A style guide is a set of standards for the writing, design, and formatting of documents. It helps ensure consistency in communication materials and presents a cohesive image to the audience. Having a style guide is important for companies and organizations because it helps to establish and maintain their brand identity. It also makes it easier for multiple people to contribute to creating marketing and other materials, as they can refer to the guide to ensure that everything stays on brand.
A style guide should be comprehensive and cover all of the elements that make up a company's communication materials, including language usage, tone, and formatting. It can also include guidelines for visual elements such as color palette, typography, and imagery. A style guide is a living document that should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that it stays relevant and reflects any changes in the company's branding.
A brand guide, on the other hand, is a document that outlines the overall guidelines for a company's brand identity. It includes information on the company's brand values, mission, personality, and tone of voice, as well as guidelines for the visual elements of the brand, such as the logo, color palette, typography, and imagery.
In short, a style guide is focused on the technical aspects of how a company's materials are created, while a brand guide is focused on the overall identity and personality of the brand. Some companies may choose to combine their style guide and brand guide into one comprehensive document, while others may keep them separate.
Creating a brand guide is pivotal to keeping a company brand consistent. This is an important part of a design system. The most successful and notable brands in the world have great design systems in place and you should too.
Now that we’re clear on what a style guide is, let’s figure out how you can create one for your company:
This is an important first step in the process. You will need to consider what type of content the style guide will cover, such as marketing materials, web content, social media posts, or all of the above. It is also important to consider who will be using the style guide.
Will it be just for in-house use, or will it be shared with external parties such as freelancers or agencies? Having a clear understanding of the scope of the style guide will help ensure that it is comprehensive and relevant to the needs of the people who will be using it.
This includes looking for any existing branding guidelines or documentation that may already exist within the company. It can also be helpful to collect examples of materials that align with the desired tone and style of the company. This could include things like past marketing campaigns, social media posts, or any other materials that effectively convey the brand's personality and message.
By gathering these existing resources and materials, you can get a better understanding of what has worked well for the company in the past and use that as a starting point for creating the style guide.
Start by determining the voice and personality of your brand, as well as establishing guidelines for language usage. The tone of your brand's communication should be consistent across all materials, whether it is formal or casual, playful or serious.
It is also important to consider the audience that you are trying to reach and choose a tone that will resonate with them. In addition to tone, it is important to establish guidelines for language usage, such as word choice and grammar. This will help ensure that all materials are written in away that is consistent with the brand's style and personality.
Finally, work on defining the color palette and typography to be used in all materials. It is important to choose colors and fonts that align with the brand's personality and values. The visual style guide should also include guidelines for imagery and graphic design, such as the types of images to use and how to use them effectively.
By establishing these guidelines, you can ensure that all materials have a consistent visual aesthetic that aligns with the brand. It is also important to consider the different mediums that the materials will be used in, such as print, web, or social media, and adjust the visual style accordingly.
A style guide is an important tool for ensuring consistency in a company's communication materials. It should cover all elements of the company's materials, including language usage, tone, and formatting, as well as visual elements such as color palette, typography, and imagery.
A style guide should be comprehensive and relevant to the needs of those who will be using it. It is also important to regularly review and update the style guide to ensure that it stays current and reflects any changes in the company's branding.
By following these guidelines and regularly reviewing and updating the style guide, you can ensure that all materials presented to the public are consistent and on brand. If you need help designing your style guide or need help getting designs your brand deserves, Mad Creative Beanstalk is here to help. We’ve worked with 100s of early-stage startups and organizations to deliver quality designs that help them get noticed.