No matter what type of company you have, a style guide should be an important part of your branding. A business is most effective when it has a well-crafted brand. In this way, brands are most effective with a detailed style guide. By setting standards and expectations, style guides show a company how to create their identity and consistently communicate it.
What is a Style Guide?
A style guide is a formal document that provides a detailed explanation of the design choices relating to the brand and how those elements work together to communicate the brand’s identity. Essentially, a style guide is a road map for how your marketing materials should be used and how your brand should be communicated. Style guides are used to establish a direction for the company to follow so that the brand stays consistent.
The length of a style guide can be as short as a few pages, but it varies drastically depending on the brand’s needs. While each style guide is unique in its own way, there are a few key items that should be included. Most guides begin with a purpose of standards statement which is a crucial component since it notes the reason for the style guide and sheds some light on the brand’s identity. This helps a brand maintain consistent representation across all content.
A logo is one of the most important parts of a style guide. A description should be included that describes the logo, the exact colors, and the font that was used. Logos are often used for different purposes, and the style guide meets this need by offering several versions of a logo and describing how each version should be used. There is usually a black and white version along with a few colored variants in different sizes and styles. Logo colors will be defined with specific color values. There should also be a page of incorrect usages of the logo so that the brand is clearly communicated. Another important aspect of a style guide is the typography that can be used for promotional materials. Usually, a style guide needs two to three fonts for body text and headlines.
A company might want to include other things that relate to the brand that are not essential to every business. For example, a large company might want to include certain words that give a clear vision of the brand or resonate in the audience’s mind. Legal guidelines could also be included to thoroughly explain the brand’s identity and ensure everyone is on the same page. If a style guide isn’t perfect the first time, it can easily be modified to incorporate more information or eliminate something that no longer reflects the identity of that brand.
What are the Benefits?
A style guide is the key to creating a brand that is consistent and ultimately more memorable. Without a style guide, the brand could be misrepresented or miscommunicated. Because language is often vague and ambiguous, confusion can arise when design choices are being communicated. For example, if someone had told you a logo was blue and red you most likely would not think of the exact shade of blue and red. A style guide solves this problem by indicating the specific colors that are supposed to be used.
A style guide is necessary for internal use, especially for a large company with hundreds of employees. Oftentimes, employees will use a brand’s logo in their email signature, so it is important they use it in the correct way. In terms of external use, a style guide is just as crucial because other people might not understand how the brand should be presented. Having a specific set of guidelines could help prevent mistakes, such as printing errors, that could be costly for a brand.
How We Can Help
Auburn Advertising is a public resource made available by Inner Spark Creative that strives to equip the businesses of Auburn with tools to improve their marketing strategies. At Inner Spark Creative, we know that a style guide is a fundamental element of a brand that helps create a cohesive identity. We will work with you to build a brand that resonates with your audience and design a style guide that will effectively communicate your company’s identity.