Why your style guide is your most important brand asset
When you walk into a store like Target or Myer, it feels the same as the last one you visited. Not only that, but their stores match their website and marketing as well. Have you ever wondered how they manage to maintain their brand across the board? The answer is simple – they do it with a brand style guide. A solid style guide, also known as a brand book or brand guide, is a vital tool to ensure a brand’s identity and consistency across all elements.
All good brands have a well-developed style guide, which means that you should too.
What is a style guide?
A brand style guide is a key document that helps content creators communicate a consistent message to your audience. It is a catalogue of the elements in the visual identity of your business, as well as a list of dos and don’ts for ensuring the right brand message is conveyed, always. The document gives a snapshot of acceptable ways to present your brand with regards to content and marketing. Therefore, your style guide needs to include everything about your brand, from the mission statement to textures and colour numbers.
Creating a style guide may sound like a lot of hard work, but it’s easier than you think. Moreover, it is worth the effort. The document acts as a guiding light, making marketing and branding decisions simple and straightforward. A brand guide also comes in handy if you work with freelancers or third-party vendors. From this document, your partners know where, when, and how to use your brand assets in the right way. Likewise, when a new employee joins your company, you can introduce them to the brand book as well. Your brand style guide communicates your company’s design standards to the entire group.
Why is a style guide important?
Think of your style guide as your company’s visual DNA in the one document. Having a brand guide to reference for expected standards will make the lives of your designers, writers, and developers easier. The document gives them a reliable framework to use as a starting point and keeps them on the right path. Brand style guides can also support marketing initiatives by ensuring that all messaging is relevant and related to your brand’s goals. In the absence of a good brand book, you’ll find incorrect or inconsistent content and branding within your business.
A style guide secures brand consistency and cohesion across all media. This cohesion is essential because it helps establish a strong brand voice that resonates with the audience. Large companies with teams in different locations across the globe benefit hugely from making their style guides available online. Skype, Adobe and Trello all publish their brand guides publicly so that employees can access them whenever they’re needed.
All brand interactions with your customers should embody your brand. Furthermore, making sure your brand is recognisable in every instance gives your business credibility and a feeling of stability. Don’t leave your brand open to interpretation. Make a style guide part of your corporate brand strategy today.
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