What is a brand style guide?
Brand style guides– sometimes called brand bibles or brand standard manuals– are one of the single most important documents of your visual brand but yet, they are also probably the most overlooked brand document. It is a document that includes the visual makeup of your company. It specifies your primary logo, alternative logo, color scheme, patterns, fonts and proper usage of logos. This document can also define, describe and provide samples of what your brand looks like when used in various forms such as print, web or any other type of visual media. Your brand style guide can change or update as your business grows. It is made up of all the pieces that makes your brand recognizable. Without it, you run the risk of looking inconsistent and unprofessional.
If a brand style guide is so important, why is it often overlooked? Here at BGard Graphics we aim to innovate, create, and educate. Our belief is that it is simply because a lot of people don’t know what it is or why it is needed. This proves to be especially true for start up companies. Continue reading to find out 5 reasons why you should invest in a brand guide.
Be More Recognizable
By having and utilizing your brand style guide, it helps to make your brand more recognizable. We all know that half the struggle of building a successful brand is having it be recognized. Did you know that the average consumer needs to be exposed to your brand 7 times before they will remember it or take action to buy your product or service? This is known as the Rule of 7. Do you want your brand to be easily recognizable or continued to be overlooked, thrown in the pile with the rest of the unrecognizable market that is vying for your consumer’s attention? Becoming more recognizable goes hand in hand with the next reason why you should invest in a brand style guide.
Helps with Brand Consistency
Having a brand style guide will ultimately help to keep your brand style consistent. Don’t choose a color for your newsletters, or any other marketing collateral that you think is close to the colors used in your visual brand. By having a style guide, it becomes your quick reference for the exact color codes used to create your brand identity. Now, you may be thinking, “I am not a designer! I don’t understand how to use those color codes.” This may be very true but a lot of small business owners try their hand at a DIY project. Some tools and applications such as canva does allow you to choose your exact color by entering a color code. For those who choose to outsource your graphic design work, this guide is still helpful in maintaining consistency. You may be a solopreneur now but as you grow, you may hire a design team who will need quick reference to your brand standards. Even now as a solopreneur, you may partner with an independent graphic designer for a last minute project. You can simply send them your brand style guide to ensure they understand and know proper use of your brand. Colors can be easily shifted from designer to designer or from design program to program. Having this style guide helps your projects go more smoothly and reduces inconsistencies.
Build a Professional Reputation
We’ve already discussed that a style guide helps to keep a brand consistent but by keeping it consistent, it also makes the brand appear more professional. A comprehensive brand style guide reminds your audience that behind the brand is a business of professionals and this invites trust and confidence. Customers trust clear, reliable brand messages. An inadequate professional image will result in poor business development and could lead to a negative reputation. Branding is about how a company is perceived by its consumers.
Your creative team or graphic designer is eager to get the job done quickly and correctly. By creating an unambiguous set of brand guidelines or standards, you eliminate the time that will spent figuring guesstimating colors, fonts and imagery that should be used each and every time another design/marketing project needs to get done. The brand style guide will precisely lay out colors, logo size, usage, and tone for your brand. This helps your creative teams to work more efficiently and effectively to create top notch graphics and marketing collateral that will remain consistent across the board. philosophical office banter about which Pantone shade of blue matches your team’s mood each time they have to work on another marketing project and hope they’re getting it right.
We know that if having a brand style guide saves you time then of course it must save you money. We should actually probably reference this reason as “Don’t Waste Money.” A brand style guide decreases the chances of having an unfortunate and costly marketing design disaster. Sending a project to the printer can be expensive but imagine having to send it twice after you realized you used the wrong color blue, the logo was used incorrectly or the font is not the correct one. You also run the risk of having to pay your employees or designer to have to update or recreate marketing materials that were made prior to having a brand style guide in place. It is crucially important to start building this document in the very beginning of building your startup.
Get Your Brand Style Guide
So, you see, having a brand style guide is a smart investment. You stick to your branding by utilizing your brand style guide. You want your brand to be successful, recognizable and memorable, as well as consistent. It is not enough to just have a brand style guide but be sure to use it. Reference it at any point when you are unsure. Ultimately, your brand style guide will make it easy for everyone to work with your brand and its assets.
Need a Brand Style Guide?
Brand style guides are included in all of our branding and logo projects but if you are working with a designer that is assisting in designing your brand, be sure to ask for this document. If you don’t have one, BGard Graphics would be happy to work with you to assist in developing a comprehensive brand style guide. Don’t hesitate, it is essential to your brand success!