What are brand style guides?
A brand style guide defines the acceptable uses of your logo, your brand’s color palette, font choices, photography style, and the tone of your message.
By setting standards for the proper use of your logo and supporting graphics, your brand will stand out from those that are not as careful.
People see before they read, so make sure when they see you that you are recognizable!
What should be included?
A brand guide is not a static document. It’s a document that will grow as your organization grows and your advertising sophistication expands. At a minimum, you should have your colors, fonts, copy tone, and all visuals defined in the guide.
Additionally, you may have your brand promise or mission statement, brand values, brand attributes, and plenty more in a brand guide.
Why create a brand promise?
Your brand promise clearly states why your brand exists and why it’s important to customers. Most importantly, it communicates the intentions of your brand’s mission and purpose.
Define your brand values.
Inevitably, there will be times when your brand need to handle a PR crisis or respond to cultural events. Your values are a guide that help avoid misconceptions about your brand, draft responses, and maintain employee satisfaction.
How do you use brand attributes?
Your attributes are like your brand’s personality traits. These are used to facilitate workplace culture, talent attraction, and, most importantly, your brand message.
We design a brand guide for every customer.
You’ll need a brand name, logo, and color ideas at the bare minimum. Expanding on that, you should also consider what your broader visual identity might look like, including photography, videography, brand applications in print materials, product packaging & labeling, and so on.
Lastly, you’ll want to ponder why your brand exists and its importance in customers’ lives. Think about what your business stands for, what you can authentically express, and how you can attract a community. Your thoughts on these topics will influence your brand promise, values, attributes, and more.
To torture you with, of course.
But really, it’s all about consistency, consistency, consistency. Oh, and more consistency. If you agree that branding is the act of consistently delivering a unique experience, then something must direct that delivery. A brand style guide provides the rules for how your brand is presented visually and in your marketing message.
Whether you’re sponsoring an event, printing business cards, running an ad campaign, designing a trade show booth, or taking on any other marketing activity, a style guide ensures you stay “on-brand.”
Following a style guide is quite literally what people mean when they use the word branding. So, the most useful aspect of having and following a guide is that it gives rise to a brand.
And when you have a brand, you have something superior to a commodity. You can charge more for your product or services, your team will work more efficiently, you’ll attract new strategic partnerships, and you can build a community around your business.
In other words, you’ll increase revenue and profitability. Doesn’t that sound pretty useful?
You can’t expect a graphic designer to produce great work without a brand guide. Not consistently great work, at least. Aside from the basic utility of knowing what colors, fonts, and logos are appropriate, designers and marketers rely on a brand guide to understand what look, feel, and tone they must express.
The cost of a brand guide can be all over the map. Some brand guides are seven pages. Others, like a major corporation, can be hundreds of pages. So, depending on the complexity of your brand, the sophistication of your advertising placements, layers of approval, and so on, brand guides can start at $750-1,000 and increase greatly from there.
We like to think we’re fair, so don’t be shy. We have no issue talking budget.
Just like costs, this can vary a ton. We’ve completed brand guides in as little as 2-3 weeks. But more complex brands that have both digital and offline marketing tactics in place are going to demand more time to standardize.
Sometimes. We’re not in the business of redesigning logos unless we really need to or we’re specifically asked to. Most of the time, we can take your existing logo and expand the brand guide as needed.
Other times, unfortunately, we have to rework logo colors or bring the logo more in alignment with the current state of the business. And in very rare cases, we recommend scrapping the logo and brand identity entirely to start from scratch. We do our best to avoid this scenario, though.
Regardless, we’ll take care of it, and it’s not as painful as it may sound.