Whether you are running a startup or tracking marketing efforts in a large B2B company, a style guide is a crucial component of any marketing strategy. A brand style guide spells out a company’s design standards for its entire workforce.
This document will help your team of writers, designers and developers when they are working on multiple elements within your brand including your logo, typography and colors.
Brand guidelines are an integral resource when you are establishing a new or re-branding your company to communicate well with all customers within your target audience.
What is a Style Guide?
A style guide refers to a document which clearly spells out how your brand must be presented from both a language and graphic perspective. The aim of a style guide is to ensure that multiple contributors work in a cohesive way to reflect your true corporate style and maintain brand consistency with everything from writing to design.
Style guides support marketing initiatives by guaranteeing that all messaging is related to your company’s goals. A brand style guide distinguishes your company from your rivals and establishes a strong brand presence to build long-term brand awareness. Over time, that consistency and awareness build trust. Apart from the term style guide, some companies also refer it to as ‘brand identity guides’ or simply ‘brand guides.’
Why is it Important?
Every company should consider its style guide as its visual DNA. In case your brand goes through a redesign process, make sure you always invent a new brand style guide to go along with it. Ideally, you should announce the re-branding strategy to your team so that everyone can get on board with new design guidelines.
Big corporations that have teams in different locations across the world can immensely benefit from having online style guides. Trello, Adobe and Skype allow companies to publish all guides so every employee has access to these resources.
Having a consistent style guide across marketing channels goes a long way to boost your brand recognition. There are several studies that reveal that consumers perceive brands as personifications of companies, which also impact their buying decisions.
Since we all are creatures of habits, we are more likely to make purchases from brands that become familiar over time. Through consistency in branding, a company is able to meet the expectations of its customers and deliver successful services.
Let’s dig deeper into style guides.
Visual Style Guide
Visual style guides define the way a brand will look so that all corporate graphics remain standardized across various materials. Graphic style guides normally include design standards in terms of feel and look, white space usage, variations and applications of the logo and corporate color palettes. Such a guide features all typography details including line height/spacing, font families and sizes. Moreover, there are also layout specifics to depict how elements should be positioned on a page.
One of the major benefits of having a visual style is that it creates unity among marketers in your business. Companies receive a mixed bag of results, if they leave up their visual representation open to individual interpretation.
When you have a visual style guide ready, you create clarity for all marketing decisions to maintain a uniform official website as well as your blog and social media pages.
Editorial Style Guide
This guide includes specific rules about the voice of a company. For instance, it could be in first or second person and active or passive. The editorial style guide also features all words to avoid and any regional dialects that should be adopted.
It also includes abbreviations, spellings and punctuations so all employees follow the same guide. There are many companies that choose a widely used guide such as the Chicago Manual of Style while other companies can create their own set of standards.
The company voice personifies brands as if they were real people. Your online and digital marketing campaigns are demonstrations of your brand. Make sure you adopt a tone that goes well with your other content marketing efforts.
Comprehensive style guides allow a company to define or re-create its image for an editorial and visual perspective. These guides help form a unified brand. For that reason, it’s important to implement both an editorial and a visual style guide to keep your brand consistent across all materials.
Consistency results in a cohesive brand experience that most consumers look for, every time they interact with your company. Having a specific style guide will ultimately help you build brand recognition to nurture your future customers.
A style guide is important to keep your brand identity own-able and recognizable, even if several different marketers or content creators work for your brand. Every company must spend the time and use enough resources to get it right. These rules help your new employees take care of the hierarchy of color and typography to keep your brand cohesive.
For instance, Twitter’s brand guidelines do a great job of defining suitable ways so everyone can display their logo right. Moreover, the search giant, Google, also has specific brand guidelines.
Some more examples of style guides include PowerPoint templates, writing samples, words to avoid and photography compositions. Companies should cover all key points to guarantee that the document is easy to scan and recall. The specificity and length of your style guide vary depending on your brand’s needs.
A brand style guide is a key document to facilitate content creators so they communicate a consistent message to your audience. This guide serves as a catalogue of all important elements that make up the visual identity of your brand.
It also includes a list of do’s and don’ts to make sure your company delivers the same message, always. Your style guidelines show potential customers that you are professional and trustworthy.
Hence, make sure your style guide features everything about your company; from colors to textures and your mission statement. In the absence of a clearly defined brand guideline, it’s virtually impossible for your brand to maintain a consistent identity.
What’s your company’s style guide? Feel free to comment below.
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