A Comprehensive Branding Style Guidelines for Businesses
A brand style guide for businesses is an important document.
It is a rule book that consists of clear instructions on how to present a brand to the public. It encompasses everything from a brand’s mission and vision to the handling of its more tangible branding elements, such as logo design or packaging.
While the relationship between consistency and brand recognition is well-established, what goes behind the scenes to achieve this consistency is our topic of discussion today.
Brands that enjoy spacious budgets can hire top talent to handle their branding, which includes constructing a branding guide. But creating a basic brand style guide is a fairly simple procedure, and today website maintenance agency will prove it. Creating of brand style guide for business uncomplicated and only requires your deep and thorough understanding of your brand.
Why is a brand style guide for businesses important?
A branding guide or a brand style guide for businesses informs and communicates the brand’s larger design approach and the growth strategy behind it to the wider world.
It helps the various teams within the business stay on the same page regarding the presentation of the brand.
It allows the public to present your brand according to the guidelines you’ve specified.
It allows you to control the visual and perceptual narrative of your brand and keep it align with the brand vision.
It sets the stage for brand experience and tells people exactly what to expect from your brand.
It lets you tell your brand story the exact way that you want.
What should a brand style guide include?
A branding style guide for business can be as minimal or as comprehensive as you want it. Netflix has a pretty basic branding style guidelines and Spotify has an extensive, thorough one. But both are fine. As long as your branding book covers the critical areas of your brand identity and remains true to your brand, the depth or length of it doesn’t matter.
Below, we outline 5 vital elements that all brand style guides must cover. If you want to include more than these 5, that’s up to you and your brand. Do what makes sense for your business.
Now, let’s look at each of these branding elements and see how your branding style guide should cover them.
The Brand Mission
The Brand Mission is the part that shares the philosophy behind the birth of your brand. Why did you start this business? What are your expectations from this brand? What do you hope to achieve through it? When you layout your brand mission in your branding style guide, it tells people a little bit of the background behind your design decisions and your larger strategy.
You can be as detailed or as succinct in your brand mission as you like. Just make sure to remain true to the brand spirit and its purpose.
This part is not only important for your external consumers, but your internal teams as well, as they can be your biggest brand ambassadors. Your brand mission is a place where they can feel connected to the brand and relate to it on a deeper level.
To make sure that your audience can recognize your logo in a sea of dozens of others, it has to be presented consistently at all times. Same layout, same colors, same font, same composition, and same ratio. The more consistent it is, the quicker and better people will recognize and recall it. That's why logo is important.
Therefore, your branding style guide should lay out the specifications for your logo. Guidelines for your logo includes:
The main logo will accompany all official communications by the brand. In Netflix’s example, the primary logo is the wordmark ‘Netflix’.
A version of your primary logo that’ll replace the primary logo when there’s an issue of space or when the situation demands it. With Netflix, it’s the ‘N’ signal that’s the secondary logo.
Size of the Logo:
Specify the minimum and maximum size limits for your logo. Mention the proportions and ratios. For example, if there is white space in your logo, lay down the ratio of your logo shape and white space, to ensure your logo is of consistent proportion no matter the size.
Color of the Logo:
Colors are critical when it comes to associating means and associations to the logo. Describe the colors in your logo and add the relevant codes, so there are no mistakes when replicating the mark. Also, specify the use of the colored versions of the logo. For example, using the logo in Pride colors to mark Pride month.
Mention the logo variations that you do not approve of. For example, if you do not want your logo to be laid out vertically, state that. Include images to clarify your instructions.
This part of the branding style guide deals with the brand color palette that will be showcased across various brand assets. These include website, social media, image containers, fonts, packaging, pamphlet design, and more.
When choosing colors, make sure you keep accessibility in mind. An accessible color palette on website and other brand platforms will ensure that your brand is visible and consistent to people who probably cannot see all the colors.
To ensure consistency in your color palette and to make accurate reproduction easy, always include relevant codes with each color. Include your brand color swatches in the guide and lay out their relevant codes in CYMK, RGB, and HEX models. This will ensure that the correct brand colors are used on all mediums, from print to digital.
Image: Urban Outfitters
Your brand style guide also needs a dedicated section on typography. The typographical system you choose for your brand may include multiple fonts in various styles and sizes. In the guide, lay down the intended use of each and your recommended specifications.
For example, if you want your teams to always use a particular font in a certain size for heading tags on the site content, this information belongs to the branding guide. If you want a different colored font for the CTA buttons, lay it down too. If you want to specify different fonts for different communication channels, that’s fine too. Just state it clearly in the branding guide.
The typeface usage section of your branding guide will also include instructions on formatting, alignment, and display style.
Images & Other Visuals
This section on visuals and imagery will include your rules on what kind of images and illustrations you allow on your website, social media, and other mediums.
Make it as visually clear as you can. Include examples from your mood board, your website, and even inspirations you’ve found elsewhere. State the exact backgrounds you want for your images. Talk about composition, lighting, orientation, and every other detail.
Being thorough will not only save time on repeated approvals but will ensure that every time a picture is upload on your brand’s digital media or printed for your physical store, it follows the same rules of design and photography that you’ve laid out in the brand style guide for business.
Voice & Tone
This part of the guide is concerned with your text content. The way you talk to your customers, the words you use, the tone you employ, even the punctuation and grammar have bearing on brand perception.
To get it right every time and to create a standard for your brand, consistency is required.
Brands have an intrinsic understanding of what their brand voice is like. Are they quirky or serious? Do they prefer a contemporary language or want to appear more professional? Choice of words, phrasing, and what you say, all of it matters.
In your brand style guide for business, you can show a list of words that you like, just as Skype has done, or you can be more detailed and mention guidelines about grammar, punctuation, sentence length, adjectives illustrating the tone of voice, and so on.
Remember that, perhaps more than anything, it’s your brand voice that will communicate your brand personality the best. Make sure you approach it with utmost clarity.
Everywhere your brand makes an appearance it needs to consistently communicate the same image, the same tone, and the same voice – over and over again.
This precision and consistency are achieved through discipline and communication. A brand style guide for businesses is a document to lay out the rules about your brand representation. What you approve of and what you don’t. The intent behind your decision. The background story.
You can be as concise or as detailed as you want, just remain true to your brand and leave no room for confusion.