Building an effective style guide for your brand

Whether you have an in-house design department or work with an independent graphic designer, having a solid set of brand guidelines also known as a style guide, is a valuable resource to draw upon.  It’s a way to ensure the brand remains consistent at every touchpoint.

Interactive Style Guide

Progressive organizations capture their personality and visual direction in a guidelines document, which describes an identity system in depth and outlines rules so an image is always presented in a consistent manner.

Formalizing your brand’s elements such as logos, typefaces and colours in an online style guide or document can be a great asset when dealing with sub-contractors or other team members who need to get up to speed quickly and accurately in order to move a project forward.

WHAT IS A STYLE GUIDE?

Your style guide is a document that helps create consistency for all interactions on behalf of your organization— personal communications, social media, advertising and design.

It describes your identity system in depth and outlines usage guidelines so an image is always presented in a consistent manner.

The most important elements of a typical brand can be defined in a few pages, although deeply diversified product lines and sub-brands may require extra attention to help keep those things clear—especially if the guides are to be used by a large team.

Your style guide needs to be detailed enough to control critical elements, while also being concise enough to make them easy to use and to follow. Examples can be a huge asset, as they help illustrate the key principles of a brand in practical use.

INTERACTIVE STYLE GUIDES

The interactive style guides we develop at Bateman Design Group include password-protected access not only to the usage guidelines, but also to all of the new logos, graphic assets, marketing material and templates that have been created—allowing you to easily access and share the files (along with their graphic files) to selected members of your team. This makes it even easier to maintain brand consistency for all future materials.

 

WHAT DOES A STYLE GUIDE INCLUDE?

  1. LOGO USAGE AND PLACEMENT It’s important to maintain the integrity of your logo across all platforms. This includes how the logo is to be used, from placement to acceptable alterations. Similar sections may also be needed for other branded elements such as social media icons which should also remain consistent whenever used.
  2. COLOUR GUIDE Your brand’s key colours should be listed with their Pantone, CMYK and RGB/Hex values. Include a hierarchy of the colour palette with the primary brand colours and the supporting ones. Our interactive style guide allows colour palettes to be included, which can then be imported to professional design software such as Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.
  3. TYPOGRAPHY Visual examples and a list of approved fonts should be included in your style guide, with information about where to download them if needed for future use. Rules for how to incorporate the typography should be clear, from what typefaces are acceptable, how each is used, and guidelines for additional styling, size and use of color.
  4. IMAGES Guidelines for images are about more than just whether you will rely on photography or illustrations or other types of graphics. Image guidelines should define when and how certain types of images are used. A library of approved images may be included in your interactive style guide.
  5. STATIONARY Examples and templates of business card and other stationary items should be included. This is especially important when building a style guide for a large or geographically dispersed organization. If it’s multinational, keep in mind that international formats for business cards and paper availability and sizes vary from region to region.
  6. LEGAL GUIDELINES Detail the trademarks, copyrights and other legal notes associated with your brand. Your style guide should explain how these should be designated and what the appropriate  statement should be included on communications or publications.

 

The best tools are the ones that make your job easier to do. If you succeed in making a clear, concise and user-friendly style guide, your employees, co-workers and partners are that much more likely to adopt and uphold it—reducing the time wasted on revisions. A good style guide improves brand clarity throughout all of your communication pieces.

 

READY TO GET STARTED?

At Bateman Design Group, we can develop your new brand or audit your existing materials and create an interactive style guide that is specific to your company and it’s individual needs. It will  include password-protected access to all of the new logos, graphic assets, marketing material and templates that have been created, allowing you to eaily access and share the guide (along with their graphic files) to selected members of your team, making it easier to maintain brand consistency for all future materials.

 

 


Bateman Design Group is a boutique creative agency in Barrie offering graphic design, brand development, website design and custom content management systems since 2003. We are available to work independently or as a freelance part of your marketing team.


 

About Julie Bateman

Julie Bateman is a professional graphic designer and the founder of Bateman Design Group, a boutique creative agency in Barrie, Ontario. Julie has over 15 years of design and business experience, and has taught courses in Digital Photography, Design Fundamentals and Advertising at Georgian College. Samples of her work have been published in both ‘Basic Logos’ by Index Books, and ‘Graphically Speaking: A Visual Lexicon for Achieving Better Designer-Client Communication’ by Lisa Buchanan. Julie also recently earned her Google Analytics Platform Principles certificate from Google.

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