This is absolutely the most useful branding document any business should have. Bar none. A Brand Style Guide provides the first stop go-to advice for brand use. As you might have noticed I’m a huge fan of this style guide as it is packed full of useful advice with a clear, consistent and concise presentation of the brand you love. Yours.
As you look through it generates the sort of excitement and buzz that you had when you first conceived of your business. It should do, as it represents elegantly and stylishly in visual form, what your business is all about. So getting this right establishes that important connection between your vision and passion as a business owner and your market. That’s a hugely important statement right there that can easily be overlooked when it comes to branding. To clarify, It’s not just about you as the business owner. Remember you are providing a product or service to others and if they aren’t the focus then your business won’t last long.
Branding is as much, if not more about communicating to your market, than it is about your personal preferences. The more you can get into the head and heart of your target market the more likely you are to create and own branding you absolutely love.
What’s in a typical Brand Style Guide?
To give you an idea of what is included in a full branding guide, here’s the contents list for my own brand.
One of the first things you’ll notice is the colours and typeface should be familiar as they’re the same as my site. I’m repeating myself but consistency is important. The more you get into this, the more you realise any old blue isn’t good enough, it needs to be RGB 18,36,90 or HEX #12245a. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about then I can recommend a really great brand guide that includes that information!
Let’s quickly take a tour through the contents and why they’re important and useful to you.
The Brand Style Guide Overview
The guide begins with a Brand Overview which provides the context and purpose of the branding. It says a bit about the thinking behind the brand choices and because I know you can’t wait, a quick overview of the branding. This gives you your first look at the brand colours, logo, typeface and patterns together in all their glory.
Logo and Sub Marks
From here the guide dives into your logo and sub-marks which are a smaller styling of your brand identity. This is important because getting all this thought about in advance stops you cramming your logo into an inappropriately sized space, or just tearing your hair out trying to figure out how to use it. Having versatile brand marks that work, sets you apart as a professional brand.
If you enjoy creating resources for your brand, then you’ll have your pick of a range of complementary graphical elements to indulge your creative urge. Think ‘all you can eat buffet’ where everything goes with everything. Just don’t try and get everything on one plate however. If on the other hand you have enough to do already, your VA or web-designer will thank you for making their life easier and you’ll get a speedier on brand response. Win, win.
Typefaces, Colours and Patterns
The later sections go into brand essentials beyond the logo. We’re talking typefaces, colour and patterns. These all need thinking about primarily in terms of communicating to your market. This is sometimes a challenge for business owners because letting go of ownership of their product or service is hard. It is however essential to prioritise that connection with your brand audience.
Branding services are most successful with businesses that have a clear understanding of what they are about and who they are aiming to reach.
Often-times that doesn’t come until you have been trading for a while. Which is why investing in your brand becomes an important barrier to taking your business to the next level.
Expanding your branding style identity
These later sections also optionally include expanded elements of your brand. For instance sample web layouts, social media post templates and custom icons or illustration. If you connect to your market digitally (and who doesn’t) then this is not be overlooked. Depending on exactly where you’re digitally active and your confidence creating posting material, I can also provide Illustrator templates. These come with full instructions and graphical elements you can put together yourself. Unique icons, bespoke patterns and textural elements additionally provide you with a compendium of consistent and cohesive branding you can be proud of.
This really is the go-to guide for maintaining and growing a brand identity in the midst of our everyday business activity. So don’t make this stuff up as you go along. You don’t have time for that, when you could be investing in what you do best. Growing your business.
Branding really does matter if you’re focussed on growing your business. You can see more in the value of branding article on smallbusiness.co.uk which also provides some insight into rebranding. If you’re sold that branding matters, you’re ready to take your business to the next level, so let’s work together.
What’s your experience of branding? Have you used a style guide before? How has it helped? Sharing is caring so please comment, share, like or pin.