Style Guides … and How to Create One!
I imagine that some of you out there may be wondering after reading my blog title … what is a style guide? Well, let me tell you … A style guide (or manual of “style”) is a set of standards for your business’ brand. A style guide establishes and enforces your brand’s image to keep consistency and improve communication. The purpose of this guide is to make sure that multiple contributors create in a clear and cohesive way that reflects the style of your business and ensures brand consistency with everything from design to writing. Essentially, the document references grammar, tone, word usage and point of view as well as describes, defines and presents examples of what your brand looks like in various visual media.
If you think about it … it’s really the DNA of your brand!
I bet your now wondering what goes in this guide …
Well for those of you who are just starting out in the wonderful land of entrepreneurialism, you only require a few key marketing tools at this point. Follow the list below and you’ll be set …
- An overview of the proper usage of your businesses name.
- A breakdown of the visual brand/logo (aka. approved versions) – including details about the minimum size and “protected space” (aka size guidelines).
- An overview of your brand message or position statement – including a few examples of “tone of voice”.
- A breakdown of your brands colour palette and typography – showing colour breakdowns for print, screen and web as well as the specific fonts you use and details of the font family with default web font usage choices.
- An overview of your email signature (computer based) and text-only signature (mobile/tablet device based) as well as details for proper usage.
- Business card design – as an example of how the logo and fonts are used for standard company literature (if you choose to have a letterhead, this can also be included in this area.
If you’re as anal about organization like me and want to make sure all your bases are covered, you may choose to go with a more detailed style guide which could include things like:
- Design layouts
- Social media profile page applications
- Print media layout options (e.g. brochures, flyers, etc.)
- Website layout
- Advertising treatments
- Copywriting style (aka “tone of voice”) and guidelines
Honestly, it’s just this simple. You brand guidelines should be created in order to be flexible enough for designers to be boosted with creativity yet rigid enough to keep your brand recognizable. Consistency is the key here people! Especially if you plan on extending your brand across multiple media/social platforms.
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