How to Design Your Brand Style Guide

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If you're one of the many that has been struggling with the design portion of getting your blog set up ... you'll really benefit from today's post about how to design your brand style guide.

I'm someone who will get lost on Pinterest, scrolling through all the brand style guides. They're beyond drooooool worthy. Like damn, some of these are beautiful.

But if you're not a designer, you might just be overwhelmed by the process. What the heck is it? Why do I need one? How much (or how little) am I supposed to include in this thing?!

For my clients ... I always tailor it to them and their needs. Some of them might need something detailed to keep them on track while others will do better with just basics to avoid overwhelm in maintaining cohesiveness with their brand.

In today's blog post, I'm going to cover the most basic brand style guide. On Pinterest, you'll typically see a 1-page style guide - this is the most basic form of one, while large companies will get more detailed with a complete PDF guide of the rules when it comes to their branding.

Having a style guide can give you something to refer back to so that you maintain consistency and cohesiveness. It keeps you on track to make sure you don't create anything that is off brand and confuses your audience.

Let's get to it ... shall we?


What a brand style guide is


I slightly covered this but I want to go more into what the brand style guide is and what it will do for your business or blog. What it does for you is outlines the brand visuals that define your business. Your guide should include how these are used on your site, packaging, and marketing materials (such as PDF downloads or flyers).

A brand style guide can truly be as simple or as detailed as you want it. It can include when to use certain logos, where particular colors are or are not acceptable, and even what tone or style of copy you will use. For most bloggers and virtual assistants, a simple style guide does the job with the primary logo, submarks, colors, fonts, and inspirational elements.

You'll find bigger companies that contract designers, copywriters, social media assistants, etc will be the ones to have something more detailed to be sure that everyone is on the same page in terms of their branding and nothing is done to sacrifice the reputation of the company. 

benefits to having a brand style guide for your business

As a solopreneur, you wear a shit ton of different hats - social media manager, copywriter, designer, marketing strategist, bookkeeper, and a whole heck of a lot more. The last thing you'd want to do is try and remember everything going on with your brand. This is where the brand style guide can come to play - it outlines all the details for you to easily refer back to.

And more importantly - if you decide to hire a designer or copywriter, there will be no doubt how they should create deliverables for your business. Everyone will be on the same page and able to create elements that are reputable to your brand.

It just makes things easier, yo.


What to include in your brand style guide


Now, you can choose to include whatever you like, but for the sake of this post, I am going to keep it simple. You can include buttons, social media marks, blog post templates, downloadable freebie templates, and so many other things. You can include different rules and styles, or even what words are or are not acceptable in your copy.

I will be creating content that goes over each element more in depth, but let's lightly touch on them.

main logo

This is the logo you will use the most across your site and other areas of your business. It's the main element of your brand style guide. You want to design something that is effective in attracting your ideal audience and turning them into buyers.

alternate logo / submarks

The alternate logo and submarks I feel are often overlooked or not looked at as something important. Submarks are what are used as a favicon, avatar, or display images. They're also oftentimes used as markings on images, business cards, and other areas where the main logo is not appropriate. They are usually a differently arranged version of the main logo.

font choices

With font choices, you can keep this as simple or detailed as you choose. You can simple write out 2-3 fonts for your brand and what all the characters look like. You can also choose to display WHEN each font will be used (for titles, subheadings, body text, etc.)

brand colors

Much like the font choices, brand colors are a select few that are seen across your brand. They're picked with intention to attract your audience and turn them into buyers. They can also have rules such as what color to use in headings, backgrounds, buttons, and more.

inspiration elements

The inspiration elements help to keep you on track with your brand - it reminds you of the overall feel and tone of your brand. These are usually pulled from a mood board that was created early on in the design process.

 

That covers the basics! You can choose to expand on these to really iron out the details of keeping your brand consistent and cohesive across all platforms and maintaining the reputation of your brand.


 

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