How to Create a Brand Style Guide for Your Business

Are you making a good first impression with your potential customers?

As your business grows, you’ll have more and more opportunities to make a good first impression. People should have the same experience with your business, whether they see your logo on your company vehicle or go to your website to learn more about your services. 

Your brand is more than just a logo and color combination, though. It’s what people expect from your company and how they talk about you when referring others to your business. 

-And making a brand style guide is a great way to help you stay on track!

What a Brand Style Guide is and Why You Need One

A brand style guide is a document that outlines the specific fonts, colors, images, and styles that you want to use for all of your marketing materials. It can help to create a cohesive look across all of your branding, and it will make your company’s overall look more professional. 

Creating a brand style guide can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be!

If your business doesn’t have a mission statement already, you should think about what makes it unique and take the time to put it on paper.

What’s your company’s voice and personality? 

Who is your customer? 

What would they expect when interacting with you?

Answering these questions is a great place to start shaping what the heart and soul of your company looks like visually. Then, choosing the right design elements will help you achieve that goal. 

Remember, the intent is to create a guide that will help you maintain a consistent look and represent your brand’s voice and personality. So, don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with it!

How to Create a Brand Style Guide

When deciding on the overall tone and voice of your brand, here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Start by creating a mood board. This can be as simple as cutting out images from magazines that reflect the look and feel you want for your brand, or you can create a digital mood board using Pinterest or another online tool. 

It may seem unnecessary, but having this in place first is a helpful way to keep your thoughts and ideas organized.  It also gives you a visual representation that may help you make connections you wouldn’t otherwise have seen.

2. Once you have a good idea of the overall style you’re going for, it’s time to start thinking about specific elements like colors and fonts. Make a list of 3-5 colors and choose 2-3 fonts that you’ll use for all of your marketing materials. Don’t forget to do your research on color and font associations and continue to go back to your mood board for inspiration. 

You’ll want to include things like the color names, CMYK swatches, and hex codes (the HTML version of color names) in your guide. 

Also, be sure to find out if there is a cost associated with the use of the font or images you use in your marketing. Some fonts and images have specific copyright rules, and you will want to make sure that you are following their guidelines.

3. Your logo is one of the main things that people picture when they think of your business, and it should make it easier for them to remember your brand. It’s a good idea to put your logo and a description of what it stands for in your brand style guide. 

You can put as many different versions of your logo as you want in your style guide, but make sure that each one has a purpose. Outline as many parameters as you’d like, including dimensions and color selection that show exactly how your logo can and cannot be used.

If you haven’t put much thought into your logo design, you will want to check out why that’s so important in our previous blog post.

4. Now you are ready to create your brand guide to keep on hand or as a digital file that you can easily share with others. 

Include all of your chosen colors, fonts, and any other elements like photos, images, or wording that you want to use and circumstances or exceptions for any changes and a detailed list of those examples.

5. Finally, make sure to review and update your brand style guide on a regular basis. As your business grows and changes, so too will your branding. 

By keeping your style guide up-to-date, your branding efforts will always reflect your business in the best light.

Examples of Brand Style Guides

This page, taken from Scrimshaw Coffee’s brand guide, is a great example of how to showcase different colors and logos and how they can be used in marketing.

Njord Organic Restaurant shows just how detailed a brand style guide can be.

To see a wide range of the types of brand style guides different companies use, visit issuu.com.  

Saving You Time and Money

Your company’s style guide should be created early on in the branding process and updated as needed. Having this document on hand will make putting together promotional materials much easier.  It should also make it easier to bring in an outside marketing team if you get to that point.

With a list of your preferred fonts, colors, and styles, you’ll be able to save time, energy, and money by ensuring that everyone on your team is on the same page when it comes to your design standards. 

Again, the importance of making your business more memorable to customers, and therefore building more trust and customer loyalty, can’t be stressed enough.

If you’re ready to create a branding style guide for your business, our team at IFTS Inc. can help! Contact us today for a free consultation at 412-715-6266!

Do You Need a Professional Logo Designer For Your Company?

Are you in the process of starting a small business and want to build your brand’s identity successfully? With a myriad of marketing strategies and slogans to consider, knowing where to invest your time and money is critical to your success.

Why is a professional designer so Important when it comes to your company’s logo?

Is this really a big deal, or is it something that can be put off while you focus all of your time and energy on running your company? 

Why not just put your name and phone number on a business card along with some clip art and call it a day? 

Even in the world of small businesses, it’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to overlook the importance of having an eye-catching logo in place before they open their doors. If you’re not a professional graphic artist, it’s best to hire a professional logo designer.

Image is Almost Everything

According to a Promotique by Vistaprint survey of 2,000 Americans’ knowledge of today’s top logos, logo recognition, and thus logo design, is extremely important: 

  • Half of those polled said they were more likely to use a company with a well-known logo. 
  • 60 percent of those polled said they don’t buy from companies with unusual or ugly logos, even if they have positive reviews. This is especially true if the company is unfamiliar. 

Really?? You’re saying that my distinctly average logo might turn off potential customers, despite my stellar reviews? 

Regrettably, yes. 

It seems obvious. Do you have a bad logo? That’s not good. Do you have a good logo? That’s great. However, when we consider that 85 percent of those polled said that when they find a logo they like, they are more likely to stay loyal to that business, we can see how important great logo design is.

Color, Consistency and Creativity is Key in Logo Design

We all know that different colors influence our decisions and moods on a daily basis, …but have you considered that the logo you designed with your spouse’s favorite color might not appeal to your clients in the same way? 

Do you have enough time to create a thoughtful logo that incorporates all of the elements of good design, such as color, font type, line thickness, and direction? 

Are you aware of your ideal customer’s design preferences? 

Your logo design will not create a meaningful connection with your customers if you are inconsistent, and it will negatively affect their trust. The psychology of how design affects us is fascinating and fun to learn about, but imagine the stress relief of knowing that this attention to detail is taken care of for you with a professionally designed logo.

Not all Freelancers are Created Equal

Hiring a professional graphic designer will set your company apart from the rest, but where do you find this one-of-a-kind person who can potentially make or break your branding efforts? 

Just because someone is inexperienced or cheap doesn’t mean they can’t make a great logo for you. But making sure your logo is thoughtfully executed should be their top priority. This is where communicating your company’s style and the audience you are trying to reach comes into play.

A good designer should be an excellent listener and take your business seriously. Someone who is also good at understanding your customers’ needs and preferences will help your overall relatability. 

Make sure you get a good idea of this before you hire them by looking at their previous work. Someone who charges $5 for a logo on Fiverr probably has a lot of other work to do and won’t take the necessary time to learn about your business and clients. 

Many do-it-yourself design apps say that you can make your own logo in minutes and for a few dollars. This may be true, but the goal is to make your brand stand out by using a process and style that are as unique and personal as you are.

Is a Logo Redo Necessary?

Are you one of the companies whose logo was maybe more of an afterthought? Then, it’s probably worth considering having one professionally made. 

Say you already have a logo, and it’s one you really like, but it’s not quite reflecting the style and direction you want your brand to go. Then, yes, it sounds like a new logo would be a no-brainer. 

However, there is a pretty legitimate exception to having your logo reimagined. 

When you already have a strong following of committed customers, you could potentially spark a negative response to a logo redesign because, subconsciously, this change feels like a mini betrayal. 

In 2009, the company Tropicana revamped its logo from a straw-poked orange to a large glass of orange juice with its trademark repositioned vertically. Less than two months later, there was a 20 percent loss in sales! They were quickly forced to calm the masses by switching back to their original packaging and, thankfully, restoring peace to the universe. 

Simply put, most of the time, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Need to Hire a Professional Graphic Logo Designer?

Now, hopefully you aren’t questioning all of your branding decisions up to this point, but when it comes down to the success of your business, ultimately, what matters most is the quality of products and services you provide to your customers and building solid relationships along the way. 

At IFTS Inc., we are just as committed to our clients as you are to yours, and we have a passion for all things digital marketing and web design, including brand strategy and logo design. If you are stuck and just don’t have the time or expertise to become a local celebrity, we can help!

Contact us today for a free one hour consultation at 412-715-6266.