First, what is a brand style guide? Simply put it's a document that's a blueprint of your brand. The guide specifies your primary logo, alternative logos, colors, fonts, images and patterns that make your brand. (Check out my post on What Is A Brand Style Guide for a more detailed overview). Maybe you're thinking, "My designer already sent my logos and fonts. Why would I need anything more?" Keep reading for 3 reasons why you need a brand style guide.
Yes, You Need A Brand Style Guide!
Your brand is not just your logo. Your brand is a combination of your logo, patterns, colors, fonts, etc. Basically it's a lot of pieces that make your company recognizable. For instance Apple has very distinct branding. When you see an Apple commercial on TV you already recognize it's Apple before they display their logo at the end. You're recognizing their branding.
So how do you create a recognizable brand? You stick to your branding by utilizing your brand style guide. Here's how it works:
1. A Brand Style Guide Keeps You Consistent
You've spent time and money creating a brand. It can be very easy to stray from our brand and follow trends. Don't do that. Keep to your style. Don't choose a red color for your newsletter that you think is close to the color in your logo. Reference your guide for the exact color that's used in your logo. The same goes for text. You're primary font is outlined in your guide. Don't pick just any font for your social media images or flyers. Stick to your fonts for consistency.
2. A Brand Style Guide Makes You Look Professional
As a freelance graphic designer I work with a lot of different clients. For some I'll create Facebook posts, others email newsletters, flyers, basically any graphic design collateral they might need. They already have branding so I need to stick to their guidelines. The professional businesses give me their brand style guide to reference. I'll use their exact colors, font's, patterns, etc. to create graphics that are consistent with their brand. I love these clients!
On the other hand some clients only give me their logo. For those clients I try my best to mimic the style of their website and guess at their fonts. This leads to inconsistent branding. You don't want this.
3. A Brand Style Guide Is a Quick Reference for You and Your Employees
You might be a solopreneur now but eventually you might expand and need employees. Or if you already have employees you can't be the branding police. So what do you do to keep your branding consistent? You send ALL of your employees your brand style guide not just your designers. Include it in your welcome package for new employees.
I constantly look at my guide. I can never remember my color hex codes. I have my brand style guide right on my desktop to reference super quickly. It's easy to stay consistent when you have everything in one document.
Get a Brand Style Guide!
You want your brand to be successful. You want to be recognizable. By sticking to a style guide you are on the path to success. Make sure you ask your designer for this document. If you don't have one I'd be happy to work with you to get your branding back on track. Let's chat!
Do you have a brand style guide? I'd love to hear how it benefits you!