What Is A Brand Style Guide?

What is a brand style guide?

You've completed the branding process. You have a new logo and your designer sent you all the logo file formats and your fonts. Maybe you even have a website created. You're thinking, "Great, I'm ready to launch my business!" But do you have a brand style guide? A brand style guide is a blueprint of your brand. The guide is a document that specifies your primary logo, alternative logos, colors, fonts, images and patterns that make your brand. Having a brand style guide will keep your branding consistent. It can act as a quick reference guide for you and designers alike. I'll show you how I create brand style guides for my clients plus an example of Red Lantern Creative's guide for all the visual learners out there.


What's In A Brand Style Guide?


When creating a brand style guide for my clients I have a page for each item. The first item is their primary logo. On the next two pages are the logo variations. Following their logos are the color, font, photo and pattern pages. Let's take a deeper look at each page.

 

Primary Logo

The primary logo is the logo that my clients will use on their business stationery and website. It is their main logo. I show them two options on how to use the logo.

1. Black and White version
2. Color version

 

Logo Variations

Variation 2 is the second option of their logo. This logo is not to be used on business stationery or their website. This logo is created as a horizontal or vertical option to the original logo. Sometimes the second version might look better on certain types of collateral over the primary logo. They are given two options on how to use this logo as well.

1. Black and White version
2. Color version

Variation 3 is used on smaller items such as social media profiles or favicons. If the text becomes to small to read, cut off or too blurry this is the logo to use. Those Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest profile images are pretty small. Typically the primary logo won't look good. Again they are given two options for this version.

1. Black and White version
2. Color version

 

Color

My favorite and most used page on the brand style guide is the color page. It specifies my clients primary and secondary brand colors. Never should they guess what colors are used in their logo or for their brand. I show a thumbnail of their colors and the corresponding color values, i.e. RGB (used for web), CMYK (used for print) and Hexadecimal values. The page is laid out with the main brand colors first and the secondary colors second. The main colors are used on their business stationery and website. Secondary colors can be used for blog images and social media images.

 

Fonts

Another very important page is the font page. Keeping your font consistent on all of your print and digital designs is key to cohesive branding. I layout the fonts used in the left-hand column and write the use for each font on the right-hand column. I suggest having two to three fonts for your brand.

 

Photos

You won't realize how important this page is until you have it. The easiest way to steer away from you brand style is through images. If you specify how your images should look then you are far more likely to stay on course. If you decide that your images should be black and white stick to it. Or if your images should be bright and bold don't use soft light images. Clearly defining the look of images associated with your brand is crucial for your branding.

 

Patterns

I always suggest having at least one pattern for your brand. You don't have to use this pattern everywhere. Some clients like to use their pattern on business stationery, others on web buttons. It's can be a small touch that adds a little kick to your branding.


A Brand Style Guide Example


Here's my brand style guide for you to reference. Along with my logo files it's one of the most important pieces of business collateral that I have for my company.

Brand Style Guide Example

Are you in need of a brand style guide? Does your guide go into more detail? I'd love to hear what you think!