5 Basic Things Your Brand Style Guide Should Include
Have you ever wondered how some companies keep their content and social feeds looking super professional and consistent? The key is that they've taken the time to define their style and write down specific guidelines and rules for how to execute this vision day in and day out. Think just because you're a one-woman show that you can keep those thoughts in your mind palace? Think again. We make decisions every day that can eventually take a detour from our initial vision. Keeping a brand style guide at your disposal ensures that you always measure your decisions up to your brand standard and that your teammates are empowered to make those same decisions!
Here are 5 things your brand style guide should include:
1. Your vision/mood board.
We can't make decisions without a clear vision of our brand. Your vision should encompass your brand's ideal client persona, the things that make your business different, and the overall tone and values of your business. This is so helpful to refer back to whenever you feel like your content is veering away from your original mission.
2. Your logo.
It's the greatest distillation of your brand and you want to always use it with integrity and professionalism. Your style guide should include rules about how to use it properly, from how it's shaped to how much padding it gets to what colors it appears in.
Your color palette is a huge part of your visual identity and can often become one of the most recognizable parts of your brand. What colors are a part of your palette? Make sure your palette range is large enough to give you flexibility, but not too large that you lose consistency.
With so many custom fonts on the market, your visual identity is largely becoming connected to its typography in addition to its colors. Certain type styles go hand in hand with certain visual styles. Are you traditional, modern, artsy, gently, professional, or irreverent? Make sure your type styles match your brand persona and that there are guidelines dictating how and when they're used.
It's the age of Instagram and content marketing, so photography is a huge part of your brand whether you want to believe it or not! Make sure you're thinking about how you want people to be represented and depicted. If you're a product-based business, create rules around how your products are shown. If you use stock photography, create a running list of keywords that you search for.
Each brand is different and requires guidelines specific to the way they run their business. Have sub-brands, courses, or products that need specific style rules outlined? Add 'em! Have a specific way that you create Pinterest graphics, or use your icons? Add it! While making these style decisions might sound a little daunting, getting started on what you do know can be so helpful in making sure you and your team are always sticking to the path that aligns with your vision.
Need in-depth guidance on how to put together your own brand style guide? Get The Balanced Brand Lab Kit, where I'll provide you with a style guide template to edit and give you video training sessions on all the nuances of each section!