Working with many great brands to encourage growth and consolidate their brand and visual identity, Elephants are no strangers to curating brand guidelines and compiling brand style guides. Last time, we gave you a checklist of the key visual elements and why they are important. This time, we’re putting that checklist into action so you can apply it to a consistent, solid brand visual.
Brand Style Guide
Also known as Brand Identity Guide, Brand Book and so on, a Brand Style Guide is essentially a rulebook that clarifies every detail that makes up the look and feel of your brand. It can be used internally and, more importantly, with your partners and other agencies to inform them on how to communicate your brand accurately and consistently across all communications.
Brand Style Guides will include elements such as your brand story and tone of voice. But today, we’ll be focusing on the key visual components.
1. Decide on your logo size and placement.
As we have said before, the logo is the symbol of your brand. You want to make sure that it is used exactly how you envisage it, whether on packaging, adverts or anywhere else.
Decide how big your logo should be and the parameters in which it appears; that is to say, does it always appear over black or white? How much blank space surrounds it? Does it go in the top left corner or the bottom right? These all matter when determining your brand visual identity. Set these guidelines out and any acceptable variations to help inform your design teams.
2. Pick your colour palette – then stick with it!
In your Brand Style Guide, specify how your colours will be used for your logo, website and products but also on advertisements, any staff uniforms or store designs. Dictate when and where the colours should be used and consider any occasions where alternative colours may be used, if any.
Once you’ve decided on your brand colours, don’t stray from them. Consistent use of your brand colours enhances brand recognisability.
3. Figure out the fonts which reflect your brand identity.
The way copy appears on your products, documents and other communications can impact how your brand is perceived. Think about the connotations of serif vs sans serif vs script, or caps lock vs sentence case. For example, The Ordinary use a simple sans serif font on their product packaging which reflects the simplicity of their brand.
Keeping your fonts consistent is important in ensuring a professional look and feel to your business. Your brand will likely have different typefaces for different purposes so be clear in your guide with which fonts are used where.
4. Curate images and graphics which bring your brand personality to life.
What is more visual than your brand graphics? Deciding on a style, working closely with your artists and designers to create sets of graphics which clearly from the same family and articulate your brand personality. Is your brand modern and innovative? Then you might opt for shapes with hard edges and straight lines. Young and quirky is your brand’s image? Then maybe rounded edges and abstract squiggles are your thing. A great example of effective brand imagery would be Innocent Drinks with their doodled graphics and fun shapes.
Ultimately, a Brand Style Guide is the master key to communicating your brand’s visual identity to your customers. Making sure you have the right information up-to-date and in one place will bring peace of mind as your business grows and develops.