Style Guides – keep your brand consistent

Simply put, a style guide is a compilation of design elements that helps to keep your brand consistent. It can be as simple as a one page document that includes your logo, colors, fonts and any other design elements that have been chosen to help distinguish your brand. Some style guides are even so detailed that they highlight what ads, letterhead, brochures and other marketing materials should look like.

Here’s the top 3 reasons why EVERY company – large or small – should have a style guide for their brand:

1. Professionalism
First impressions are important and blurry logos and images will make you look like a rookie. If you’ve spent the money having a logo created or photos taken for your company then make sure you have the right files on hand. Any professional designer should provide you with multiple file types of your logo for various uses. If you have questions about different file types take a look at Ali’s previous blog, File Types: What do they mean?

Make sure to also use high resolution images for printed marketing materials instead of images that are pulled off of a website. Images on websites are saved at lower resolutions for screen viewing and will print blurry. A good tip – if it looks blurry on your screen expect it to print blurry.

2. Consistency
How is someone going to recognize your company if your ads are purple your website is red and your business cards are gray? They probably won’t! You only have a few seconds to make a lasting impression so help your audience out with some design consistency. Aim to keep your branding within a consistent color palette. At the very least, keep the main colors of your marketing materials consistent – adding in smaller accent colors for variety.

The same goes for images. If your branding is based on showing happy people on white backgrounds then make sure it’s noted somewhere in your style guide with a few sample images.

3. Save Time
Who wants to keep answering the same questions over and over again? Absolutely no one! By having all of your brand’s basic design elements detailed in a document you can easily email it to your co-workers and vendors for them to follow.

Marketing opportunities can sometimes come out of nowhere and you need to be prepared to promote your brand consistently at all times. How many of you have worked with style guides before? Did you find them helpful?

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Ali Green

Co-Founder and Creative Director
Schooled in both design and marketing, Ali adds the analytical skills of an engineer to complicated digital marketing strategies.

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Comments

  1. Totally agree on the time and consistency. We tell our clients all the time, both large and small, to present the same image to the customer every time so that it becomes and stays familiar to them. Also, why re-create the wheel each time a concept is produced? It also creates brand loyalty with the customer as well. Thanks Chantelle!

  2. Having been screwed over by a graphic designer who gave me terrible files of images I paid for this is a great how to guide for those of us just beginning to create our identity. Clear, crisp and precise. And I will certainly have to check out Ali’s post. Seems like it will be quite helpful!

    • I’m so sorry to hear that Courtney! Unfortunately I hear that too often. A responsible designer should always make sure to explain to you exactly what you’ll be getting AND be thinking about how you might need to use the files in the future. Maybe my next blog needs to be a list of questions for business owners to think/ask about before starting your next branding project…

  3. I really need to work on a file to send my clients. I find myself typing out the same answers to emails over and over! You’ve motivated me to do this!

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