Branding is all about consistency. You want your customers or clients to recognise your brand across every channel, and consistency is the key to establishing this recognition. At the simplest level, this means always using the same fonts and colours and ensuring you are using your logo in the correct way. The easiest way to ensure you are getting everything correct, every time, is by referring to your brand's visual style guide.
What exactly is a visual style guide?
A style guide is simply a document that lays out the rules to creating consistent visual messaging for your business or brand. It applies to everything the brand distributes, from website design to print collateral to advertising and social media. Essentially, it ensures brand consistency through any of these mediums, no matter who creates them. Plus, having a simple document that you can easily refer to, makes doing so really easy.
What does a style guide contain?
A style guide can be as simple as a single page document, or it might be laid out across several pages. Either way, there are several key elements that will always be included, no matter how large or small the document.
The first section usually outlines appropriate logo usage, showing how and how not to use your logo. If there’s more than one version of your logo, such as a secondary logo mark, these versions will be laid out here.
This section will include the swatches from your logo and any other colours for your branding. It will list out each of the colour codes and mixes, including RGB, CMYK, Hex and Pantone numbers.
This section will list the font/s used in your logo, as well as any coordinating fonts to be used across other brand collateral. It will also outline the typographical hierarchy to be used for headlines, subheads and body copy.
Photography and imagery is also an important part of any brand or business. Sometimes style guides will include a framework to follow when creating images for your brand. It will define the criteria for images to abide by so that everything possesses a definitive visual language.
Presenting a well-branded business is a way of saying that you’re committed to your business and customers and that you have confidence in your service. If you have confidence in your brand, then so will your customers, and with confidence comes trust, and with trust comes commitment from your customers. This is why it’s so important to keep your brand visually consistent, but having (and adhering to!) a style guide takes out all the guesswork and makes this really simple.
If you're interested in creating a new brand or logo design for your business, or if you need a style guide developed for your current branding, I'd love to hear from you. Please contact me to talk about how we can work together.