How to create a brand style guide
I’m going to talk about clothes again. Just because I love it and fits with where I am taking this post. My closet reflects my style and taste. It’s how I dress myself. I have my work clothes, casual clothes, church clothes, formal clothes etc. Regardless of the occassion or event, what I wear reflects my style or taste and is – me. This includes the little details. Like rings, I personally love statement rings. That’s totally me. I also like nailpolish, and love shoes. All these elements together form a big picture that reflects my style.
A brand guide works almost exactly this way. What you put out for your brand, should reflect your brand style, right down to the typography and colours.
If I had a nickle for everytime a client emailed me asking for their brand colour hex’s and fonts, because they were getting stickers printed, or t-shirts made, I’d be “rich” (hardly). The point is, people get their logo designed and then forget about everything. But this is your brand and you need to have this stuff in order…and on hand at any given time.
Here’s what you should have set up for yourself for quick reference. A brand guide should these 5 parts that form your look.
The should show your main logo and variations of it. You might have a version of the logo with icon/monogram only or text only. Perhaps a flush left version and a centered one? Having these variations are best for those times when you need to send your logo to a thrid part, but they have space, sizing or printing restrictions.
This section should have your colour codes in Pantone, CMYK, RGB & Hex. Why do you need all these versions? Pantone is for those times you go to press and need the exact shades of your brand. CMYK is digital printing – fast and easy. RGB & Hex are for online and web representations. You colour palettes might be just the logo colours, or additional colours that compliment your logo tones.
A list of all the fonts come handy for those times when you want to set up a social media post or a write a letter? It is always nice to have a set font for paragraph text. This avoids people in the office sending out correspondence on company letterhead, each using various fonts.
Any patterns, gradients or backgrounds realted to your branding are also nice to have. You need to post a special on your Facebook page. Set a pattern as the background and type out your text in your official font.
Taglines also play an integral part of the brand package. Especially if it is part of the logo. My reccommendation is to have a tagline complimenting the logo especially when it’s not apparent from your logo of what products or services you are offering
Below is an example of a guide I recently completed for a client
Besides this serving as a quick guide for yourself on an as needed basis. This also helps a lot when you need things designed and printed. This is what you send in with your request to ensure the end result reflects your brand fully and properly. It’s a win win for both sides, you and the person you are sending it to. It does not have to be complicated. Stick with the basics and follow the brand guide. Be consistent with this. Heck, be a stickler about it and watch your brand grow.
Do you have a brand guide set up? Has it made your life easier?