The Anatomy Of A Brand Style Guide
A brand style guide is a brief blueprint that displays the visual elements of a brand. It's a simple tool that adds so much power to your business when used properly. By constantly sticking to the visual rules of your style guide, you create consistency which creates memorability, trust, and a loyal community of followers. #businessgoals
Let's down the anatomy of a brand style guide so you know exactly what you're looking at when you receive one.
but first, understand that: No two brand style guides are the same.
Every brand is different and has both visual styles and needs unique to their business.
The overall foundation may look the same, but some may have more additional elements than others.
So, let's get to covering the basics shall we?
Your main logo is the primary logo that will represent your brand.
Usually they are in the form a wordmark (all text. see our logo to the right as an example), however, lettermarks (text based with use of initials in place of the entire name. example: CNN) and icons/symbols are just as acceptable.
These are the colors that represent your brand. Each color should play a certain role in the palette and should create particular emotions within your audience.
Generally, you should choose 3-6 main colors for your brand. However, it is always a good idea to also have lighter (tints) and/or darker (shades) options for each main color (these do not need to appear on the style guide).
Alternate logos are variations of your main logo. These should look and feel similar to the main logo, but can be different in terms of layout and color. There will be situations where spacing or color is limited for your logo, so it's great to have an alternative one on hand.
Example: Your main logo may be too wide for you to use on your social media posts, so a lettermark, submark, or even a stacked logo is a great option to have (these are not the only alternate logo options you can have, these are just a few to name).
Typography (aka fonts)
Brand typography is a set of carefully selected fonts chosen (or created) to represent your brand. You generally will have around 3 core fonts (but can have more or less):
1. Main font - generally used for headings
2. Alternative font - generally used for subheadings and emphasis
3. Body font - used for large bodies of text, like paragraphs
You don't always have to stick to these rules (we didn't), it is your brand after all.
For my brand, I chose to use my main font for both heading 1 and 2, but used a different style for heading 2. I also used the same font for heading 3 and my body font; again, using different styles to keep them unique. Finally, I added an accent font to create extra character and personality. 3 fonts, 4 different styles. #workingit
Favicons are icons associated with the brand's URL and is displayed in the web browsers address bar (see far right image).
Because these are so small and can only be a max size of 64 x 64 pixels, favicons are usually a simple letter, icon, image, or small submark.
Brand textures & patterns
These are different textures and patterns that correlate well with or represent your brand. You can use patterns and textures in your brand collateral, on your website, and on your social media profiles! These are usually fun elements that allow you to further visually display your brand and incorporate some of your brands accent colors.
A signature is an additional brand element that not every brand will have, but it does add a nice personal touch. They can be used anywhere you'd like to sign a name off on.
Example: blog posts, emails, etc. (see end of post to see mine in action!)
Mood boards are a collage of images that come together to visually represent the moods and tones that your brand is trying to encompass. Your mood board should visually attract and create a "mini experience" for the audience that you’re looking to serve.
There you have it!
Keeping your identity cohesive and on-brand at all times is super important for the success of your business.
Having trouble with your brand style? Ask me any questions you have below!