Brand Identity Style Guides – Do I need one?

Over the last few months I have written a couple of blog articles about the importance of branding, and why it is such a great investment for businesses large and small.

Your brand essentially acts as your business’ personality, and it has never been more important. Consumers want to be able to engage with brands, so having only a logo and a basic colour scheme just scratches the surface of creating a dialogue with your customers and clients.

And so we come to the concept of a brand identity style guide.

What is it?

A brand identity style guide outlines a set of rules and guidelines as to how your brand is to be used – think of it like a roadmap for your brand. There is no limit to what it can include, but as a minimum it should feature sections on typography, logo usage, editorial tone of voice and corporate colour scheme.

A brand identity style guide outlines a set of rules and guidelines as to how your brand is to be used – think of it like a roadmap for your brand

What are the benefits of a brand identity style guide?

There are lots. Perhaps the most important benefit of establishing a style guide is to ensure consistency and continuity in the way in which your business is perceived by the public.

If you are a small business, there is a good chance you don’t employ an in-house marketing or creative team. This means that you will most likely outsource design work to a variety of different agencies and suppliers. If there is no style guide in place, external designers are basically flying blind.

Sure, external designers will know what your corporate colour scheme is, but without a style guide they will have no idea how to correctly use your logo, nor what typefaces to use for headings and body text.  Over time this will result in multiple pieces of visual communication which all look slightly different. This not only dilutes the strength of your brand, but also looks unprofessional. After all, if you don’t take your branding seriously, why should potential customers?

A style guide can save me money? How?

This is one of those cases of spending money to save money. Think of it as an investment. You see, when a designer is able to refer to a style guide, the production of corporate artwork becomes a lot quicker and efficient. This means there will be fewer revisions and in almost every case, a higher quality outcome. In a nutshell: fewer revisions = lower design costs.

Where can I see an example of a style guide?

Good question. Logo Design Love has put together an excellent list of style guides from a variety of organisations all around the world including companies like Skype, Microsoft and Mastercard. These are great examples of how detailed some of these brand identity style guides can get.

OK, I’m sold. How much will a style guide cost me?

You know what the answer to this is, right? Of course it will depend on how detailed your style guide is, but as a ball park figure you should prepare for $500 as a minimum, right through to several thousand dollars in some of the more extreme cases.

If you would like to know more about how a brand identity style guide will help your business, please drop us a line. We can have a chat about it over a coffee (on us of course!).

Got any questions or comments? Post them below!

Chris Horgan

Chris Horgan

Chris Horgan is a Graphic Designer at horgancreative. When he's not designing, you'll either find him clad in lycra on a bike, on a basketball court or in front of the TV.

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