The following is an edited transcript of my video, What Is a Brand Style Guide.
A style guide is a wonderful asset for any brand that has grown beyond just one name or one logo to a portfolio of marks and logos and slogans.
I have to admit, I’ve been in business for 20+ years and I never had a actual defined style guide until this year. So I wanted to share my experience going through a style guide with you and talk about the benefits and the key elements of the style guide. And you’ll find some images and links to the style guide in the link in the full description for this, if you’d like to visualize more to go with it. A style guide is important because it makes sure that everyone on the team, everyone in the company, in the business, is on the same page when it comes to working with the elements of the brand.
The guide also makes it easier to also ensure that any contractors or partners or others who might be working with your brand, whether it’s managing your social media or building your website or recording your videos or podcasts or whatever it is, know all about your brand and how to use it properly. And I think the wonderful part is that it leads to more consistency and to more harmony amongst all of the pieces of your brand.
With my style guide, what we’ve done is we’ve created a little summary of what the mission is, that describes what we do and what motivates us as a brand and as a business. And then we’ve laid out the most important logo and brand name, which has evolved now to have a little pop of color.
The guide also shares more about the other elements of our brand that might be used. The slogans, the other product names and trademarks that we own. What’s great about the style guide is we can limit things to the range of colors and fonts that we prefer to use, and specify and detail them. We can show how exactly we prefer the logo to be used, in terms of white on black or black on white or color and having a border and space around it.
And we can talk about which trademark symbols should be used with each of the key brand assets. Hopefully that’s an R with a circle most of the time. But if something is not yet protected or couldn’t be protected, then we might use a TM or an SM with it. And then finally, what helps tie this all together in the style guide, is some examples of how the company has used all of these elements and done it well. That helps showcase the ideal usage of it. So in our style guide, for example, at the bottom, we have some visuals, some images from the website, some social media images that show examples of, here’s how we’ve done it, and how we’d prefer to do it. Going forward, it’s easier for somebody to reference and to build off of that and know whether it meshes or doesn’t. Hopefully what all this leads to is more harmony among all of the brand elements.
For more, and an example, see Anatomy of a Brand Style Guide.