Creating a brand style guide will allow your company to transmit a consistent message throughout the organisation and across all channels of communication. On the other hand, this guide will also tell customers and associates the best way to talk about or represent your brand.
In many ways, this brand style guide translates the mission, values and vision of your business into an actual design and defines what your brand should look like in visual forms of media.
But how can you create this kind of blueprint?
In this article, we walk through some of the basic steps involved with creating a brand style guide:
The Importance of a Brand Style Guide
Now, in order to create a brand style guide, we must also fully understand the importance of this document. You see, this guide is almost the personality of the brand. For this reason, it’s important to demonstrate a consistent look and feel across every aspect of the business such as marketing, sales and customer service.
With this in mind, the document needs to take many components into account including the company mission, values, vision, personality and target audience. While most of these should be self-explanatory, the brand personality is something which sets the tone for copywriting and design. More specifically, it tells people if the brand is trendy, quirky, serious or adventurous.
Either way, these components must be clear before moving on to the following steps:
5 Basic Steps to Create Brand Style Guide
1. Research and Write Down All Points of Inspiration
As with every other business, you must know the competition and have a reasonable idea about what works or does not work in the market. Looking to other brands is often the best way to approach this first step as you can clearly see what the target market likes or what you find inspiring about certain brands in the market.
2. Write Down the Basic Key Elements of the Brand
As with the mission statement and core values of the business, you should already know the story and voice behind the brand, along with how the company website will look. Defining these elements is essential to writing copy or designing certain visuals such as the company website. What’s more, you should know the company colours and have a suitable logo created, Lang with certain imagery that portrays what the brand is all about.
3. Take a Deep-Dive into Smaller Visuals and Key Elements
You will then need to take a deep-dive into the brand and define what the little details will look like. For example, what will the website design look like? What about product packaging? Will you have branded letterheads, brochures or invoices? What social media platforms will be used and what imagery will they display? These are just a few examples of what needs to be defined within a brand style guide, but every last detail should be considered and included in the document.
4. Create an Outline of the Brand Style Guide
You can now create an outline of the brand style guide and use the following elements as the foundation for this document:
Logo – What will the logo look like?
Colours – What colours will the brand use?
Story – What is the brand story and what is the underlying mission, values and vision.
Website – What will the homepage look like?
Voice – How will the company sound and what language will you use?
Imagery – What images will initially define the brand?
You can then create a digital version (pdf) of this guide and make it available for download online.
5. Remember to Revisit and Change this Guide Accordingly
If you look any of the most notable brand, you should see that most of them have adapted the company logo, colours and message over time. For this reason, the brand style guide is flexible and a document that should change in accordance with what you learn and tweak over time. You should revisit this document and take time to perfect the overall outline but at the very least, you should keep this guide in mind when making any major decisions within the company, whether they are marketing-related or not.
Depending on your brand, you may have a 4-page or 20-page document so long as it is clear and concise about how the brand should be communicated to your customers and also internal staff. Remember, the underlying purpose of this document is to remain consistent. Without the document, your brand is like a ship with no rudder.
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