As part of my design services, I create one piece of collateral for my clients that's oh-so-important: A brand style guide. Different from a mood board, which often features images pulled from Pinterest, a color scheme and typography (font) ideas, the brand style guide is the be-all, end-all of your brand. The real deal.
While my style guides for clients vary from a one-sheet to a comprehensive ten-page style guide, it's important as a blogger, small business or organization to have a piece of material that sums up your brand at a quick glance both for a variety of reasons.
Who does a brand style guide benefit?
You! The business owner, head honcho, founder, creative director.
Whoever you are at the top of your business or organization, this is what sums up the face of your brand identity. If you're not design-savvy, your brand style guide is a quick and easy way to access your colors, your logos and fonts, whether you're creating a Facebook cover photo in InDesign or a blog post graphic in Canva.
If you're working with contractors for your social media or design projects or bringing on full-time employees, it's important to have a style guide to bring your brand style into the forefront of your employees' minds. Plus, it makes it a cinch for your employees to know your exact colors and other elements that help market and promote your blog or business. Because "light blue" just isn't going to cut it as a color description when you're dealing with designers or printing companies. Bonus: Have Pantone colors on your style guide.
The outside world.
I say outside world since it depends on your niche. At some point, you're going to be working with someone outside of your business or blog.
A brand style guide lets advertisers, sponsors, collaborators, fellow bloggers and the media know which logos are appropriate to use in print, on television or online, plus it will give them a quick idea of your style - both visually and your voice. You'll be surprised at how often even larger organizations can stretch your logo, recolor your logo or even call you by the wrong name! Providing a brand style guide nips it in the bud and makes it easier to approach any oops! that may come up when promoting your blog or business.
Style guide for MaggieGentry from 835 Creative
What should I include in a brand style guide?
As I mentioned earlier, a brand style guide can be as simple as a one sheet or be ten, twenty or even fifty pages long and go into specifics of your brand's voice, imagery and more; however, let's be real: the only ones with fifty-page style guides are massive corporations with many entities (Think: FedEx, Mars, Coca-Cola, etc.)
Here are a few ideas of what to include in your brand style guide:
- Primary logo
- Alternative logo(s)
- One-color logo(s)
- Brandmarks or icons
- Colors - RGB, HEX, CMYK, Pantone
- Typefaces (fonts)
- Logo restrictions
- Mission statement
- Vision statement
- Collateral examples
- Images & image style
- Website URL & details
- Partners or members
Are you just starting out and want to create your own brand style guide? Download the free template in the Resource Library!
Template includes InDesign files for Creative Cloud and .idml for
older versions of InDesign, plus a Quickstart Guide.