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How To Develop A Brand Style Guide

Consistency should be your number-one priority when it comes to your business’s brand. But how are you supposed to remain consistent over a number of departments, agencies, and partners? How are you supposed to communicate your brand to all the facets of who you are as a company? 

The answer is simple: through a brand style guide. 

What Is A Brand Style Guide?

Think of your brand style guide as a rulebook for everything your company creates. Whether it’s business cards, a PowerPoint slideshow, or a Facebook post, your brand style guide dictates what the content should look and sound like. 

Because your brand style guide uses the same elements consistently, it increases brand awareness among your customers. No matter where they see your content – on a billboard, a commercial, or an online ad – they’ll know it’s yours. 

Creating Your Style Guide

Having a brand style guide in place makes life so much simpler. The process of creating one is pretty simple, too! 

Define Your Brand

Before you start picking out your brand colors, typography, and icons, you need to go back to the beginning and ask yourself – what is my brand identity? Figuring out your identity lays the foundation for how you present your business in every situation. 

Start by writing a mission statement for your business. In a short and sweet sentence or two, talk about your core values and what sets you apart from the rest. 

Know Your Intended Audience

To figure out your brand guide, you have to know who you’re talking to. Come up with a few customer personas with varying needs and interests, but who would all be interested in what your business can offer. It can help to come up with nicknames for these personas, like “Personal Assistant Penny” or “Home Improvement Hal,” for example. Your team should understand your customers' wants and needs on an intrinsic level, as that prompts better brand communication.

Figure Out Voice and Tone

It can be tough to nail down your voice and tone because they’re so intangible. But one way to make it simpler is to picture your brand as a person. If they were living and breathing right beside you, how would they speak? Would they be conversational and light, or businesslike and formal? Think of how your intended audience would like to be spoken to, and the message you’re trying to convey, to find the perfect tone for your brand.

Make Logos

When a customer or a prospect sees your logo, it should be instantly recognizable. It’s wise to create a secondary logo, too, to use when the main one won’t fit or isn’t congruous style-wise. The secondary logo shouldn’t be altogether different; instead, it should have similar elements to your main logo to be consistent.

For example, Walmart’s main logo is the name Walmart in blue font with a spark graphic icon in yellow. Walmart’s secondary logo is the spark icon by itself.

Choose A Color Palette

Select both primary and secondary colors, specific ones at that. Note the hex codes for both selections so there’s no guesswork involved and the exact shades can be used each and every time. 

Choose Typography

Pick 2-3 fonts that your brand will always use. The fonts can all be in the same family, or you might pick one for titles and bold statements and others for paragraphs of copy. The fonts should never be too wildly different, though. Even if they’re in different families, they should still flow with one another. 

After you choose your fonts, your brand should avoid using anything different in any marketing material, both externally and internally. 

Define Your Photography

Whether you plan on taking your own photos or using stock images, you should understand your company’s photographic style. Are you looking for posed shots or candid “real life” images? Will you focus more on people or products? Knowing these answers makes it easy to find suitable images for your posts and ads. 

Don’t Forget Iconography

Iconography is easy to forget, but it’s just as important as anything else. Think of social media icons, mobile app buttons, and other things of the like; those things should coincide with the typography and colors you chose so your brand portrays a unified aesthetic. 

Building Your Brand Style Guide

Developing brand guidelines makes for easy communication across the board. When your team understands the brand style guide they’re working with, creating consistent content is much more straightforward – and consistency is key for customer brand recognition and brand loyalty. 

Soon, your brand style guide will have people recognizing your business around every corner. 

If you need help compiling the details for your style guide, Federated Media has the expertise you’re looking for. Just reach out to our team and we can help you build your style guide!

Written by Federated Media