Why Your Brand Needs A Style Guide
When it comes to branding, consistency is key.
This is because consistent branding helps your business look legitimate and also ensures that the brand voice message you’re broadcasting to the world - and to your ideal customers - remains the same across all platforms.
Inconsistent branding creates a big old mess
Here’s why. Let’s say a customer is browsing your website. While they’re exploring your site, they will spot different elements of your branding such as your logo, the various colours your brand uses, different fonts and typefaces, and certain types of images and visuals.
Now let’s say this customer signs up for you email newsletter. But when that email lands in their inbox, the branding isn’t consistent. In fact, it’s completely different. Your logo is missing. The fonts are different to those that appear on your website. The colours are on the opposite end of the colour spectrum.
See the problem?
At best, the customer in the example above would notice something was off. Worst case scenario? They might think your business isn’t very legit, and instinctively hit ‘unsubscribe.’
Inconsistent branding is visually jarring for your customers. It sends the message that your business isn’t trustworthy, professional or legitimate.
Consistent branding on the other hand is paramount, because it helps establish trust between you and your customers and helps reinforce your brand voice and core brand messaging.
But how do you keep all of your branding elements looking and feeling consistent across the board?
That’s where your brand style guide comes in.
So what is a style guide, anyway?
A brand style guide (sometimes called a brand bible or brand guidelines) is a document that defines and describes the various branding elements of your business, such as your logo, colour palette, and font system.
A style guide helps you maintain the look and feel of your brand across the board; from the physical store your customers visit (if you happen to have one) to your website, social media channels, email newsletter and other bits of branding collateral such as your business cards, letterheads, and even your email signature.
It will explain things like what your primary logo looks like, what size it should be displayed at, how much blank space should be left around the logo, and if your logo can be used in different colours or on different backgrounds. Pictured below is a quick example from Asana’s brand style guide:
A style guide will also tell you what fonts to use for headings, subheadings and body text, and what size these fonts should be displayed at. It will also outline what your brand colours are, along with what colour combinations you can use and in what context you should be using them.
Essentially a brand style guide is a reference tool that shows you (and anyone who works for you) how to implement your branding and keep things looking consistent and cohesive.
Things to consider
If this is all sounding a bit complex and overwhelming, don’t stress. Your style guide doesn’t have to be 100 pages long - it could be as simple as a one-page document.
Also you can expect your style guide to change and evolve as your brand does; you might have a new logo designed or even undergo a full rebrand in the future, so you will need to update your style guide accordingly (just be sure to save your old style guide for your records and keep track of which version is the latest).
If you have any questions about brand style guides or need help putting one together for your business, feel free to send me an email and I’ll get back to you personally.