Maintaining consistency in your brand’s design instills a sense of comfort in your clientele. It makes you recognizable and trusted—both of which are critical qualities to generating and maintaining a following. One way to make sure that your design stays on brand is by cultivating a brand style guide (sometimes called a “branding guide”). The importance of style guides in marketing is not something that should go ignored! Let’s break down why that is the case.
What is a style guide?
A brand style guide is essentially a set of rules dictating specifications for anything that has to do with the design of your brand. This can include logos, typography, colors, slogans, imagery and beyond. We’ve seen guides physically put together in various forms, from actual paper documents to Power Point slideshows. The purpose—and the importance of style guides—is all about maintaining consistency in regard to the look of your brand.
The importance of style guides
They keep everyone on the same page.
When you have multiple entities interacting with your brand, you need a go-to reference to keep everyone consistent. This is where style guides come in. If there is ever a doubt as to which shade of a color to use, which version of the logo is accurate, or which font is to be used online vs. in print, the style guide will have the answers. This is especially important in the event that you are soliciting design work from a third party, like an ad agency or a publication, for example.
It makes internal transitions easier.
Say your company’s graphic designer of 10 years leaves the position, and doesn’t stick around to train the next person who’s hired. Nobody else at the company ever learned the ins and outs of your visual branding. What now? The importance of style guides is clear in a situation like this. The style guide acts as a physical teaching tool to make sure anyone who starts working for your brand knows exactly how it is to be portrayed. This is important so that even though there may be a staffing change at your company, to the general public your brand’s appearance remains consistent and uninterrupted.
They include files that are easy to pull when needed.
We get this all the time. A client asks us to design an ad, but either they do not have a logo on file at all, or it is not high quality enough for the ad (in other words, it would print or display blurry). When we ask for a higher-resolution logo, oftentimes it’s nowhere to be found.
Cue the importance of style guides. Style guides can include all of the files that an organization may need for a brand’s design work. This includes your logo in .pdf, .eps, .ai formats (vector), high-res photography for any secondary art associated with your branding and any fonts/colors you may use. A quick reminder, just saving a .jpeg as one of the above listed formats does not make it a vector! Also, don’t toss any files that you can’t open—because they are probably important.
How do I get a style guide for my brand?
Generating a style guide comes down to deciding on the specifics of your brand’s aesthetics and putting them into some sort of coherent format, whether that be a Word document, a slideshow, or even a short video. At McNutt & Partners, we take pride in creating style guides for our clients that they can get mileage out of across a variety of uses.
Brand style guides help ensure design consistency in an effort to maintain credibility in the eyes of your followers. A style guide is something that every brand should have on hand as business development takes place.
McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.