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Beyond Branding: The Need for Brand Style Guides
Your brand is what defines you as a company. It’s the culmination of what you do, what you stand for, the people you have on your team, and the tone in which you communicate your message.
Frequently, companies (large and small) contact us inquiring about branding services. They may request a logo redesign and other suggestions to improve their brand’s visibility. While branding is undoubtedly an important element, other assets are essential in building a corporate identity.
Corporate identity is a subset of branding, because your logo, fonts, and colors are all parts of the visual expression of your brand. They are living, evolving sets of instructions that creators use as a baseline to interact with your brand. Your corporate identity design includes the logo, brand assets, and a brand style guide for your business. A logo is your mascot, the piece of your brand image that the public will see first and can relate back to your business. Your brand assets include your logo, letterheads, business cards, and brochures.
With this in mind, it is essential to have a brand style guide for your business. A brand style guide is a list of guidelines for using your brand assets.
What is a brand style guide?
A brand style guide is a framework for your brand identity. Brand style guides contain the basic elements, rules, and considerations that companies of all sizes (including sole proprietorships) put in place to establish a consistent presence across various channels.
A brand style guide is an essential document that signifies how to use your company’s logos, style colors, and typography to maintain a consistent image. It is a vital tool in crafting a cohesive, memorable message about your business. A brand style guide gives your content creators, employees, and franchisees a specific standard to support your brand.
Brand style guides are valuable for both small businesses and organizations with multiple locations or franchises. A small business must stay constant with its brand messaging for prospective customers trust them. When a small company continually uses the same look, style, and feel, a customer understands the businesses brand identity, and trusts the same quality of service each time.
Larger businesses with multiple locations must follow their brand style guide for every location, so customers understand they will receive the same level of service at each one, which informs stronger trust in your brand.
Just recently, we worked with a health and wellness company that experienced rapid internal growth and franchised expansion. With over 100 franchises in multiple states, many offices were using different variations of the logo, diverse fonts, colors, and websites. The company lacked logo and consistency which confused the brand.
Our brand specialists produced a comprehensive branding strategy for the company complete with corporate identity package, brand assets, and a detailed brand style guide. Each office was able to implement the brand style guide seamlessly, aligning the franchises to form a cohesive brand image.
Why every business would benefit from a brand style guide
Brand style guides support your marketing initiatives, providing messages relevant to your brand goals. This guide creates a cohesive story for your brand distinguishing you from your competition, produces brand engagement and builds trust through consistency.
A brand style guide plans out each layer of your corporate identity and solidifies a standard that many business owners do not consider, like typefaces. Typefaces can vary between titles and bodies, and change from web to print, but each must be consistent with your content to develop your brand style. A brand style specialist can help build a style to follow, then create a guide to maintain consistency. Brand style guides are not exclusively for print design. Your brand’s style guide should now consider web-based applications like icons, avatars, grids, banners, online ads, social media imagery, and many others.
Since a style guide defines the strategies for maintaining a brand’s identity, it is imperative to spend the time and resources to get it right.
If you are still interested in the specifics of brand style guides, check out our brand style guide page!