Your brand is the foundation of your business’s identity.
It represents not only your products or services, but also your values, personality, and the relationship you have with your customers. It effectively shapes how customers perceive and interact with your business.
So how do you establish a strong brand image that resonates with customers and stands out from the competition?
Consistency and a comprehensive brand style guide.
In this blog post, we discuss the importance of a brand style guide and the elements that go into making your brand truly stand out.
WHAT IS A BRAND STYLE GUIDE?
A brand style guide is a comprehensive set of standards that defines a company’s branding strategy.
It serves as a reference document, outlining the rules for the presentation and usage of various brand elements, such as the logo, colors, fonts, and imagery. This document ensures that all aspects of a company’s branding remain consistent across different platforms and mediums, including websites, social media, print materials, and all marketing channels.
Off-brand creation can create confusion. A guide provides clear instructions for anyone working with your brand, including employees, marketers, designers, and external partners. Maintaining the integrity and consistency of communication creates a brand that customers can come to trust.
Take a moment to think of memorable brands. Would you recognize a Pepsi logo without the word ‘Pepsi’ in it? Do you refer to facial tissues as Kleenexes? Is there a jingle you can sing from memory? These companies have established such a consistent marketing and brand strategy that many customers automatically make brand associations from certain visuals or messages.
Your business may not be as big as Pepsi or Kleenex, but it can still make a big impact with your customers. Even at a local level, consistent messaging and imagery let customers know what to expect from your business. You set the tone for how your business should be perceived. A brand style guide lets everyone on your team know your expectations and provides a guideline for brand standards, even as your business grows.
WHAT ARE FIVE ELEMENTS OF A STRONG BRAND STYLE GUIDE?
Fonts are one of the most important elements of your brand’s visual identity. They communicate your brand’s character, tone, and style. Make sure the fonts you choose are visually appealing and easy to read.
Your guide should specify which fonts to use, how they should be styled, and what the hierarchy is. For instance, you might have a primary font for headings and a secondary font for body copy. Font sizes, weight, and spacing should be identified within the hierarchy to clearly distinguish headings from body paragraphs.
You should also include examples of how your typography should be used on different mediums, like your website, social media, or print materials.
2. Logo development
If you’re creating a brand style guide from scratch, you might also include a section on logo development. This means specifying the key elements that make up your logo, such as the color scheme, typography, imagery, and style. You could also explain the meaning behind your logo and how it ties into your overall brand story and strategy.
3. Logo usage
Your logo is the centerpiece of your brand’s visual identity. It should be displayed consistently, and in a way that represents your brand’s values, story, and mission.
In your brand style guide, you should provide guidance on logo usage, such as minimum sizes, acceptable file types, clear space, placement, variations, and orientation. You can also show examples of how your logo should be displayed on different backgrounds, colors, and mediums. Include examples of your logo that should not be used to provide even clearer examples and instructions.
4. Brand colors
Brand colors should evoke emotions, communicate values, and differentiate your brand from competitors. In your brand style guide, specify the primary, secondary, and accent colors that make up your brand’s color palette. Include the color codes, such as HEX, RGB, CMYK, or Pantone. You should also provide examples of how the colors should be used on different mediums and backgrounds.
When choosing colors, be sure to test your color palette to make sure they are clearly legible together. There are many online resources for testing color contrast for accessibility like Contrast Checker.
Imagery can be used to showcase your products, services, or values in a way that resonates with your audience. Define the types of imagery that are on brand and specify the tone, style, and composition. For instance, you might use a specific color palette, filter, or style of photography or illustration.
You should also include information on where and how the images are used, such as web banners, social media posts, or print advertisements. Guidelines for image dimensions, file types, and resolution can also be included.
A comprehensive brand style guide is an essential tool in creating and maintaining a brand identity. We hope these five elements provide you with a starting point in establishing your brand’s image. Each business is unique, and some businesses may opt for a more in-depth guide with additional elements such as target audience overview, mission statement and values analysis, buyer persona, and language/voice. No matter which elements you choose to include, having a brand style guide establishes consistency and ensures that everyone involved in the creative process is on the same page.
At Vervocity, we know that powerful branding can set your business apart and create lasting connections with your audience. Our comprehensive branding services are designed to define and amplify your company’s unique identity. By delving into the heart of your business and overall goals, we gain a better understanding of your vision, values, and target market to create a brand style guide that truly makes your business stand out.