6 Steps to Creating Your Brand Style Guide: Elements, Tips, and Examples

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Recently updated on February 2nd, 2024 at 11:18 am

Imagine having a brand that leaves a lasting mark, every single time.

Ever noticed how your favourite companies always use the same colours, fonts, and logos? That’s no accident. They’ve got something called a Brand Style Guide, and today, we’re going to show you why you need one.

When customers see your logo, colours, or messages, they should know it’s you. These should be your company’s unique signature. Think of Coca-Cola’s iconic red, or Apple’s sleek minimalist style – they’ve got their game on lock, and you can too!

In this blog, we’ll take you on a journey to discover the magic of a Brand Style Guide. We’ll break it down into simple steps, so even if you’re a total newbie, you’ll learn what it is, why it’s crucial, and exactly how to create your very own.

What is a Brand Style Guide?

A Brand Style Guide is the rulebook for your brand’s look and feel. It’s a set of guidelines that tell everyone in your company how to use things like logos, colours, fonts, and even the words you choose to talk about your brand.

Now, here’s why it’s a big deal. Imagine if your favourite fast-food chain suddenly changed its logo to something totally different. You might not recognise it, right? But with a Brand Style Guide, you can make sure your brand looks the same wherever it shows up. It gives your brand a unique, unforgettable personality.

And guess what? It’s not just for big companies with fancy logos. Even if you’re just starting out, a Brand Style Guide can help you look polished and professional.

When you’re playing in a big band, everyone needs to follow the sheet music. Your brand is the same way, and this guide is your sheet music.

How to Create a Brand Style Guide

Creating a Brand Style Guide might sound like a big task, but we’ve got your back. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Step 1. Define your brand

Start by thinking about what your brand stands for. What are the things that make your brand unique? What’s your brand’s personality? Is it friendly, professional, or adventurous?

The apple logo is seen in front of a building.
source: CNN

Take a look at Apple, for instance. They define their brand as innovative, user-friendly, and sleek. Their core values include pushing the boundaries of technology and design. Their mission is to make cutting-edge technology accessible to everyone, and their vision is to create a world where technology enhances our lives seamlessly.

Apple’s brand personality is a mix of creativity and simplicity. They’re known for their minimalist design, user-friendly interfaces, and thinking different. Their USP is the seamless integration of hardware and software, creating a unique user experience that’s hard to find elsewhere.

By defining these aspects of their brand, Apple has been able to consistently deliver products and messages that align with their brand identity, making them one of the most recognisable and successful tech brands in the world.

Step 2. Identify your audience

Think about the people you want to talk to with your brand. What do they like? What problems can your brand help solve for them?

Here’s how to figure them out:

Demographics
This means things like age, gender, location, and income. Are you targeting young adults in urban areas, or maybe middle-aged professionals? Knowing this helps you speak their language.
Psychographics
This goes deeper into their personality and lifestyle. Are they tech-savvy, eco-conscious, or adventurous? Understanding their values and interests helps you connect on a personal level.
Needs & Problems
What keeps your audience up at night? What challenges do they face? Your brand can be like a superhero, swooping in to solve their problems or fulfil their needs.
Buying Behaviour
How do they shop? Are they impulse buyers, or do they research extensively? Knowing their habits helps you tailor your marketing and product offerings.
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Step 3. Look at others

Check out how other brands in your field do it. What do you like about them? What do you think could work for your brand?

Learning from the competition and industry leaders is like having a mentor in the world of branding. Take a look at these brands from various industries:

Brand
Industry
What makes them a strong example
Apple
Technology/Electronics
Exemplifies consistency, minimalist design, and innovation.
Airbnb
Hospitality
Known for user-friendly design and community-driven approach.
Starbucks
Food and Beverage
Master of brand storytelling and creating a unique in-store experience.
Patagonia
Outdoor Apparel
Demonstrates a strong commitment to sustainability and ethical practices.
FedEx
Logistics
Iconic logo design with a hidden message (arrow) and clear brand promise.
Disney
Entertainment
Unparalleled storytelling, brand extension across multiple industries.
Red Bull
Food and Beverage
Exceptional content marketing and extreme sports association.

These brands have excelled in their respective industries and offer valuable insights into different aspects of branding. By looking at these examples, you can get a deeper understanding of effective brand communication, customer engagement, and strategies for building trust and brand loyalty.

Step 4. Start Writing

It’s time to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard! Your Brand Style Guide should include some key sections:

Brand story

Tell a little story about your brand, why it exists, and what it wants to achieve.

Logo guidelines

Show how your logo should be used, like where to put it, and what colours are allowed.

Colour palette

Pick a set of colours that scream your brand's name and explain when and where to use them.

Fonts

Choose fonts that fit your brand's personality and create rules for using them.

Voice and tone

Describe how your brand talks – is it funny, serious, or something else? Give examples to make it clear.

Pictures and icons

Explain what kind of images and icons should represent your brand.

Step 5. Review and refine

Now that you’ve put together your initial draft of the Brand Style Guide, it’s time to polish it to perfection. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Share with your team: Don’t keep it to yourself! Share your draft with your team members. They might spot things you missed or provide valuable insights from their different perspectives.
  2. Listen and learn: When your team gives feedback, listen carefully. They might have ideas to improve clarity, consistency, or alignment with your brand’s goals. Constructive criticism is your best friend at this stage.
  3. Make it even better: Take the feedback on board and use it to refine your brand style guide. Make changes where necessary to ensure it’s as clear, comprehensive, and effective as possible.

Remember, creating a brand style guide is a collaborative effort. The more eyes and minds you involve, the stronger and more impactful your guide will be.

Step. 6 Share it

Make sure everyone in your team can easily find and use your Brand Style Guide. That way, your brand will always be on point, no matter who’s working on it. Take note of the following:

  • PDF Format: Create your guide in PDF format for easy sharing and consistent formatting.
  • Central Location: Store it in a central, easily accessible location, such as cloud storage.
  • Regular Updates: Keep it up to date to reflect changes in your brand.
  • Training: Provide training for new team members on how to use the guide.
  • Accessibility: Ensure all team members, including remote workers, can access it.
  • Regular Reminders: Remind your team periodically about the guide’s importance.

Ready to make your brand shine?

We’ve explored the essential elements of creating a Brand Style Guide, from defining your brand’s personality to sharing it effectively with your team. By following these steps, you’re well on your way to establishing a strong and consistent brand identity that will set you apart in the market.

At Spark, we understand the importance of a well-crafted Brand Style Guide. Our team of professionals is ready to support you on your branding journey, ensuring your brand shines brightly in the crowded marketplace.

Don't let your competitors outshine you

Come talk to us today and unlock your brand's potential!

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