You Be Stylin' - Why every brand needs a style guide.
What you stand for, what you believe in, and (giving props to Simon Sinek) what your “Why” is - all translates into the language of your brand. To establish trust with your audience it is important how you present yourself to the public, how you appear to your clients and how you live your brand day to day. In this day and age, transparency is key to building loyalty and gaining a following. If people feel you are consistent and believe what you say you do, they are more apt to believe you when you talk about your products features and benefits and how it can add to their lives. So create a document, a bible of standards, for how you are going to support your vision and your brand every day. You will need to make sure that your brand and the message it relays are congruent with each other or you will not develop any credibility in the minds of consumers. Your brand’s style guide should express and support what you profess to be your values, your beliefs, your company goals and the style in which you want to convey these messages. Make sure to address the following when tackling your own style guide: Tone of Voice The way you “talk” – what “language” are you using, is it formal, friendly, casual, or ??? What is the typography you will use, the font styles and sizes that will consistently represent something that you put out under your brand How will your logo appear in color, or in black and white, or in reverse? What dimensions must it adhere to, and will it always need a lock up with your tagline or can it stand alone? Do you have a favicon, when is that used instead of the logo? What is the intention of all communications (or the majority) – will it be to educate, motivate, or provide a source of enjoyment or fun for the audience What type of images will you use? Is there anything that you will absolutely stay away from in your content (such as politics and religion, etc.)? Since the only constant is change, be prepared for your Style Guide, even once written down as your “bible”, to evolve and grow as your brand does. Make a point, at least once a year to review it and to update it where needed to make sure that you are continuing to be and believe in, all that you say you are.