The three most important things to include in a style guide

Brand identity is a must for any business and should always be a core part of  the marketing plan. Creating a style guide for your company's visual assets ensures consistent branding throughout your organisation and helps to gain customer trust. Here, we look at the three most important decisions that form the basis of your style guide.

By Carla Stanton, graphic designer at technical PR agency, Stone Junction.

The placement and choice of fonts, colours and logo are crucial decisions to make and form the basis of brand guidelines. A style guide document not only allows everyone in the company to easily create branded documents, it's also useful for an external designer or agency to deliver more consistent designs that need fewer changes.

When creating a style guide, it is important to think about how you would like customers to see your brand and what emotions you would like to evoke. 

Choose appropriate fonts and use them consistently
The fonts you choose should reflect your brand identity. Headings should be the largest in size and compliment the brand ethos. If you want to use a script, uppercase or fancier font, this is the place to do it because these fonts will be less legible for use in body text.

When selecting a font for body copy, it should be something easy to read because it will be smaller and made up of text-heavy paragraphs. You need to make sure it can be read clearly and not cause any confusion for the reader. Don't go smaller than a font size of eleven for body text, unless it is being used for image captions. Anything smaller in the body, will take away legibility.

Select colours that complement your brand image
After you have chosen the right font you need to think about a colour palette for your brand. Colours evoke emotion and should be used to complement the brand definition and character. It is good to understand the psychology of colour to aid your selection process. For example, green portrays growth; red, ambition; and purple is usually associated with creativity. There is a useful diagram here to help with basic colour strategy for marketing.

Once you have some key colours, take a note of the hex codes that identify them as well as any RGB and CMYK codes, which will ensure the correct colour is used every time.

Make rules for logo positioning and size
You really need to consider the position and size of your logo to make it work to its full potential. Thinking about some general dos and don’ts help to create some simple rules that keep your logo at the forefront of your brand. If you want your logo to appear over a photograph, you need to make sure it can be viewed clearly without any interference from the image behind. 

It is usual practice to be supplied with several versions of your logo (colour, black, white, transparent background) to suit a variety of design scenarios. The recurring message of consistency being key is one that should be applied to logo placement too — it should be the same across all marketing collateral for both print and digital. Determine a minimum size for your logo, where it is still clear to read and maybe think about adding an exclusion-zone rule to avoid any layout issues or interference with your logo and the design.

Branding is fundamental to a strong visual strategy. If you require help with creating a style guide or advice on your next visual communications project, contact me at carlas@stonejunction.co.uk


Carla Stanton

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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