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What is a brand style guide?
As a brand identity agency we hold style guides as sacred, this book explains how a brand presents itself through its logo, font and colour selections, photography, and so much more. It’s a reference tool that helps maintain the brand look, feel, and voice consistency. It’s so powerful that some people even call it a brand bible.
A style guide ensures that your brand looks and feels the same, even with different teams working on marketing, design, packaging, and sales materials.
Why are brand guidelines important?
Consider your brand identity as your company’s personality. It’s how the outside world recognizes you and interacts with you. A brand aims to become familiar, to become a trusted friend that people what to have around. A guide is essential because it helps your business communicate consistently across all channels and touchpoints. A guide that is open to interpretation and inconsistency can damage a brand.
What are the critical components of brand identity?
Before creating a style guide, you need to know your brand inside-out. There are six key components: mission, vision, target audience, brand personality, core values and brand story. Together, these are the most essential things needed to establish your brand positioning and identity because they tell the world what you stand for.
All the other parts of your brand style guide are tangible elements that communicate those key components graphically to the world through design.
These six pillars must be communicated effectively to everyone who needs to use them – creatives, suppliers, and marketeers alike.
Mission and vision: Write a mission statement about why your company exists and a vision statement about your brand’s direction. Sometimes these can be big, “we will change the world”, or minor, “we help solve a problem”. Whatever this statement is, make sure it’s honest and authentic to your brand!
Target audience: Outline who your customers are, your target audience or demographic, and why they need you – how does your brand fit into their lives. Market research can assist you at this point, gaining insights to help your team communicate more effectively to your customers.
Personality: Try and work out who you are. How will your brand dress, how will it talk, and what will its mannerisms be? This helps set the tone for design and copy. Make a short list of adjectives that describe your brand. It can also be helpful to list a few adjectives that your brand is not; it’s a great place to start.
Values: Determine the guiding principles for company decisions and actions. Memorable values will make it easy for your team to stay on-brand and focused.
Story: A brand story is a narrative that expresses the thoughts and feelings behind the inception of your brand. The story should encompass your brand’s history, purpose, and values and communicate it with emotion and empathy to connect with people – building a brand that they care about and want to buy into.
Getting your brand defined will ensure that everyone understands your ambitions and goals. Only then do you get into specifics about logos, fonts, colours etc. We’ll cover best practices for creating brand assets in part 2. This ground-up approach will establish the building blocks to help create a successful brand.
Let’s talk if you’d like to know more about how Wow Me can help you make your brand successful by building a great style guide. Wow Me Design offers bespoke brand creation services, creating brands people want. We would love to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org