Purpose of a Style Guide & Brand Guide for Your Business
All of which help make up our Style Guide and Brand Guide. Which, if your company does not currently have one, a style and brand guide are an essential tool for establishing and sharing your identity.
So what are they?
A style guide acts as a key document that helps internal and external content creators communicate a consistent message to your audience, helping create consistent, on-brand content. Having a style guide to reference for expected standards will make the lives of your designers, writers, and developers much easier and give them a solid framework to use as a starting point for their work.
For example, when coming to Pathfinder for a new website or even just an event flier, you – and we – want to ensure that what we create for you is consistent with your company story and identity. Consistency and relevancy are vital in marketing your brand. If you continually create things that shift the look of your branding, clients and customers cannot keep up. From colors and fonts to logo styles, your marketing should be consistent and truly identify who you are as a company.
This cohesion is important because it helps establish a strong brand voice that resonates with your audience, which is essential for building brand awareness. Over time, that awareness and consistency build trust. And trust creates new clients.
Here’s what a Style Guide should include:
- Logo: This includes all variations of your logo, including icons and alternative logo orientations. Alternative logos may include: acceptable secondary options, responsive logos, or icons and social media badges.
- Color Palette: Your style guide will include CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Black.” These are the four basic colors used for printing), RGB (red, green, blue, which is used for creating digital images), HEX (key to unlock web and digital design like HTML, CSS and SCSS.), and Pantone color codes (used primarily for print and textiles).
- Fonts: Any typefaces used within the logo and marketing material should be a part of the style guide, along with their weights and a web-safe alternative, if necessary. Be sure to distinguish between fonts used for titles vs body copy, and include formatting preferences for copy.
- Backgrounds: Whether it is a flat color, a texture, or a type of photo, providing example backgrounds is important because it gives a visual to what is and is not acceptable to use alongside your logo and colors.
Remember, a style guide is essential to keep your brand identity consistent, recognizable, and ownable.
While a Style Guide outlines best practices for visual marketing, a Brand Guide keeps your written voice consistent and powerful. Just like with cohesion in your visual marketing, the language should sound familiar, recognizable. It’s all very organized and, while not rigid, it’s cohesive.
A Brand Guide is the voice and feeling of the brand. It shows what can be done with the brand, giving everyone a general idea how your brand can be used across all platforms.
What makes up a Brand Guide?
- Mission Statement: The mission statement anchors the brand guidelines, tying into all their other elements. Mission statements inform your blog content, ad copy, visual media, tagline, and more.
- Logo: How is this different from the Style Guide? It’s not. However, your Brand Guide will dive into much more specific details of your logo, sizing and color variations that are and are not acceptable, proper contrast ratio to backgrounds, etc.
- Color Palette: Once again, this is not different from your Style Guide, but your Brand Guide will always tell more of a narrative. Why these colors, how they can and cannot be used, variations of them that are acceptable, what is primary and what is secondary, etc.
- Brand Personality: Brand identity is built by assigning human characteristics and traits to your brand. Why? Brand personality helps you connect to your audience on an emotional level and makes you different from your competition. These characteristics can be expressed through branding elements like brand name, logo design, colors, fonts, tone of voice, etc.
- Keywords: Keywords that drive your written content, keep your voice and topics consistent and clear. They help drive the mission statement and tie in to how and why you are trying to reach an ideal client.
While there is obvious overlap in your Style Guide and Brand Guide, they are both equally important for your company. Think of your Style Guide as a quick reference to grab color codes and check on logo options, mainly used for printers or outside marketing and design partners. Think of your Brand Guide as the detailed story behind your voice and mission, mainly used by your marketing team or company leaders.
All together, these guidelines are the foundation for a company to build a high-impact and influential brand. In time, brands become instantaneously identifiable, giving customers a reliable and consistent experience.
How is your business sharing your brand story? Is it consistent across platforms and styles, are your colors and voice recognizable?
If you need help starting, finalizing, or adjusting your businesses Style and Brand Guide, Pathfinder is here to help.