Let’s start by defining what a Style Guide is – simply put, it is a guide to how your brand must be presented. This refers to graphic design elements, fonts, colours, imagery, language style, your target market as well as your mission statement. Often businesses print this information out and create a book, which is often referred to as a Brand Bible.
Your Style Guide can be used as a resource for your own business and your employees, but it is also a helpful resource to have when needing to explain your brand to another company or individual. Here are the 3 most important aspects essential to any style guide:
1. Be clear & concise
Don’t get overly wordy and descriptive or think of it as a way to impress others – it is merely an outline of what you stand for and a way to show others (or reminding yourself) what your company's voice is and what brand elements bring this voice across. Keep it simple and to the point.
2. Use design to captivate the reader
Give some insight into why your brand colours were chosen, why a certain font speaks to you as a business, what imagery do you want associated with your brand and why, and explain the story behind your logo design – get creative and give examples of each of these style elements. The visual section of your style guide can be equated to a sort of scrap book of ideas – share your inspiration and your journey.
3. Keep it updated
Your brand will develop and change over the years (sometimes even within a month), so it’s important to keep updating your style guide – don’t remove the old brand elements, just add onto it – this adds to your story, to your journey, and allows people to see how you have evolved.
Here are some suggested page headings for your Style Guide:
1. Our Mission
2. Our Logo
3. Our Brand
4. Our Voice (as well as sharing how you portray this on various platforms)
5. Our Journey (this is optional, but something worth considering)
Having a Style Guide to refer to every now and again is a wonderful way to firstly remind yourself of what your brand’s voice is and, secondly, it is a great way to see if your brand still speaks to you – if you read over it and something doesn’t sit right with you, you have an opportunity to adjust your brand – without a style guide this change might not be noticed right away.
So, get your team together, go over your brand’s style and put together an exciting and creative guide that captures what your business is really all about!
Here are some beautifully designed Style Guides to inspire your own:
50 Meticulous Style Guides Every Startup Should See Before Launching
22 Brand Style Guide Examples for Visual Inspiration
13 magically meticulous design style guides