We’ve already talked about the importance of having a visual identity system and the benefits of showing consistency in your brand’s image. Once you have determined how your brand is going to be, it is easy for you to keep that image as long as you do it on your own or if you have a small team.
But, what happens when your business starts to grow? Would you need to explain everything over and over to the new members of your team? Well, you certainly need to communicate the mission, vision, and values of your brand, but regarding the identity aspect you can follow an easier way and that way is to create a style guide.
What is a style guide?
A style guide is a document that will clearly communicate the design standards of your business to the members of your staff. This document will be used as a reference whenever there’s a need to design or write. Recurring to the style guide will ensure that those new pieces will follow the brand’s criteria and will distinguish them from the competitors.
Why do you need a style guide?
Because by following the standards and tools you have on the style guide you will be able to create any kind of pieces and make them recognizable. In that way, you will be keeping your brand consistent.
What do you need to include in a style guide?
Create a simple summary in order to introduce your brand to the world. After you write your brand story, you can also include:
- Mission: What is the main purpose of your business?
- Vision: What would you like to accomplish?
- Values: What are the core priorities of your business?
- Audience: Who will benefit from your brand?
Your logo is the symbolic representation of your brand and therefore one of the most distinctive elements. Your style guide should include, how you are going to use that logo: the position, orientation, color and black and white options, etc. If it happens that you have a primary and a secondary logo, your style guide will specify in which cases you will use one or the other.
Once you have determined the spirit of your brand, you are going to choose the typeface that will best resonate with that spirit. Besides being memorable it should also be legible. Your style guide will include the use of each typeface as well as the weight and styles that you will use in each case (headlines, paragraphs, etc.).
The color palette is also a distinctive element of your brand. Once again, you need to be clear on what you want to communicate and then you can start to make a selection of colors that will help you to achieve that. Those colors should combine and complement each other. Besides including the color names on your style guide, you are going to specify the purpose of each color and how will they be used.
Here you are going to explain the style of the photography, illustration and icons that you consider will resonate with the vibe of your brand.
Language is a very important part of your brand. Remember when we talked about finding the voice of your brand? (If you have no idea of what I’m talking about, you can take a look at this post.) Well, what you’re going to do now is to describe the voice of your brand and be very specific about the writing style and formatting preferences.
Obviously, these are the most generic elements that you can include in your style guide. You can include all the elements that you consider necessary, depending on what your business is about. If you need some inspiration, you can search on the Internet and you will find several style guides belonging to renowned brands.
Using a style guide is a simple way to have control over the image of your brand and a way to make sure that you keep it consistent with all your brand’s material.