So what is a style guide?
A style guide, or branding document, offers guidelines for the way your brand must be presented from both visual and language perspectives. The style guide is there to ensure that various contributors create cohesive and clear corporate style. This also ensures brand consistency –from writing to design.
Why is brand consistency important?
It allows your marketers to make your product stand out, deliver vital messaging, and foster loyalty by bringing trust in your business or product.
By establishing brand consistency, your marketers can determine customer perception starting from initial engagement all the way through their buying decision.
Consistency across marketing channels will ultimately boost brand recognition. Studies reveal that consumers perceive a brand as personification of the company –which then affects their buying behavior. Since we are creatures of habit, people are most likely to buy from brands they know. And when your company is consistent with branding, you've delivered and met the expectations of customers. This in turn fosters more trust in your brand and drives more customers, and the cycle goes on.
Visual Style Guide
This provides very specific instructions about how the visible elements of your brand should be used in all forms of your brand communication –from logos to business cards, signage to packaging, letterheads and everything in between.
The graphic style guide typically includes applications and variations of corporate color, design standards (in terms of look and feel), white space usage, font styles, sizes, line height, layout specifics on how elements are positioned on a page, and information on website navigation.
The major benefit of having a style guide for your organization is that it creates direction, clarity, and cohesion for all marketing decisions. It helps in the creation and upkeep of your company website, the look and voice of your social media accounts, blogs, and ads.
Editorial Style Guide
This provides specific rules around your company's voice (passive vs. active and first person vs. second or third), grammar conventions (abbreviations, words to avoid, spelling and slangs), and tone (formal or casual). Many companies follow a specific widely accepted style guide, such as Associated Press Stylebook, while others choose to build their own set of standards.
Your company voice is something that consumers recognize. The tone you're using across online, digital, content and email marketing demonstrates your brand personality.
A thorough style guide will define your company image –both from editorial and visual perspectives, which ensures a unified brand. Consistency across all corporate materials is essential.
This same consistency creates simplified and singular experience that consumers can expect every time they engage with your brand and/or organization. In the long run, this will boost brand recognition and build up future customers.
Whether you’re doing a startup or managing the marketing efforts in a large organization, a style guide can be both important and useful – but not vital.
Don’t believe the hype from your marketing consultant – while branding consistency is important, businesses do, and should, change.
For small-to-medium organisations, having a simple branding document to show what your logo and colours will look like across various platforms is all that’s needed!
Having a simple style guide like the one shown above can provide a picture to a new or re-branded organisation for the look and feel of your logo and colours.
Beach Websites offers logo design and branding advise for all companies. A simple branding document starts at just $1150, including a logo and business card design.