brand mark in the design, etc.
- Icons – It is not unusual for more prominent brands to have their own set of icons designed and also included in the brand style-guides
- Advertising and Communications Guide – Provides templates and guidelines for creating advertising collateral.
Comprehensive Brand Style Guide – Visual, Marketing and Messaging.
The next step is to move away from just the visual aspect of your brand. Now it’s time to include the tone of voice and your messaging. This aspect is helpful not only for working with designers but also for working with copywriters or Social media agencies.
- Objectives – It is good to have a clear overview of your brands objectives and purpose, so all the partners you are working with will have a clear understanding of the overall goal and can keep this in mind when creating all the smaller parts of the more comprehensive strategy.
- Brand messaging – Includes a list of your company’s key messages.
- The tone of voice – Examples of the tone of voice, how paragraphs are written, how statistics are announced. Does it sound formal, friendly, informative, funny? Additionally, this can carry over to information about audio as well. Should voice recordings be a male or female voice? Should they have an accent? Sound in a specific way?
- Taglines – List of your company’s taglines and a breakdown of their true meanings.
- Call to actions – This section will help you standardise how you phrase your CTA’s, so it is consistent across all campaigns.
The brand guidelines can keep expanding as your company grows. When you find that you require video creation, you should also improve your brand style guide and add in a section about video creation for your brand.
Keeping your style guide up to date will ensure that your brand will remain consistent and recognisable across all the platforms, and people will soon recognise it immediately, just like they recognise McDonald’s or Nike.
Does your company have a brand style guide?
MMR is a small full-service agency in South Melbourne. In our time, we have created a multitude of significant brand identities along with comprehensive style guides. Feel free to reach out regardless of where you are at; we can grow the identity from scratch or expand on what you already have.
In early 2020 we launched a new product called Livebook, which is an excellent product for publishing large-scale online documents.
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