The Importance of a Brand Style Guide
Updated: Mar 8, 2019
A brand guide (also known as a style guide or brand book) is a necessary tool for every company of any size. It is a key document that defines how to use your logo, colors, and tagline, including examples of how not to use these brand elements and keeps your brand clean and consistent.
How long should my brand guide be?
Your brand guide can range anywhere from one page to dozens of pages, as long as it communicates the key rules for YOUR brand. Some companies only need to show the logo usage over color vs black & white, placement, size, and exact color codes, while other, larger companies (like Walmart) need a more robust brand guide that defines the brand voice, typography, imagery, iconography, wordmark and more. And of course, your business might land somewhere in the middle. But one thing is for sure. EVERY company needs a brand guide in some form.
What goes in a brand guide?
Some brand guides only need a few things, and others need more. Here is a list of essential brand guide elements:
Size & Placement
Brand Color Codes
Size & Placement
Bad Use Cases
How not to stretch or place the logo, what colors shouldn’t be used together, etc.
Other things that might be included in a brand guide:
Size & Placement
Logomark vs Full Logo
Core Identity Statement
Who uses the brand guide?
Your brand style guide is what helps people outside your company (and even inside) maintain a cohesive brand across all materials and writing. It should be given to every subcontractor you hire (like graphic designers, printers, copywriters, etc.) so that they understand and maintain your brand in any materials they create. Your brand guide can also be used to onboard new employees who will be working with your brand elements every day, ensuring consistency on projects that may be cross-departmental.
How often should I update my brand guide?
Your brand guide should be updated every time you make a change (even a tiny change) to your logo, colors, tagline or use cases. It’s also good practice to review it at least once a year, to make sure everything is still up-to-date and being used correctly. It can sometimes be easy to let things slide, and reviewing your brand guide will make sure you maintain high standards for all your materials. And of course, anytime your business goes through a brand refresh, you'll need to redo your brand guide to match.
What impact does a brand style guide have on my company’s value?
Having a thorough brand guide means consistency across all your brand’s touch-points with current and potential customers. Having a consistent brand shows your customers that you are detail-oriented, and will carry that professionalism and reliability into your business with your customers. Having a brand style guide also makes your brand more recognizable, and lets you quickly distinguish yourself from the competition. You’ll be able to scale your business easily and efficiently when the time comes, freeing up time and resources for other important tasks.
A brand guide doesn't have to be a huge undertaking. Spending a couple of days determining best practices for your brand elements is all it takes to increase your brand's recognizability and value, contributing to your long-term strategy. If your business needs a brand guide and doesn't know where to start, contact us to talk about it!