We’re welcoming Lexi Parker, Founder and Creative Director of Revel Union, back today and I couldn’t be more excited about the topic! As a graphic designer myself, I fully understand the importance of a brand style guide and what it can do for your business. Do you have one? Without one, your business might look a little something like a house with ten rooms, each of which feature a completely different style and don’t flow seamlessly from one to the next. Does that sort of describe how you feel your business visually looks right now? Lexi has you covered. Scroll for her five key tips on why you should have a brand style guide and how to apply it to your biz.
From Lexi of Revel Union… Your brand is so much more than a logo; it’s the voice and face of your business, the channel through which your products reach your audience. A complete branding suite consists of multiple logo variations that can be carried across different platforms and parameters for the brand’s aesthetic. A well-developed style guide is an essential tool for establishing brand identity and simplifying your life. A Brand Style Guide (also known as a brand book or brand guidelines) acts as a key document that keeps your messaging consistent and tailored to your audience.
A basic style guide should include all the important facets of your brand’s identity: a primary logo, an alternate logo (in a varying format), brand icon or favicon, brand pattern, color palette, and typography selections. You should be provided your color palette in three color formats: CMYK, RGB, and Hex. These formats are specific to print or web use. Instructions about the logo’s minimum size, and size in relationship to other assets (like tag lines) should also be included to maintain the integrity of a brand’s visual identity during reproduction.
Any typefaces used within the logo and marketing material should be a part of the style guide, along with their weights and a web-safe alternative, if necessary. Your Brand Style Guide should distinguish between fonts used for headlines and body copy, and include easy-to-follow formatting rules.
When you receive this document, it’s easy to save it on your desktop and forget about it. However, we encourage you to utilize it and keep it on hand to maximize your marketing efforts. Below, we’ve outlined five ways to apply your Brand Style Guide to your business.
1. Create Brand Consistency
Brand consistency is your brand’s visual reputation. Using your Brand Style Guide to create graphics, manage existing documents, and craft new marketing materials is key to maintaining that reputation. By following your Brand Style Guide for all communications (both internal + external), you establish a strong brand voice that resonates with the audience, which is essential for building brand awareness. Over time, that awareness builds trust, ultimately converting to clients.
2. Get What You Paid For
After you have invested in a beautiful new brand, using your Brand Style Guide is the key to getting your money’s worth. Your Brand Style Guide is a continuing resource, long after your new logos have been designed. By sticking to the design elements provided by your designer, you have the advantage of having a full-time graphic designer on staff.
In our Brand Guidelines Manual we provide for our clients, we have sample social media graphics and printed branding materials for you to work from moving forward. Even with a basic style guide, your team can follow the font pairing and color guidelines to create a high-end look that maintains your brand’s consistent messaging.
Most importantly, be sure to utilize the alternate marks and icons provided by your designer. Quality branding is so much more than a primary or secondary logo. If your designer crafted a custom signature, be using it to sign off blog posts or add it to your email footer. Branding is in the details.
3. Promote Brand Awareness
When you create branded graphics for social media, Pinterest, online ads, and marketing pieces, you want viewers to recognize your brand right away. With consistent use of your full branding suite, you help increase brand awareness. Beyond your inventory of products or your portfolio of work, potential clients begin to subconsciously recognize and remember your branding. When it comes time for them to make a purchase or hire your services, your business will be top of mind.
4. Save Time
Having a Brand Style Guide in place can cut hours out of your work week. By narrowing your design options down to what is provided in your brand manual, you can produce that quick social graphic in a matter of minutes. It removes the stress and makes your tasks more actionable—ultimately increasing productivity.
5. Increase Your Professionalism
We work with retailers and lifestyle brands around the country creating newsletter promotions, promo cards, postcards, and other marketing collateral. Often, a project is some sort of collaboration with an influencer or complementary brand. Having a document set in place so you can share your brand’s visual guidelines and expectations keeps things professional and actionable. The brands you’re collaborating with will have immediate access to your logos, fonts, and colors. Fewer emails will be needed going back and forth with edits and clarifications, and the process will run smoothly and promptly. Most importantly, you’ll leave your collaborators with a sense of ease and an eagerness to work together again in the future.
At Revel Union, we take our Brand Guidelines a step further and craft a truly custom Brand Manual for our clients. Beyond the standard logos, icons, color palette, and typography selections, we dive into brand voice and marketing collateral. Sample social media graphics are included in our Brand Manuals, providing you with an easy-to-access template to quickly assemble a last-minute post that is expertly designed. Sample photography is included, so your hired photographers have a visual example of your brand’s mood and styling. Together with our copywriter, we craft a custom brand voice document outlining key words to use when writing to potential customers about your company. We even clarify whether your brand should use “I” vs. “we”, first or third person. Finally, we provide a sample document showcasing the appropriate font sizes for various headings, body copy, and footers.
Whether working with a basic Brand Style Guide or a more extensive Brand Manual, use this as the standard for your business moving forward. Take advantage of the tools you’ve already invested in to expertly craft brand awareness and recognition, while saving time every week.
Reach out directly for more information about what a comprehensive branding suite should look like and how you can partner with Revel Union to elevate your branding.