The Ultimate Guide to Brand Styleguides
Having a proper styleguide is a thing that your business requires in order to keep your brand identity consistent regardless of who creates it and consistent through any medium of communication; however, not many businesses keep one.
The style guide is essentially the one document that lists all the vital information needed to create any kind of asset for your business; be it a website, a report, advertisement, having this document will make everything faster and easier to create. Well, if it is so useful then how come not all business have it? Yes, although they make your life a breeze after it’s created, making the document takes a lot of effort and time, something that most businesses lack nowadays.
Then again, if you think about all the time one would spend explaining to a designer the exact space and color needed for the logo design on every document, or maintaining the same font when multiple people have the responsibility to create documents and when your business is thriving, you’d hire more designers that just more time explaining everything, every time to all.
Another important reason is that over the years, your brand logo might undergo a change and you would want the updated logo, if any, to go all documents issued thereon. An up-to-date styleguide would be the Bible or Encyclopedia everyone would look to for answers for any change in font, logo and other essentials.
To create a styleguide for your business takes effort, but in the long-run, it is definitely worth it. Here are the main styleguide essentials:
Logo Size and Placement
Your logo is usually the most important element of your brand identity and you want it to be consistent everywhere it gets displayed. Your guideline for a logo should involve exactly how it should look and if it varies with the business segment. For example, the ‘Ex’ in FedEx has a different color for services, corporate, hoe delivery and other segments of the company. Also, remember to clearly state what not to do with the logo.
A consistent font is required for all documents being published offline and online — it makes you look professional. In your guide, you must talk about the font type, size — spelled out separately for different purposes such as headings or photo captions. Line spacing between lines and from the page border should also be specified. Specify which fonts or characters within the group should not be used too.
The requirement of color should be spelled out as much as possible; use hex codes, equivalent CMYK or Pantone color values to be used for print — whatever you choose to go with, ensure they are tested in print first. This is important to avoid any discrepancies between what is found online and what appears in print.
Iconography or Other Imagery
Iconography can really help your brand stand out in the crowd. Have the specification for it in your guide so they are used properly in all documents. You can spell out the variations it may have in color or filter for different purposes such as the pattern on a report versus the pattern on inside of an envelope. Linking the exact image within the guide would be wise.
Although it may not seem as important, but having a consistent tone in all your business communication is also very professional. You can specify this in your guide and also mention how a copy should not be written. Then again, if you are appealing to a different demographic, then guidelines for the tone, specific to that demographic should also be spelled out here. See copywriting tips here.
Photography / Illustration style
Photography is always a visual representation of your brand and what it stands for. People do recognize brands for the kind photos, they publish and including this in your guide would save a lot of time when working with different photographers over time. However, it would be a good idea to add some visual in your guide as photographers would relate better to what you are trying to explain in the context.
These days, having a brand online in one way or the other is very important. Your website should reflect your brand along with anything else you might produce online or offline. Although elements such as font, color or line spacing can translate easily from print to online, there are other areas to cover for your website; such as how one page should flow or connect to the next, the tabs or navigation must match your unique style.
Other elements to consider
- Implement and update your guide immediately as any change may occur in your logo or other elements.
- Everything about your brand such as the history, the vision.
- The type of posts to be shared on social media and the ones that should not.
- Guidelines for brochures, visiting cards.
- Sample each element for a visual guide.