What can a style guide do for your brand & business?
A style guide is a rule book that clearly defines your visual identity or aesthetic – the look – and may potentially even dive into the specifics of how to communicate your brand – the tone and personality. Together, they represent the unique feel that truly differentiates you from your competitors – AND keeps your customers engaged and coming back for more.
When style guides are followed and implemented consistently and effectively alongside other aspects of your culture and/or customer service, that’s where the magic and value of a tangible brand starts to happen!
What is a brand?
Many industry gurus will often share something around the sentiment of “a brand is what people say about your business when you’re not in the room.”
It’s everything someone might think and feel about your business/organization – be it based on actual experiences as a customer or based on perceptions only due to reviews, word of mouth, and/or other content consumed.
Either way, it’s EXTREMELY important to build your brand intentionally. Supporting it with a style guide is simply that extra step to document and share it out with the world officially.
Style guides are an extremely valuable tool for any business/organization. They provide consistency – especially if your look, copy, and more is handled by more than one person. They also provide a ton of clarity and eliminate a lot of simple questions when we dive into projects for existing brands/companies.
So what’s in a style guide?
The point of a style guide is to make it easy for your internal team and outside partners to know how to accurately represent your brand. The more detailed your style guide is, the easier it’s going to be for others to effectively use it.
Some assets typically included are:
- Logo: Primary, secondary, icons and acceptable/unacceptable usage
- Typography: Font styles, sizes and spacing
- Color Palette: Primary and secondary colors
- Visuals: Photos, illustration and artwork
- Layout Style Applications: Examples of completed pieces
To start expanding a visual style guide to something brand focused, consider adding the following:
- Mission, Vision and Values: What you’re all about
- Brand Positioning: What’s your niche?
- Brand Personality: How you present yourself, if your business where a person, how would you describe them?
- Tone: How you communicate – what language do you use and emotion do you aim to evoke
25 years and it’s time for a guide refresh!
We recently updated our style guide to reflect our brand and personality and most recently incorporated some of our 25th year celebration assets.
It’ll always be a work-in-progress. Sure, this may have something to do with the fact that our wisnet projects often get slotted AFTER client work… However, overall, brands inevitability evolve over time so it’s natural to continuously make updates and keep your guidelines fresh.
It’s fun to look back at how we’ve changed over the years. Take a peek at some past looks and updated pages of our Geeks & Creatives brand book: