5 tips to create a brand style guide for your business

Branding directly impacts the success of a business online, so you’ll want to consider creating a brand style guide if you don’t already have one.

Think of a brand style guide as the rulebook for how your business presents itself to the world. This includes your logo, fonts, colors, nature of photography and more. 

Check out our nine expert tips to help you build a brand from scratch.

You can use your brand style guide as a reference to help maintain branding consistency no matter which of your team members is involved. Consistency helps you build a trusting relationship with consumers.

About 59 percent of consumers prefer to buy from brands they trust.

The following are five tips to help you create a brand style guide for your business. 

Collect visual branding examples

One of the best ways to convey the presence of your brand is through visual examples.

Consider what reflects your branding the most. This can include ads, emails, social media posts and so on.

If there is a particular point you want to make sure gets addressed, be sure to collect the visuals to communicate that aspect of your branding to your team members.

It’s about visually communicating the look and feel of your brand. 

Define the essential elements of your brand

Traditionally, you’ll want to identify six essential elements of your brand in your brand style guide:

Brand story

This includes your company’s vision and mission statement that introduces your brand to the world and conveys your purpose in so many words. See our five tips to create an effective mission statement for your business if you don’t already have one.

Logo guidelines

Beyond what your logo consists of, think about how your logo should look in different environments. For example, a simpler icon version in addition to a full logo, overall spacing, minimum sizing, logo proportions, a black and white version in addtion to color and so on. Include all of the approved versions of your logo in your brand style guide, as well as an explanation of when to use which version where (as applicable).

Brand color palette

Even if you already have one main branding color and a secondary color, you should make sure that you identify at least one more color to give your brand flexibility.

Many brands opt for about four colors. Think of a lighter color for backgrounds, a darker color for text, a neutral color and a color that pops. They should complement each other.

Font guidelines

Font itself can become its own rabbit hole, but it is very important to put careful thought into choosing the font that best reflects your brand’s personality.

Once you have at least two fonts chosen (can certainly be more than that), you’ll want to be very clear in your brand style guide as to whether an entire typeface family can be used or which specific typefaces can be used.

In addition, you’ll want to communicate when, where and how every font should be used with your brand. Be as clear as possible, including the alignment to be used and any specific spacing.

Image and photography guidelines

This can be one of the more difficult sections of your brand style guide, so take your time. It’s likely easy enough for you to identify which images suit and reflect your brand well, but it’s just as easy for a team member to not have the same natural eye as you.

The goal is to steer your team in the right direction. You can do this by including a selection of example images and sharing the reason behind those examples as well as what your brand hopes to achieve in every image.

Brand voice

Your brand has a personality of its own, much like a person. The more you can share as it pertains to the overall writing style for your brand, the better.

In this section of your brand style guide, you can detail best practices, illustrate your brand personality description with key adjectives, include do’s and don’ts, etc.

Not sure what your brand voice is? Check out our eight tips

Think about the bigger picture

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to dive deeper into certain areas where your branding is relevant.

For example, if you create physical products, what should your packaging look like? How should the layout of your website appear? What makes a branded appearance for a post on any given social media platform?

Brainstorm every possibility that is relevant for your business. Then, pick away at the answers so that you can include them in your brand style guide.

Get organized with a brand style guide outline

Once you’ve compiled all your essential branding elements and visual examples, it’s time to outline your entire brand style guide so that you can stay focused throughout.

In addition, your outline will make the creation process more efficient.

You’ll also need to decide the format of your brand style guide. It can be a digital PDF, printout, webpage, etc. In general, make sure that it’s easy to update and distribute to your team.

Expect brand evolution

The only guarantee in life is change. Never assume that what you decide about your brand today will be right for your brand in 20 years. Just think about Apple. It’s definitely not the same-looking brand from the 1980s (or even earlier).

Consider your brand style guide a living document that you should revisit at least annually.

To help with inspiration, check out the brand style guide for Starbucks or Zendesk.

As you begin to create your brand style guide, consider optimizing your digital marketing process. This includes such features as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.