Brand Style Checklist | Expert Guide To Creating A Style Guide For Your Small Business Brand
Brand Style Checklist | A lot of business owners overlook the benefits of a brand style guide (also known as brand bible by some, or included as part of a brand bible) — a document that clearly defines a set of rules for how the marketing materials should look and feel, both online and off. Style guides can save you time, money, and tons of frustration down the road, making your marketing materials easier to set up and maintain.
Consistency is one of the most important things to keep in mind when your business brand is concerned. The look and feel of your marketing materials should be consistent with your website, social channel profiles, stationery items, and other branded content. Whether you’re building a brand new brand for a startup business, or you’re recreating a brand already established, focusing on a style guide can bring cohesiveness to the design elements throughout that brand, as well as the tone associated with the brand. So, do yourself a favor and write a style guide now; you’ll be able to save yourself a lot of time and frustration down the road. Let’s get started with some basics.
Logo | Brand Style Checklist
A logo is a great way for potential clients to recognize and remember your brand. If you don’t have a logo, consider making hiring a professional to design one and using it across all your communications. You should also specify how much white space needs to surround the logo so that it doesn’t lose its effect. Specify whether the logo can be displayed in various colors (particularly if it can be used in gray scale), and whether it should appear only on a neutral background or if colored backgrounds will work as well.
Colors | Brand Style Checklist
Develop a color palette for your branded materials in order to take the guesswork out of trying to match colors by eye. Colors can be easily shifted from designer to designer or software to software, so it’s crucial to provide your designers with the exact hex code for web use as well as CMYK values and Pantone colors for print materials. Keep in mind that not every color can be perfectly transferred between web and print usage, so it’s a wise idea to specify your preferences so that you don’t end up with a color that clashes with your original design.
Fonts | Brand Style Checklist
Every brand should have a consistent set of fonts being used in all of their marketing materials, online and in print. Listing out these fonts, with examples and character sets, is hugely important for ensuring consistency. Pay attention to even the smallest details, as they’ll be really important down the road. In other words, you’ll need to define the fonts to use: sizes, line height, spacing before and after, colors, headline versus body font, etc. Also, make sure to include Web alternatives for non-Web fonts.
Voice | Brand Style Checklist
A huge element of a brand’s personality is the language, and defining the tone is a great way to keep a brand consistent. In an ideal world, you’d have one person constantly writing everything your brand needs, but most of the time that’s not a viable option. Giving the writer you have on hand guidelines for how they should dictate your brand will help avoid any instances of sounding off-brand. When different people are writing the copy without a clearly defined brand style guide, the brand can start to sound like it has multiple personalities, which will only confuse and distract your target audience.
Leave Room For Improvements | Brand Style Checklist
In order to survive in any industry, businesses big and small have to adapt and change. Brands change constantly either organically or to match the preferences of markets and audiences. New logos are created. Websites are redesigned. Marketing materials are updated. It’s important to make sure that your style guides are updated alongside other updates. They style guide you create this week might be vastly different than the one you’re using in a year. Allow for flexibility, but always be sure to save old versions to refer back to.
Keep It Concise | Brand Style Checklist
Remember, people should be able to easily follow your brand style guidelines. A 100-page book will engage none but the most diligent designer. Many believe that a concise three-page overview is best for daily use, with a more in-depth 20-page document for more complex tasks. Less is more, usually!