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Marketing and Branding Blog | SilkCards

How to Build a Branding Style Guide in 5 Easy Steps

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 21, 2016 10:19:00 AM / by Brielle Yang

Brielle Yang

dartboard bullseye illustrating that style guidelines are all about consistency

The image of your brand has everything to do with its style. Just think of Starbucks Coffee. Calm, earthy hues meet subtly dimmed lights that resemble the feel of a small locally owned coffee shop with a touch of sleek sophistication. The green Siren logo wraps her signature tresses around the company's free-styled product designs and interior decor, creating a streamlined look and ambiance at every location.

 Just how was Starbucks able to communicate this uniform image and replicate it around the world among thousands of separate locations?

It was possible with a style guide.

Creating Your Branding Style Guide

By following a branding style guide, which is simply a document that lays out how a brand is presented, all marketing and promotional operations can be streamlined. Read on to find out the five easy steps you can take to make your own style guide that can get your team on the same page and operating consistently when promoting your brand.

1. Define your logo.

When building a brand, the logo is one of the first steps to make after identifying your target audience. Every step you take should be with the idea of merging what your customers want with the core values of the company.

Your brand style guide will begin with your logo, which acts as your brand's "flagship." It is the first thing people will see, and it must encompass your company values. In this section, describe your logo and specify how it can be used and how it shouldn't.

2. Decide on key colors & usage.

Just like many shoppers associate red with Target and blue with Walmart, your brand will have a key color scheme that your clients will recognize. Specify your color scheme here. Don't just leave it up to one or two colors. Specify which are your core elements and which are supplementary or accent colors. All of these choices will inform the kind of feeling you create with both your marketing materials as well as any other branding items you use.

3. Choose your fonts & typography.

A font says a lot about your brand. Is it a crisp, formal font, or is it playful and informal? Whatever you choose, you need to make it consistent with your brand's values, image, and tone. In this part of the guide, you will strictly order what fonts are acceptable and how, where, and when one should use them.

4. Mention what kind of images and/or photography style should be used.

Encourage consistency on how icons are used and stick to a desired photographic style in your promotions. In this section, stress how important it is to maintain uniformity in these images to keep your brand unadulterated from other confusing design concepts.

5. Establish your company's voice and tone.

Is your brand posh, formal, or classic? Whatever feel you are aiming for, stick with it. All of your content needs to be consistent in its tone and must be compliant with the brand's image. This is where branding meets marketing. From website design, blog content, advertisements, promotions, and commercials to store and company layout, you must let the same voice and level of formality reverberate through everything your brand touches. You must also make your brand's voice capable of reaching your target audience.

Specificity and Consistency Is the Key to Branding

In all these categories, the more specifications you give, the better your designers will be able to replicate your brand's values, look, and feel no matter where a shop happens to open up. Branding style guides are especially useful for franchises where many leaders are working together under the same umbrella and must be on the same page when promoting the company's image. Your approach may change over time as will your reputation, so keep in mind that this isn't a set-it-and-forget-it exercise. Brand management takes continual effort, and you'll need to remain vigilant.

Once you have your branding style guide made, it's time to implement it using high-quality printed materials. Whether your first move is to pursue direct mail marketing or you want to hand out top-notch business cards, SilkCards has you covered.

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Topics: branding

Brielle Yang

Written by Brielle Yang

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