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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Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal is an artist, a writer, an organizer, a dreamer, a doer, and down-right proud of it NERD!.

Struck with a love for #AllThings creative at a very young age, Crystal dreamed of a life fueled by her passion for creating and bringing the stories and images in her mind into reality.

As she worked toward her dreams, she earned a diploma as a Computer Applications Specialist then another in Graphic Design and from there began to develop her extensive background in multimedia and the arts. She began her worked in the magazine industry as a layout designer and had a succession of design jobs thereafter. It was her role as a graphic/web designer that gave her the first real glimpse of her future. Soon she began a side job as a freelance designer while keeping one foot in the corporate world. A spark was lit! She turned her freelance gig into a full-time business combining design work with her other passion: creating organization from virtual chaos.

Crystal is one of the most organized individuals on the planet. She is by all means a Zen master of her crafts. She excels at helping others become “untangled” and provides her clients with tools to run their businesses smoothly while she takes care of the details behind the scenes. Thus Virtually Untangled was born. A successful business where her work as a top notch creative in graphic and web — with a twist of virtual assistant — married into one amazing place where clients can come with their virtual messes and become magically untangled. Crystal can always make sense of even the most unorganized chaos and offers a virtual detox of order and peace, so her clients can get busy doing the work that they love the most.

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