How to Build a Brand Style Guide

Featured

An easy-to-use template of what business owners need to visually market their products and services consistently and authentically

Entrepreneurs need to wear many hats from finance, human resources, supply chain management, to strategy, operations, sales, and marketing. To make marketing your business just a little bit easier, I have created a template for creating your Brand Style Guide. Read below for more specifics on what you need in your Brand Style Guide toolkit to communicate your message consistently, memorably and to stand out in the competition.

What is a Brand Style Guide?

A comprehensive guide containing everything from recommended wording, fonts, color choice, graphic/image description to keep your brand consistent, LOGO with digital versions for printing and social media

Why does your business need a Brand Style Guide?

The guide to make every visual you create from print to digital consistent with your brand and business goals. By having all of the information needed in one place, you will decrease the time it takes to produce content and sales materials as well as keep communications consistent across material created by multiple team member or over long periods of time. 

Get to know your Brand

Before you start building a Brand Style Guide, you will need to get to know your brand much better. Not sure you have a clearly defined Brand? Start with these recommendations.

If you need to better understand your Brand, visit these posts on branding, 7 Steps to Create a Brand Strategy, Branding for Bloggers: Part 1 Why Bloggers need a Brand Plan? and Part 2 Brand Plans for Bloggers and Target Marketing 101 – OR – check out my book, Fun and Fulfilling Careers One Question at a Time.

Basic Parts of a Brand Style Guide

  • LOGO
  • Color Palette
  • Taglines
  • Image
  • Fonts
  • Constraints

A Logo is a simple image depicting the industry, purpose and uniqueness of a company, product, or organization, which may include color, words, pictures, symbols, or other visual representation. 

Definition by Creative Brand Coach

Why your business needs a logo?

Logos provide the following benefits:

  • Give an instantaneous recognizable impression of your business at a glance
  • Keep your products and services top of mind promoting Brand awareness
  • Make your organization stand out and be memorable to your ideal audience
  • Give a simple visual way to represent your organization
  • Increase brand loyalty through a connection to your organization’s purpose. With consumers and customers making buying decisions more and more based on the underlying purpose of a company, it is important to communicate a connection to your company’s mission, vision and purpose through a logo. 

Read this post via The Branding Journal to learn more. https://www.thebrandingjournal.com/2019/05/difference-logo-design-branding/

Psychology of colors: Choosing a Color Palette

What is a Color Palette?

A Color Palette is a set group of colors you will use in your communications and image materials. The main benefits of a color palette are brand recognition, the ability to stand out from your competitors, helps to simplify design decisions and through color psychology helps your ideal target market recognize your brand as a good choice.

WARNING: Colors have different meanings in different cultures. If you are working across borders, be aware that a color can change meaning.

Recommendations on choosing the right color palette

Working with Words: Fonts Choice

What is a font?

“A font is a set of printable or displayable text character s in a specific style and size. The type design for a set of fonts is the typeface and variations of this design form the typeface family. Thus, Helvetica is a typeface family, Helvetica italic is a typeface, and Helvetica italic 10-point is a font. In practice, font and typeface are often used without much precision, sometimes interchangeably.” Definition from WhatIs.com via @WhatIsDotCom

Warning: Fonts, like colors, can have meaning. Read this post to learn more, What Different Types of Fonts Mean and How to Use Them via Digital Synopsis.

  • Modern fonts best for technology and style.
  • Classic fonts best for building trust and sense of security
  • Script fonts can be formal or playful depending on how stylized they are.

Recommendation:  Choose multiple fonts including at least one script font for use across social media and print. Stick to 1-2 for the vast majority of your communication but use secondary fonts for sale or announcement materials.

First impressions: Image choice

A picture is worth more than a thousand words, especially if you use consistent types of images in your brand communication. Consider what images your target market naturally gravitates toward.  Remember you are trying to establish a relationship based on people buying from people and doing business with companies they know, like and trust. Consistent images help increase all three.

The images you choose will depend on your business type, unique brand style/personality, and the message you are conveying.

Options:

  • Soothing colors/attention grabbing
  • Natural images/High Tech
  • People/Objects/landscapes
  • Positive/Negative space
  • Lots of white space/busy
copyright by Creative Brand Coach

When to be disruptive!

Exception:  If your brand is very unique in your industry or you want your business to be seen as a disruptor, feel free to break away from the pack. Just be sure you are using images that reflect your brand and are consistent. Disruption can also be communicated through more unusual fonts and unexpected color choices as well.

How to share your Brand on social media:

Branding recommendations by Platform to help you reach your Target Markets

Each Social Media platform responds best to its own set of rules about brand representation. Choosing the platforms that are most likely to connect you to your ideal target market or high value customer is essential for the success of your brand and your business.

Important Brand Style Guidelines by Social Media Platform

Instagram: Check your checkerboard (9 images that work)

Facebook: Go for engagement (event promotion, new services)

Twitter: Motivate & Education (inspiring words & the science behind)

LinkedIn: Show the expert you are (share industry articles, start the conversation)

YouTube: How to & why me? (Teach & testimonials)

Pinterest: Show & Sell (Products, Services, Share)

A few Final recommendations:

Do your research!

Spend time understanding what is out there. Research how other brands in and out of your industry communicate their Brands through Style and imagery. A few ways to keep up to date with the latest trends include:

  • Follow Top Influencers
  • Spend time learning what you like and don’t like visually
  • Ask for feedback from current clients/friends
  • Don’t be afraid to rebrand or rebound brand (start over or go back to your original branding)

Start building your Brand Style Guide today to make marketing your business, brands, and company easier tomorrow.

Heather H. Bennett is a marketing strategist, personal brand coach, Board Director, and author of Fun and Fulfilling Careers One Question at a Time. Heather lives and works in Chicago, Illinois and is enthusiastic about helping businesses and professionals build strong brands to connect with their target market and reach their personal and professional goals.  Find Heather via Twitter @creativebrandch & www.creativebrandcoach.net

Fun and Fulfilling Careers One Question at a Time by Heather H. Bennett, Creative Brand Coach, image copyright by Creative Brand Coach