The primary difference between a company and a brand is how your customers, clients, or audience identifies and perceives your business and what they expect from it.
While a company refers to an organization that produces products or services, a brand is created when the same organization is distinguished from its competitors by virtue of its identifying elements.
To make your mark in the industry and stay ahead of the curve, it is paramount to understand and emphasize branding.
A brand style guide is the first step towards achieving the said goal of eminence and prominence in any given industry.
Why is it essential to create a brand style guide?
A brand style guide, brand book, or brand guide is the identifying factor for your business. It helps your content creators stay aligned and deliver a consistent message to your audience.
It is a single document that will convey the design standards of your company to the whole group.
Not just that, it helps to make sure all your marketing initiatives and their messaging are relevant and related to your brand goals. With social media marketing on the rise, a comprehensive brand style guide is an absolute necessity.
Given that most companies today are working with a full or partial remote team, it is also a great idea to make your brand guide available online.
How to create a well-defined brand style guide?
A brand guide consists of a logo, its derivatives (if any), typography, color palette, illustrations, and more. In the next section, we will discuss each of these elements in detail and look at the parameters of the brand guide. So, let's get started.
Your logo is the most crucial branding asset for your business. If your business is a person, then the logo is the face. It is not just enough to get your logo designed. You need to make sure that you have made sure of its appropriate usage.
These are the things you need to define in your brand guide to establish the correct use of the logo:
- Always add a full-size, downloadable logo of your company in the style guide
- Talk about specific shapes and sizes in words and numbers beside the image
- Make sure to mention the clearance space around your logo to avoid overlapping in designs
- Mention the minimum size of the logo to keep the impact and readability intact
- Mention the correct and wrong usage of the logo
- Include the proper alignment of WordMarks and Compound Naming
Some brands, like webdew, tend to have a symbol that is used to represent their brand name. Remember that such a symbol can one day become very influential and famous; the best examples are NIKE, McDonald's, Audi, so on and so forth.
So while setting the bars high for logo usage, remember to include all that guidelines for the symbol as well.
I won't be using another NIKE example, but I guess you know how vital fonts can be. On a digital forum, you are mainly represented through text and video; while endorsing your brand, you should always stick to a specific font that is registered for copyright.
Here are the things you should take care of and include in your guide:
- Include the name of the font family you will be using
- Include the different variations (e.g., light, semibold, bold, etc.) of the font
- Mention the text hierarchy that you want users to follow
- Mention how you want the hyperlinks to be highlighted in your text
Brand colors go a long way when it comes to defining your brand image. Colors are significant inducers of emotions, and the color palette will effectively convey the essence of your brand to your audience. How and where you use these colors is also essential.
While using a color palette, here are the guidelines you should establish:
- Choose a handful of colors
- Always define primary and secondary colors
- Make sure you include shades of grey and black
- Always have the color code in your brand guide
- For creativity's sake, it is better to include gradients
It always makes sense to add a CTA to encourage people to take action when it comes to promotional content. As far as branding is concerned, even the CTAs can use a bit of unique touch.
You can always specify the shape, size, color, and other aspects of CTA.
At webdew, we have defined our CTAs in the following order:
Illustrations stand for the type of animated characters you use in your website, social media posts, etc. You might feel this is not as significant, but several brands, including Slack, Mailchimp, Headspace, etc., distinctly stand out in the digital sphere with the help of illustrations.
You can get custom characters created or use free illustrations from free or paid sources.
But make sure you include size perimeters for the usage of these illustrations.
Icons are another subtle touch to your style guide that brings it to a full circle. Maybe small, but they often help create a familiarity that allows your audience to identify and connects with you. There are various icon repositories where you can find a wide range of icons.
White including the icons, make sure to mention these details:
- Sizing Guidelines
- Type (bold/regular/italic)
Along with all the prominent branding elements, there is another aspect of branding that often gets overlooked but can get you ahead of your competitors if used correctly. It is the tone of your brand.
If you look closely, you will realize that many brands use a distinct tone in their written content and text-based posts to connect with their target audience.
One of the best examples of this is Old Spice; not only does their bright red color help to attract the eyes of the viewers, their friendly and approachable taglines, including the CTAs, never fail to highlight their brand. And when you think about Old Spice, you remember a sassy, spicy brand with amazing, authentic scents!
You can choose your own tone as per your service and preference of the target audience and can go on to create outstanding promotional content with iconic taglines and remarkable CTAs.
Also, with the rising importance of social media for brands, it would help to have a social media strategy to raise your customer engagement levels. You can use this style guide for the same.
Summing it up
As I already mentioned, branding is all about recognition and identification. Your customer does not connect to your product but with your brand.
While it is crucial to deliver top-notch services and products to create an excellent reputation, it is equally important to create a distinct brand presence to elevate your business' identity.
So make sure to follow the steps mentioned above to create a great brand style guide. And if you need assistance, feel free to contact us!