How To Create a Stellar Brand Style Guide

If you’re a small business owner, creating and maintaining a logo can be difficult. There’s just so much to do and it’s easy for branding to fall by the wayside. However, proper branding is an integral part of any marketing strategy and an aspect you should invest in. A great way to begin strengthening your brand is to develop a comprehensive brand style guide. Read on to learn JSL Marketing & Web Design’s tips for developing an amazing brand style guide!

What Is a Brand Style Guide?

A brand style guide is kind of like the “playbook” of your business’s branding. It’s a shared reference material that lists out the different plays and executions of what your brand should look like. Much like a college football team’s playbook keeps every member of the team aligned, your brand style guide ensures that every branding effort your business undertakes goes swimmingly! In this guide, your business will list out what fonts, graphics, colors, and presentations are acceptable for your brand! It’s a comprehensive reference material for whoever may need to work on your logo or branding at any point!

Why You Need a Brand Style Guide

If you’re a small business, you probably haven’t given that much consideration to a brand style guide before. You might not even have a logo, let alone a brand style guide that details every aspect of your brand. However, just because you haven’t considered a brand style guide before, doesn’t mean that there aren’t real benefits to creating one!

A Good Brand Style Makes It Easy For Customers To Recognize Your Brand

  • This is one of the most obvious reasons to develop a brand style guide. Carefully choosing the logo, color shades, font, and other inventive details and standardizing them across your marketing efforts makes it easy for your customers to recognize your brand immediately. The sooner they do so, the sooner they can make decisions, like the decision to purchase from your brand. A streamlined and recognizable logo and trade dress, courtesy of your brand style guide, makes that process easy for your customers!

A Good Brand Style Guide Helps Everyone Get On the Same Page

  • Even small businesses can have complicated marketing plans. It’s not unheard of for a small business to use a logo designed by a freelancer, use a web design agency for web development and SEO, and a social media contractor for social media management. A brand style guide helps standardize the output and efforts of these disparate teams. 

A Good Brand Style Guide Elicits Strong Feeling From Your Audience

  • Think of the way you feel seeing the logo or slogan of one of the world’s biggest and most recognizable brands. You might feel pumped up seeing the Nike logo, inventive after seeing an Apple commercial, or even a little bit hungry after seeing a Golden Arches from the highway. That’s the beauty of an impactful brand style guide! If the logo and slogan of your business are designed properly, your audience shouldn’t just see a logo or color scheme; they should experience a strong feeling or memory of your brand! That’s a valuable reaction, as most purchasing decisions are more emotional than logical! If your brand style guide can drive emotional responses from your audience, then you’re that much closer to driving sales!

How To Create a Brand Style Guide

Begin with the core values of your business

  • What defines your brand? What do you want people to remember about your business? What does your business value? Once you have this finalized, you can move onto the graphic elements. 

Finalize the visual elements

  • This can include, but is not limited to…
    • Font
    • Colors
    • Hierarchy 
    • Formats
    • Logo

Develop a checklist

  • Depending on the size of the business, it’s not realistic for the owner to approve every branding exercise. However, you can include a checklist of common issues for your freelancer or agency prior. This lets your creative developer have a guide to work off of without making you review every aspect of their work prior!

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Common Brand Style Guide Mistakes

You’ve decided to put your brand style guide together. That’s great! However, you’re not out of the woods yet! Make sure you don’t fall into these common brand style mistakes!

Failing to define your strategy first

  • It can be tempting to define your brand font, colors, and formatting without thinking through your brand’s overarching strategy. However, this is one of the most common brand style guide mistakes we see. Make sure that you have a developed strategy in place before you develop the brand guide. There’s no point in creating a brand style guide if you don’t have the strategy in place prior!

Failing to connect your logo to your marketing efforts

  • Imagine a brand style guide that lists out all of the different aspects and examples for a business. However, there’s one crucial mistake. It doesn’t address what the business’s logo should look like on your website! Make sure that you’ve thought through all possible places your logo could be displayed and then develop the specifics to display that logo!

Choosing a logo solely on price

  • There’s no reason that an affordable logo can’t be the right pick for your brand! We’ve seen plenty of cost-effective logos over the years and some of them have been phenomenal! However, too many businesses fall into the trap of thinking of their logo as just another line item that will cost them, rather than an investment. The result is that they submit a few basic logo designs to freelancers over Fiverr, then pick the cheapest design concept from the freelancers and call that their logo. We encourage you to consider several criteria beyond just the price point when finalizing a logo. You don’t need to pick the most expensive and intricate option, but you should walk away from the logo development process with a logo you can be excited about, regardless of price. 

We have had an awesome experience with JSL Marketing & Web Design. They have completely revamped our website and it looks wonderful! They are very knowledgeable and creative! Will definitely be calling them again”- Jordan S.”

Contact JSL Marketing for Your Next Branding Project

If you’re interested in putting together a great brand style guide, consider JSL Marketing & Web Design! Our team has years of experience in award-winning design projects and would like to bring that expertise to your next project! Don’t just take our word for it, however. Take the word of our clients!

Call us at 855.944.1201 to begin your next project!

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