Brand guide, style guide, even brand bible… all these names can be confusing, but they can be boiled down to a simple booklet or online file explaining how to showcase your brand. These handy little documents are more than just a graphics guide. They are a guide to your entire business and brand, setting the standard and ensuring you have a consistent voice when expressing your message. Think of any well-known company… Twitter, Google, even your favourite sports team. Did a logo and colour scheme immediately pop into your head? You can thank their brand style guide.
Brand style guides often include elements such as:
- Colour palette
- Links and buttons
- Writing guidelines
They are more than just a guide to the graphics of your brand, however. An often overlooked element of brand style guides is their ability to convey the character, or “feel” of your brand. These booklets help people recognize your brand even when your logo isn’t present. They show what makes your brand unique! Whether you want your style to be big and colourful, or simple and minimalistic, this guide gives a clear definition of the spirit of your brand.
Why does your business need a brand style guide?
1. Distinguishes you from your competitors
Would you rather get candy from a man in a broken-down van, or from a nice candy store with a pleasant storefront? For most of us, a candy store is the answer. The same goes for any business – having a professional, clean look to your website and print advertising makes you stand out from the competition. A brand style guide makes this easy for you by clearly laying out how your logo should be used, what your colour scheme is, and your preferred fonts.
2. Helpful for new employees
Creating a brand style guide can give you a huge return on investment when it comes to training new employees. Instead of going over every little detail of how your logo should be spaced or what colours to use for links and buttons, you simply hand them your guide and train them on more important things, like how to use the espresso machine. Brand style guides are also handy references for employees who don’t often work with your business’ logo and typography.
3. Helpful for partners
Creating a brand style guide helps prevent a never-ending game of telephone (or email) tag between you and your partners. While it’s always great to promote your brand when working with other companies, it’s frustrating to see your logo crammed between several others, or even with its colour and shape changed entirely. Sending along a branding style guide to your partners is an easy way to ensure your business looks its best!
4. Simplifies content writing
While writing guidelines are not always included in a brand style guide, they can be an incredibly helpful addition if you have multiple people writing for your company. Using consistent language and tone in all your writing strengthens your brand identity even further. These guides can even help with spelling and capitalization. For instance, we are MicroBrand, not Microbrand, Micro Brand, or micro brand.
5. Useful for print advertising
Brand style guides are not only for your online presence, but for print advertising as well! Business cards, brochures, and more are simplified when you know exactly what typography and colour palette to use.
Here at MicroBrand, we have our own brand style guide. It begins with the spirit of our brand – minimalism and nature are key components. It also goes into depth on most of the elements mentioned above. It’s easy to get so excited about updating our website or our print materials that we throw all kinds of ideas into the mix, but this guide helps keep us focused.
We also love working with clients to help them create their own brand style guides. Let us help you create yours!
Here are some examples from our clients:
Creating something as simple as a colour palette doesn’t mean your guide has to be boring! Have some fun with it! Use creative shapes and layout that bring your logo into play.
Showing what NOT to do is just as important. This keeps your brand consistent everywhere you go!
Now that you know what a brand style guide is and what they can do for you, we can help you create one! Contact us today to get started.