Do I Really Need a Brand Style Guide?
If you’re launching a new online business or revamping your existing site, it can be tempting to jump straight in at the deep end without the necessary research and planning in place. Rushing through the process of a new website build with the goal to launch as quickly as possible is understandable. Faster is better, especially if we’re talking about generating income, right?
Unfortunately, no. From market research and competitor research to planning for worst-case scenarios, giving every step the attention it deserves is advisable. If you want to launch a successful venture, leaving no stone unturned is crucial. One of the most important areas, but frequently ignored, is the Brand Style Guide.
Yes. You really do.
Without a guide to manage the style and branding, how can you be sure that every visual element produced is consistent? On day one, this might seem like a simple task if you can manage every detail personally, but three years down the road, when your business has doubled, what then?
Imagine if you owned an estate agency but your ‘For Sale’ signs didn’t use your brand colours. What about a tacky wall mural in your cutting-edge office or a gothic font on the flyers for your new balloon shop? Consistency in style is crucial if you want to create a solid brand that people recognise. If you hired a new freelancer, would you have the time to talk through every element of your brand or would you simply hope for the best?
It’s important that everything is “on brand”. Whether it’s your marketing or web design team, it’s vital that everybody works together to create a project that visually works in harmony. From business cards and brochures to web design, everything must match. The simplest and most effective way to manage this challenge is with a Brand Style Guide.
What is in a Brand Style Guide?
Typically, the document can be anywhere from one to a dozen pages long, and covers all the different style and brand elements for your business. Constructing a brand style guide won’t take long, but it can save you countless hours of work and frustration in the future.
The basic elements include:
What fonts will you use? Give examples, and clarify details like the preferred sizes for specific placements, like headings. Also include information about styles, weights and alternative fonts.
Take the time to carefully lay out your brand colours. Include hex codes, and also the equivalent CMYK and even the Pantone colour values. Colours change when switched from web to print, and vice versa. Bear this in mind and test for both options before making the final decision about your brand’s colours.
What will your logo be? Are there different versions for different platforms or background colours? What is the minimum size? How much white space should it be surrounded by?
Will you be using a specific icon set or creating your own? Should a specific style be employed, such as a filter or black and white version?
Many Band Style Guides don’t cover an approach to content writing, but it can be helpful, especially if you want to create a brand with lots of personality. Are there any specific phrases you’d prefer to avoid? Should the copy feel exciting, professional, or serene perhaps?
You may also want your Brand Style Guide to include your brand vision, web-specific elements, social media guidelines or marketing material guidelines – there are lots of areas you could cover. Review the different components of your business and decide which elements you need to incorporate.
Can we help?
If you’re launching a new website or bringing your current site up to scratch, Bing Digital can help. We understand the important of Brand Style Guides, and can take you through the process from start to finish. For more information, take a closer look at our brand development services or get in touch today.