Posted by Mike Woodgate on April 27, 2017
When it comes to building a successful brand - one that is memorable, recognizable and, ultimately, smashable - one of the keys is communicating to customers with consistency at all touch points.
Having a brand style guide will help create this consistency by defining and documenting fundamental rules and guidelines about how your brand should be communicated. This becomes especially important when your brand is developing content across multiple channels, and creating the content through multiple parties (agencies, internal teams or otherwise).
The brand guidelines will give clear direction to those creating content for your brand, and also serve as a reference to your internal team about your company's direction, values and mission. Having all parties on the same page will ensure that all communication stays true to your brand’s voice and visual style. It can even save time spent on creative, as content developers or designers will have more clarity on direction and, thus, be able to stay on the right track.
A brand style guide is essentially a set of rules, but you know the saying: “rules are made to be broken”. Creativity must also play a huge role in building a memorable experience for your customers, so remember that a guidelines document should have the flexibility to adapt and change as your brand does.
What should go into your guidelines document?
As a starting point, here are some things that are a part of an effective style guide:
YOUR BRAND STORY
Where did you come from, and what makes your brand what it is today?
MISSION, VISION AND VALUES
Your mission statement and the values that you live and work by.
Sets standards for logo usage and restrictions, and defines your colour and typography standards.
Defines a visual style for photography and/or illustration.
TONE OF VOICE
The language that you want to speak in, along with clear examples to help give direction to all written content.
EXAMPLES of APPLICATIONS
Layout examples and templates for both print and digital marketing communications.
The video below showcases a brand guidelines document that we created for Indus Community Services, as a part of their current rebranding exercise. As a government funded not-for-profit company, they are required to produce many creative elements in-house, and often by multiple team members. This document gives them a road map that will help them develop a strong personality in their communications, and deliver it in a consistent way, no matter who touches the brand.
Depending on the size of a brand, and the assets that they create, brand guideline documents can go even deeper than was mentioned above. Many times, they are a beautiful piece of art in themselves.
Check out this great blog by Canva design school for examples of some creative style guides to get you thinking about making your own.
Get in touch with us for more examples of brand guides that we’ve built for our clients and find out how we can help you develop one for your brand.