Why You Need A Brand Style Guide

So, you just spent a ton of time, money and effort getting a logo created for your company. Feels like a big relief, right? You can sit back with your margarita and let all the world’s worries pass you by, right? No! Get up, finish that margarita (let’s not waste now), and get back to work! There is so much more that needs to be done to protect your brand!

This, my friend, is where the brand style guide comes in. I’m about to get technical here, so bear with me.

brand style guide sets the tone of your business and defines proper usage of your brand. This is just as important for small organizations as it is for any larger ones. It is a resource that defines your brand and makes sure that no matter what media platform you are using, people know who you are. This ensures that no matter who has access to your brand, be it your mom, your printer, your agency, your dog (no judgment), they will know exactly how to present the brand you worked so hard on.

This is great and all, but what’s in a brand style guide?

Don’t worry, I got you. Most brand guidelines will have the following:

  • Logo
  • Color Palette
  • Fonts
  • Iconography
  • Photography
  • Brand Voice and Tone

If you want to get fancy, (like, bowtie on a dog fancy) and I know you do, you can throw these into the mix:

  • Core values
  • Mission
  • Guidelines for print and marketing collateral

Dropping some more knowledge

THE LOGO

Your logo is like your first name. It’s who you are. And if someone mispronounces your name, it can get weird (I’m looking at you, Geoff).

Same goes for your logo. A proper style guide will outline logo usage and placement to enforce that no stretching, skewing, or distortion occurs. This will also address how to keep your logo’s presence or dominance when paired with other content. It proves an important resource for any designers working on collateral, web developers who might be placing your logo online and for printers working with your brand. It will also address when and how to use primary, secondary, and tertiary logos, should your brand be a little more in-depth.

COLOR PALETTE

Red is red is red, right? How dare you. You need to lock that color down. If you want to get something printed, or have a website, or embroider that big beautiful logo on your dog sweater, you’re going to need the correct Pantone, CMYK, RGB values and hex codes for your brand colors. Otherwise, things could get real awkward, like the time you accidentally added that red sock to your load of white undies.

TYPOGRAPHY

I know that Microsoft Word loves Times New Roman, but is that the font you so carefully picked out? Let’s hope not. A strong typography section in a style guide eliminates the guesswork. This allows designers and web developers to work more quickly, eliminating headache and keeping your brand and messaging consistent.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

No one see Coca-Cola or Target running around throwing burnt orange (hopefully) onto their branding. It’s because they know the important of brand consistency.

The primary goal of a style guide to keep your brand consistent. It’s important for big brands, but it is even more important for small businesses as they grow. If your branding and messaging are all over the place, your audience will have a difficult time following your story. Putting the time and effort into your brand now, will save you from having to play catch up later.