Your Brand Style Guide can Save you From the Stress of Losing Valuable Business.
What is a brand style guide and why does my brand need it?
In its simplest terms, a brand style guide is a set of rules that govern the appearance and voice of your brand. Every business has a brand image which incorporates identity, voice, and the graphics that create a consistent image across all media. If you are wondering if your website or business needs a formal style guide, consider the following:
As a business owner, you are responsible for the organization and execution of all the moving parts of your brand. Being able to delegate any role including content creation, means having all key documents accessible to all content creators. A cohesive framework, with well thought out elements, not only makes your brand easier to work with, but also quicker to find and identify.
- Uniformity across the board: You may enjoy wearing a different colored wig every day, but your audience does not want to have to sift through numerous identities when trying to find your products. A single set of rules, stored in one easily accessible and shareable place on your laptop makes it easy to design your branded website, landing pages, single offers, newsletters, articles and free resources among other things.
- Copy and content are easier to produce: a major part of writing content for your business involves the design and layout of your web pages, ebooks, online ads or posts. By including clear, specific sections on your brand’s voice, message and personality, you empower your marketing team to produce and dispatch powerful, undiluted marketing communication.
- An updated brand style guide allows you to have several projects outsourced without the nightmarish effects of your images being distorted, replaced or weakened. By keeping your visuals updated for all platforms and networks, outsourcing when you do not yet have a team, or when your team needs help, is more efficient and pain-free. As a freelancer, the worst feeling is having paid upfront for a design you thought you were getting, only to end up with something grotesque, unusable, and non-refundable. with a clear visual guide to follow, creators and designers can produce pieces that seamlessly come together for a cohesive brand identity.
The anatomy of a simple branding guide.
When creating a brand style guide, the one rule to always follow is always be consistently clear about what you offer and who you offer it to. You want your brand to be memorable and readily recognizable, so visuals should be specific and resonant. Your brand style guide can be as simple as 1 or 2 pages or as complicated as your business model. Either way, it is imperative to include the following in your brand style guide for a cohesive framework to be used for future designs and communication.
Brand Identity: Your brand identity is the collection of elements that make up the company’s message. The logo, typeface, imagery, colors, and lines were chosen to connect your audience on different platforms, to a singular message: “we are the best choice for you.”
Brand Image: speaks to the manner in which the brand is perceived by customers over time. Specific themes and images repeated in your marketing campaign help to mold the user experience and perception of the brand. For example, while many cannot tell the difference between a Pepsi and a Coca-Cola product by taste alone, millions around the world can differentiate between the two by colors, shapes, and typography. That’s the power of creating an effective brand image.
Brand Voice: Brand voice is the expressive element of your brand that translates to words and sentiments that resonate with your audience. Just like individuals, businesses have a tone in which they effectively communicate and using it to garner more interest in your business is a fundamental function of branding. Learning to represent this brand component eloquently will demonstrate the personality of your business while providing engaging and relevant information to your followers.
Brand Imagery: This is a tad different from the brand image in that this includes the actual images that come to be associated with your brand. All the aesthetic elements of images, graphics, the feeling of a meadow or an industrial complex. Everything we look at and interpret with our eyes invokes certain feelings in us and so the images used by your particular brand should be influential and inspiring to your audience.
The Barber Shop Template has always been a great point of reference for me when it comes to imagery. Every photo, the font chosen and even the color are all very masculine and powerful, a perfect use of all the elements to create a feeling of manhood.
Typography: Typography centers the way the fonts look against the surface. While some fonts portray a fun, almost childlike wonder, others are more suited for more formal and sophisticated tones. Choosing a body font is the first step, as most of your writing will be in the body of the article or marketing material. Most people simply play the fonts to see what they like, while others, ehm, designers, tend to fuss over size, curve, and visual hierarchy. If you want to get more serious about your font choices, check out this Canva article written by a designer on font choices.
Color palette: Color choices for branding must take into consideration the psychological effects of the colors on their target audience’s emotions and decision making. For a more in-depth look into color, symbolism take a look at these art therapy color meanings charts, to help you determine how to incorporate marketing toward certain emotions.
Once you combine all the elements you find necessary to brief your writing and design staff, create a simple page or booklet to record and have a point of reference in the future. Starting a website and marketing your product or service requires a lot of organization and delegation, so having a quick visual to turn to in design dilemmas or content crunches make creating a brand more enjoyable.
Below is an example of a simple brand guide single page overview which can be used as a quick reference for day to day graphic design and content creation.
To view, the rest of the brand guide click HERE and check out our brand identity services page.
Need help putting together your brand style guide or content to match your brand voice and personality. Book a free session to discuss how we can help you create a simple brand guide to inform future content marketing decisions.