When I first started out, I never created brand style guides for clients. I don’t think my clients even knew what they were missing. Most of them didn’t even know what a brand style guide was when I would ask if they’d be needing one with their new logo. Now, I know better.
A brand style guide comes standard with every logo I create.
So, what is a brand style guide?
According to Wikipedia, a brand guide or style guide is “a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization or field. The implementation of a style guide provides uniformity in style and formatting within a document and across multiple documents.”
My definition is pretty similar:
A brand guide is a document that keeps other people from screwing up the way your brand appears across various media.
Why is a brand guide necessary?
Simply put, it helps retain brand consistency when you’re handing your brand over to various designers, social media managers, printers and other content creators. At the very best, inconsistent brand standards will send a message of inconsistency. Worst case, your brand’s personality appears unreliable, inconsistent and apathetic.
It doesn’t have to be a complicated document, although I have seen some really monstrous brand style guides. In it’s simplest form it will tell you and the rest of humanity how (and how not) to use your logo, what colors and fonts are used and that no one shall deviate from the guidelines, change the appearance of the logo, smoosh it, squash it or otherwise disrespect it.
Here is the brand style guide that I created for Sozy Pencils in 2019. This is a pretty standard brand guide format for me. It includes logo usage guidelines, color values for print and screen use, font names and suggested pairings as well as some brand messaging and suggested imagery that will help give the client and their brand managers a guide when taking their own photography or searching for stock images.
Why I decided to provide this document to all logo design clients.
When I worked at the PennySaver papers in New York I saw every. single. one of my coworkers, at some point, smash a logo without constraining it’s proportions because “no one cares, it’s the PennySaver.” That used to make my blood boil. If that were my logo, my brand identity out there and the logo was squashed beyond readability, I’d be demanding free ad space!
Call it what ever you like, style guide, brand standards, corporate identity guidelines … doesn’t matter. Bottom line is, your brand should convey the same message across all media and the most efficient way to do that is to have this document from the beginning.
Ready to talk about your brand? Contact me.