A style guide is all about protecting your brand and they’re important to every business whatever your size. Some smaller businesses can tend to avoid style guides but it’s important to avoid doing things that will dilute your brand.
In fact every brand, from the smallest through to corporate giants such as Apple, Nike or Coca Cola should follow a set of branding guidelines through a style guide which sets out the rules to follow to maintain their corporate identity and strength of their brand.
A style guide helps set the rules for consistent quality design. It ensures that the same look, feel and message are portrayed across your marketing. Consistent design encourages trust in your product.
One of the big benefits of working with a professional designer – apart from getting a well-designed brand identity – is that you’ll get advice on how to be consistent with your branding.
Your designer should give you an easy to follow style guide that will cover all the main elements of your brand identity (logo, colours and typography) as well as specific instructions for common usage of your branding such as stationery and signage.
Think of the style guide as your rule book, the ‘bible’ for protecting the quality of your brand. Throwing out the rule book can hurt your professional image, as inconsistent branding suggests to your customers that you’re also inconsistent in other areas of your business, such as customer service or product quality.
The main rules in your style guide should cover:
- Logo and its relationship to the brand name
- Exclusion zone around logo
- Minimum logo size
- Logo usage in colour, single colour and reverse single colour
- Unacceptable usage, such as distortion or modification of the logo
- Typography for headings, subheadings and body copy in print and digital
- Colour palette with CMYK/RGB values (to ensure correct reproduction)
- Layout rules for stationery and signage, including logo positioning, exclusion zone, typography and hierarchy
Depending on your business needs, you may also be given rules for presenting your logo in a host of other mediums such as uniforms, vehicles, promotional items and interior design.
If you’re like a lot of business owners, then you have a fairly good idea about which designs you like the look of. But you might not be sure of the steps needed to get a unique brand identity for your own business.
One of the best ways to hone your ideas is to fill out a design brief that covers the challenges and opportunities your business faces, as well as the mechanics of how you plan to use your brand identity. This information is also useful for setting the rules in your style guide.
For an easy-to-follow interactive design brief download our design brief template.
This design brief will help your designer to understand your:
- Business activities
- Business goals
- Unique selling proposition (how you’re different from your competitors)
- Key competitors
- Target audience (customers, suppliers, partners)
- Business objectives for the design work (brand awareness, lead generation etc.)
- Existing brand identity assets
- Specifications for final output (e.g. card stock, quantity, special print processes)
- Budget and timeline
To create a style guide for your business, contact the team at Kwik Kopy today to speak with a design expert who can help you create the perfect brand identity.