How To Create A Basic Brand Style Guide For Your Business
So you have a logo that was previously designed, but you've since come to your senses and know it won't cut it as a complete brand. Logos are a whole process on their own, but once you already have one designed you just need to create the rest of a brand style guide. It's easier than you might think to figure out the dos and don'ts for your brand, here's what you'll need to do:
Section 1: Logo Guidelines
This page should include your primary logo and any secondary logos (variations for square sized boxes, colored backgrounds, etc). You'll want to show how your logo displays in different shapes, on different backgrounds, and most importantly, how your logo will never be displayed. Examples of "don't"s could include tilting the logo, changing it's color to a non-brand color, changing the fonts, etc. This is also a page where you can show email signatures, document styles, or other common uses of your logo and brand graphics. This lets your future self and employees know how to use (and not abuse) your designs.
Section 2: Color Palette (& Textures)
In this section you can lay out the color palette and any applicable textures for your brand. Have not only a swatch of the color but also the hex # or RGB code for the color so that you're able to have other people replicate your colors without using software, a website, or just eyeballing them. If you use any recurring textures or background gradients for your brand, this is also the place to put examples of those!
Section 3: Fonts
The fun part! Put your fonts here, in every weight (light, medium, semibold, bold) you use them. Do you use all caps or both caps and lowercase? Every letter in every font variation should be on this page (usually there aren't more than 2 font families, and if there are... you may want to reconsider).
Section 4: Document + Web Font Styles
In this section you can put your font styles for web or documents. This means you write the font size and weight (and caps) variation you use for things like headers, sub-headers, body text, quotes, buttons, etc. When you work with a web designer or DIY your site, your fonts will be ready to go, and these font styles will also come in handy when creating print marketing materials (brochures, flyers, etc), styled PDF documents, and even email signatures.
Section 5: Illustration + Image Styles
For the final section you'll want to include the styles of illustration and/or photography that you use in your branding. Are your photos bright and airy or dark and moody? Do you use vivid pops of color or mostly neutrals? Do you include hand-drawn elements or digital illustrations? Make sure you include plenty of examples that clearly display your image styles so that someone who is unfamiliar with your brand could easily select images to match. It'll narrow down your visual brand and make Instagram a breeze!
With a few easy steps you can see it's easy to craft your brand's unique style and keep it documented for future use. Having a brand style guide makes it super easy to make new graphics and keep your visuals streamlined for a more cohesive visual presence.
Need a hand? Join our community to access our customizable Brand Style Guide template and other helpful resources!