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What is a brand style guide

What is a brand style guide?

And why would your organisation need one?

A brand style guide is a document that explains in detail how an organisation presents itself both internally and externally. It is a reference tool that helps maintain consistency by demonstrating what a brand looks, feels and sounds like.

A brand style guide ensures all materials and messages are relevant, cohesive, distinct and related to your brand’s goals. Cohesion is important because it helps establish a strong and authentic brand voice that resonates with your audience. This is essential for building brand awareness and trust in your brand.

What’s in a style guide?

The contents of a style guide vary depending on the needs of company. Some style guides run to hundreds of pages while others may be much briefer.

Here are some typical elements in a style guide.

1. Introduction – about the brand, vision, mission, personality, character

2. The Brand Identity

  1. The logo (or brandmark) – elements such as type and symbols, colours, layout variations, usage, sizing
  2. Typography used in materials – with style and hierarchy for layout
  3. Corporate colours – with specifications for use
  4. Secondary graphics – icons, symbols, graphics that will be used as part of the identity
  5. Any secondary logos – for sub-brands, business units etc. – with colours, visual elements and variations
  6. Taglines –where and how they are used

3. Writing guidelines – tone of voice, style, personality, grammar

  1. Informal applications – eg: social media, ads
  2. Formal applications – eg: letters, reports, tenders, etc.

4. Photography/imagery guidelines – types of images, treatment, style, content, locations, usages, how graphics are applied

  1. Informal applications – eg: social media, ads
  2. Formal applications – reports, tenders, etc.

5. Brand Applications

  1. Stationery & corporate documents
  2. Forms & templates
  3. Marketing materials – brochures, flyers etc.
  4. Technical, product or service information
  5. Packaging & product branding
  6. Advertising
  7. Digital – website, social media, email marketing
  8. Signage – internal and external
  9. Vehicles
  10. Uniforms
  11. Internal branding – employee materials, HR, manuals

Principles of good style guides

  1. They provide detail so that the guidelines can be understood and applied by anyone creating content or materials. This includes external suppliers such as signage contractors, printers, copywriters and web designers.
  2. They are based on final designs, typically that have been applied. Design concepts do not have the level of detail needed for a brand style guide.
  3. They are living documents which can be updated and modified for new applications or if a design or application doesn’t work as expected.

A brand style guide is essential for large organisations and organisations with teams in different locations.

Many organisations appoint a brand manager who is responsible for approving and/or overseeing application of the brand guidelines and for ensuring the style guide is updated when required.

The benefits of having a brand style guide?

Creating a brand style guide takes time, creativity and thinking. It can be a costly exercise but there are a lot of benefits to the business of having a style guide.

A style guide creates and defines the standards for internal and external corporate documents. It serves as a reference source and training tool for anyone who reads or writes documentation, which is to say, everyone. A style guide will provide many benefits to your company:

A style guide saves time by providing quick answers to questions that may arise while creating content or branded materials.

A style guide saves money and wastage by providing detailed information. It reduces the chance of something being produced that is not consistent with the brand – for example, signage or a large print run.

A style guide promotes consistency among documents throughout the organisation. This leads to fewer disagreements and less uncertainty about style and format and to less duplicated effort. This results in savings of both time and money.

A style guide promotes professionalism by providing employees with an opportunity to share their expertise and knowledge internally. Having a well branded company results in increased pride and confidence amongst staff along with a clearer understanding of the company culture. Consistent, professional application of your organisation’s brand results in external perceptions of professionalism, competence and authenticity.

Creating a brand style guide is an investment that makes good business sense.

Contact Kim if you want to discuss how Tangelo can help with creating a style guide for your business.


By Tangelo Creative on March 9, 2018 

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