So, what is a brand style guide?
A brand style guide is an invaluable document that outlines the visual and verbal elements of your brand, ensuring consistency across all marketing materials. Having a comprehensive brand style guide can save you time and money when producing marketing materials as well as ensuring that everyone is on the same page about who you are and what matters to you.
The first step is self-discovery
Start by clearly defining your brand’s mission, values, personality, and target audience. This will provide the foundation for all your brand elements. Incorporate the story of your brand, from your humble beginnings to where you aspire to be in 10 years.
Your logo is a key brand asset and it’s important to outline the correct way to use it. Include guidelines for your logo usage, such as proper placement, size, clear space, and variations (if applicable). Specify colour options and provide examples of how not to use the logo as well.
Your brand colours need to be consistent – close enough just won’t do. Define the primary and secondary colours that represent your brand. Include colour codes (RGB, CMYK, HEX) and provide examples of colour usage for different purposes (e.g., backgrounds, text, accents).
When choosing pictures and illustrations for your brand, they must fit in with the overall brand image. Determine the style and tone of imagery that aligns with your brand and include examples of approved images or photography guidelines that demonstrate the desired aesthetic and composition.
You should also Identify and describe any specific graphic elements that are unique to your brand, such as patterns, icons, illustrations, or textures. Explain how and when to use these elements effectively.
Just my type
Choose and specify the primary and secondary fonts that reflect your brand’s personality. Include guidelines for font sizes, heading styles, and formatting for web pages, print materials, and presentations.
The write stuff
A good brand style guide isn’t just about looks. You need to cover your message as well. Establish guidelines for grammar, punctuation, capitalisation, and spelling specific to your brand. Ensure consistency in the usage of brand-specific terms or phrases as well.
Define the preferred voice and tone for your brand’s written content, providing examples of how your brand should communicate and interact with its audience, including tone guidelines for different platforms and scenarios.
Lead by example
Showcase examples of your brand elements applied consistently across various materials, such as business cards, social media posts, website mockups, and advertisements. This helps clarify how the brand should be presented in different contexts. You should also provide guidelines on how your brand style guide should be used and distributed within your organisation. Explain the importance of maintaining consistency and encourage team members to refer to the style guide regularly.
Remember to update your brand style guide as your brand evolves or new elements are introduced. Consistently enforcing the guidelines within your organisation will help create a strong and recognisable brand identity across all touchpoints.
Not sure where to begin? Toast can help. We’ve been helping brands to find their voice for over 25 years.