Anatomy of a Brand Styling Guide

At ICONIC when we create logos for our client's we aren't just focused on producing a great image, we're aiming to create an amazing brand.


We also understand that many small business owners love to be hands on with their business, so it's our aim to ensure we provide all the tools to continue to implement their new branding consistently! For this reason, every logo design we create comes with an all including branding style guide; a basic rulebook that outlines the way a business presents itself.


This month we're giving you an insight into the many components of a brand that you should consider and pin down in order to create the strongest possible brand for your own business!



THE KEY ELEMENTS


Logo


The most obvious element of any brand to be included in your brand style guide is your logo, especially as many of the other elements and rules of your brand will be determined by your logo!


Your brand style guide should not only show the finished logo in it's original form, but any other variations of the logo that are allowed. This can include layouts where, if your logo contains an icon and text for example, the icons position may be moved to allow a square or rectangular build that suits various formats, or colour variations such as black and white, or inverse to provide clarity on different backgrounds.

Typography


Your brand styling guide should include all typography (or fonts) used within the brand. We include a general examples of how all the letters and numbers available in each font look, but you should also expect an example of how the fonts are used practically.


It's important to outline the fonts and styles designated for titles, subheadings, general text and highlighted or emphasized text; in essence all elements of a typical written document. Any fonts used in your logo are handy to include even if not used throughout the creation of further documents or web design, just make sure this is noted in your style guide. (We've had a number of clients, for example, that required a logo refresh or recreation but didn't know the fonts used which makes the possibility of recreating exactly quite difficult).


Including an example of how such a paragraph looks is also a handy tool to have for you or your staff to reference when creating documents in the future.


Colours


Outlining the colours used within the brand is essential to any branding style guide!

We include a visual example of each colour, and if you're getting a guide from another designer or putting one together yourself make sure the HEX code and RGB or CYMK values are included! This is essential for making sure the same colours are used each and every time; the eye dropper tool is unreliable at getting exact replicas of colours which, though may be passable on a screen, can become incredibly noticeable when it comes to print.


You can also include the Pantone (if it exists) but this is not necessary.


Including the allowed hue variations for colours is also a great idea, as it is a common tool in document design, and will assure your future designs remain on point.




OPTIONAL THINGS TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR BRAND


Photography (& Imagery)


Most businesses these days use a lot of photography or imagery within their design and marketing materials, so it's not a bad idea to pin down a general set of rules for selecting or creating photos.


Trends to consider are subjects, moods, colours, hues or saturation.


We like to include a small set of images to demonstrate the general feel of imagery choice alongside any specific rules so clients have something to base their own choices on in the future.




Brand Story


Not specifically visually related, but some businesses like to include the businesses story and goals in their Brand Styling Guide. This can include things like the brand's "Mission", vision, target audience, personality or values. Anything that gives a firm idea of the goals behind the content being created.


Brand Voice


An outline and ruleset for written content the brand produces; your brand voice can include key or target words. The simplest method to do this is outlining words you like, that truly capture your brand's personality and goals, and words you wish to avoid.

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