Want to present your business to the world in a specific way? Creating a brand style guide is a great way for your employees to be able to codify the aims and ethos of your business. Every member of every department should be able to reasonably convey what it is that makes your business unique and a great way to do this is with a set of guidelines available in a brand style guide.
In this article, we’ll outline the purpose of producing an effective brand book and why it’s a good idea to include six key elements that will ultimately make up the content of your final proposal.
What’s the Purpose of a Brand Style Guide?
After having successfully laid down the foundations of a budding enterprise, the next logical step would be to think of expanding. Building a brand with new employees or franchising means there are going to be a lot of newcomers who aren’t quite as clued up as your veteran staff members. This is where a brand book comes in.
A brand book ensures that your business MO stays consistent – think of it as a reference tool. Need a freelance graphic designer to create some online work, or maybe your content creators are writing new pieces? They’ll consult your brand book to see the correct style and mode of how things are typically done at your company.
Brand Elements to Include in your Style Guide
1. Brand Story
- Your mission/vision statement
- Your values
- Your brand personality
- Who are your target audience
Use this section to convey exactly how much your business means to you. Your story should be a summary of what your business aims to achieve and you can do this this by including the list of features above. It’s important to remember that adding a personal touch in this section won’t go unnoticed.
This section should accurately describe the specifics of where, when and how to use your brand logo. A standardised logo format will prevent mistakes such as stretching, altering, condensing or re-aligning which could send the wrong message to your customers.
Include approved variations of your logo and outline when you should use each one:
- Size 🡪 Minimum and maximum size specifications.
- Colours 🡪 The correct colours or variations and when to use them.
- Space 🡪 Clarify how much space should separate your logo from the surrounding content.
- Don’ts 🡪 It can be just as important to show how NOT to use your logo.
3. Colour Palette
What we’ll discuss and keep reverting back to is consistency. The overall purpose of your brand book is to keep things consistent. Otherwise, your logo or the overall feeling of your brand could go on wild tangents from outside sources such as freelancers etc.
Most choose four brand colours and Google, one of the most recognisable brands of all time, follows this rule and has four defined logo colours that it uses continuously.
Here you should show the primary and secondary colour palettes and the colour breakdowns for print, screen and web.
The font you choose is another big aspect of your brand identity. With regards to your font selection, you should explain why you have chosen it and how it relates to your brand. As well as how you prefer the written content to be aligned and spaced. This could be centre, left or right and the spacing related to a more consistent style when the size changes.
Give graphic designers examples of image styles and photographs that work well with the brand. Do this by selecting images that your customers have had a positive reaction to in the past. If you look at Apple as a good example for popular brands, you’ll notice that the tech giant continuously selects images that are extremely high production whilst being sleek and minimalistic – a perfect representation of their products. Collect images that you feel convey a particular mood that relates to the aims of your brand.
Your brand message should show your personality, do this by selecting a set of key adjectives that accurately describe your brand. Define a set of words you like and words you don’t like. These can be persuasive or flowery adjectives. The same can be said if you have messaging that works well, use it here. Take a look at how Skype describes their unique brand voice below:
“Our tone of voice is unique as a company built around our users, the Skype voice is always plain-speaking and human. Our products are always explained in the simplest terms. If your mum couldn’t understand what is being written, then it’s not the Skype voice.”
– Skype’s brand book
A brand style guide should be simple but effective. Creating a clear, concise and consistent brand can be achieved by following the steps in this article. Ultimately, you should be stating the direction and goals of your business as well as the specific elements that make up your brand guidelines that should be adhered to.
Get creating! And once you’ve finished, you’ll be glad that that you did.