I'm Stephanie, brand and website designer with a love for helping women build their dream business. I'm here to help you get get that custom look for your business - without the custom price.
A brand style guide is created as a blueprint for the visual aspects of a brand. It’s a simple tool that will ensure your branding remains consistent creating a memorable and trustworthy brand.
One of the things I like to do for the entrepreneurs and small businesses I work with on custom brand and web design projects is to create a brand style guide for both their website and their marketing.
Depending on your business type and needs, you may have some different elements to consider for your own brand style guide, but here’s what I recommend including as a basic starting point for your brand guidelines:
Your main logo is the main identifying factor in your branding. From there, we have the alternate logos and other variations (which we will get to), but this is the one that will be used the most and will be the one used in the header of your website.
Alternate logos are variations of your main logo. It uses elements from your main logo, arranged is a different way, allowing more flexibility to use your logo in different settings. There will be situations where spacing or colour is limited for your logo, so it’s great to have an alternative one on hand.
Submarks (or watermarks) are the most simplified, compact version of your logo. It usually consists of an icon or initials that can stand alone and still represent your main logo. These are great to use as favicons or watermarks on images.
These are the colours that represent your brand. Each colour should play a certain role in the palette and should evoke certain emotions within your audience.
A general rule is to have no more than 6 brand colours for your brand. However, you can also have lighter and/or darker options for each main colour. When choosing your brand colours you’ll want to document and save your colour codes which are the specific codes that represent each colour. Each colour will have RGB (used for digital), CMYK (used for print), and Hex codes (alpha-numerical code representing the colour).
Fonts are a key element of your branding. The fonts you choose to represent your brand should be intentionally selected to reflect your brand identity and how you’d like to be perceived by your clients. There is a lot to think about when choosing your brand fonts, but that’s an article for another day. However, you will typically have about 3 core fonts (but can have more or less):
Remember, these are not hard and fast rules. Use what works for your brand, just try to keep it simple and cohesive. Don’t go overboard with too many different fonts and styles.
Favicons are the little icons displayed in the web browsers address bar associated with the brand’s URL.
Because these are so small (can only be a max size of 64 x 64 pixels), favicons are usually a simple letter, icon, image, or small submark.
These are different textures and patterns that work well to represent your brand and keep your branding from feeling flat. You can use patterns and textures in your brand collateral, on your website, and on your social media profiles! These are usually fun elements that allow you to further visually display your brand and incorporate some of your brands accent colors. Think, background patterns, icons, etc.
Inspiration, or mood boards, are a collage of images that create a visual representation of the moods and tones that your brand is trying to encompass. Your inspiration board should reflect the look and feel that your trying to create for your brand and business This also helps create consistency by being able to refer back to what inspired the visual side of your brand.
Another item to include on your brand style guide is your brand voice – words and phrases that your audience will recognize as you. When creating your brand, establishing the tone of voice used in your branding can be one of the more complicated and lengthy processes. Keeping your brand voice consistent is key to creating a memorable, trustworthy brand and to keep your Ideal Clients from being confused.
One last thing to keep close is your brand’s mission statement. You always need to keep checking in with your why and your who. If you notice that these have changed, then the rest of your branding may not be working to attract the right people.
With your brand style guide in hand your brand should remain consistent, allowing you to make that meaningful connection with your Ideal Client.
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