3 Reasons Your Brand Needs a Style Guide and How to Create One
You’ve just finished writing your latest, most awesome-ist, SEO optimized, long format blog post and are ready to upload it to your blog, style it and create all the social graphics for the post.
How do you accomplish all those so important details in such a way that reinforces your brand, helping to build trust and familiarity?
You break out your brand style guide (or make sure your awesome VA has access to it) and cruise through blog post voice, styling and image creation that’s on point and on brand.
Setting yourself up for success and making it through all those tasks with ease and style.
Simply put a brand style guide is a reference guide for all things brand related. It contains instructions for how to accurately portray the brand.
Without one, you’re likely doing your brand a disservice by being inconsistent with the way you present your brand to your target audience.
Here are 3 reasons why your brand needs a style guide:
Brand style guides make styling easy. Laying out your next Pinterest pin or digital worksheet becomes a breeze. All you have to do is refer to the style guide and you’ve got a complete reference to brand logos, colors, fonts, graphics styles, and any other relevant brand element. It allows anyone involved in your brand to easily follow your standards.
A brand style guide elevates your brand experience and builds recognition. It ensures consistency across all the various places your brand interacts with potential clients. When you are visually consistent with your branding, you build brand familiarity. Your target audience will begin to recognize your work just by seeing the graphics.
It saves you time. You don’t have to search multiple locations to find your fonts, color codes or photo overlay percentages. All your brand specs will be in one convenient location.
Now that you get why they’re so important, how do you go about creating one?
Did you or your designer create an inspiration board when creating your logo or website?
If not, no worries, here’s a link to a previous post I wrote about to how to create an inspiration board for your brand.
And if you also need help with defining your brand, I’ve got help for you there too! Check out this post on brand development and click here to download your free copy of my brand development workbook.
So now that you’ve got all that sorted, let’s create your brand style guide.
Gather up the following items as these should all go in your brand style guide.
Logo file or logo font
Inspiration images (a few images from your inspiration board that stand out to you the most)
Brand fonts (2-3 fonts used for headlines, body copy, testimonials, social graphics, workbooks, business cards and stationery)
Brand colors (3-7 colors used for fonts, backgrounds, photo overlays, social graphics, photo collage items. You can pick these from your favorite inspiration images)
Images/graphics you may already be using in your branding (note whether you use tend to use solid color backgrounds, photo backgrounds, transparent overlay boxes, etc…)
Brand voice/tone: Scan your current content: either on your website or any marketing materials you’re using and compare that to the adjectives you used in your brand development workbook. Or if you didn't fill out the brand development workbook, what adjectives come to mind about the tone of your current materials? Can you identify your voice/tone from you current content? Is your brand witty & wise, professional & authoritative or friendly & conversational or something else entirely?
Now that you’ve gathered the various items, you can put them together in your preferred program–be it Word, Google Docs, Canva or even a slide format. Then be sure to keep it somewhere easily accessible so that the next time you need to create something that’s on brand, you can easily refer to your very own style guide.
Congrats, you’ve now got a great start on maintaining brand consistency and building familiarity with your audience all the while making it easier on yourself to be consistent and speed up production time. Great work!
SO What do you think?
Do you already have a style guide? Anything else you find important to include? Let me know in the comments below.
Are you ready to work with a pro? If you’re interested in learning more about working with me, check out my services page.