What do Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Nike and Apple have in common? These brands have all invested heavily in building and maintaining solid brand identities.
Coca-Cola is known for its catchy jingles and classic red and white logo. Similarly, Starbucks is recognized for its green mermaid logo and specialty drinks.
Nike, on the other hand, has created a recognizable brand through its iconic “swoosh” logo and powerful marketing campaigns. And finally, Apple has established itself as a tech leader through its sleek designs and cutting-edge products.
Brand identity helped these companies become some of the most recognizable names in the world. Creating a unique brand design will help you build customer affinity and stand out in an already saturated market.
Behind every successful brand identity is a comprehensive style guide that defines your company’s tone, typography, color palette, typography, visuals and more. In this article, we answer all your questions about brand design, including:
Read on and learn how a well-designed brand guide can help you build trust with your target market and grow your digital presence.
What Is a Brand Style Guide?
A brand style guide is a set of standards that define what your brand offers, what it stands for and what it looks like. It includes everything from logo design and brand identity to detailed instructions about typeface and tone of voice.
A brand style guide is also a valuable tool for third-party designers, web developers, marketers and anyone creating materials representing your brand.
Your brand style guide should be based on the following:
• Your mission/vision statement: What is the purpose of your company? What sets it apart from the competition? What do you see your company accomplishing in the long run?
• Your target audience: Who are your customers and what problems are you trying to solve for them?
• Your values: What beliefs or principles drive your organization?
A brand style guide governs the overall look and feel of your organization. It allows content creators to produce marketing materials with consistent messaging. Before you create your style guide, you need to know the ins and outs of your brand.
According to Raghu Mathiazhagan, a digital designer at Thrive Internet Marketing Agency, brand style guidelines should be as detailed as possible.
Aside from your basic logo design and color palette, style guides should cover alternative options, such as primary and secondary colors that complement the logo, multiple typography choices and appropriate sizes for images, paragraphs, headings and others. It can even include guidelines on patterns, gradients and backgrounds for images.
“The list can go on, but the more details, the more efficient the brand guideline will be,” Mathiazhagan said.
Six Essential Elements of a Brand Style Guide
We break down the most important elements to include in your brand style guide.
1. Brand Story
Firstly, what is a brand story? The majority of modern consumers want brands to connect with them and the best way to do that is by sharing a compelling brand story.
Your brand story expresses your company’s origin, mission and values. It lets you connect with your audience emotionally, building trust and loyalty.
A brand story must not necessarily be a narrative confined to your website’s About Us section. It can be communicated through various mediums, such as ad campaigns, product packaging, social media posts and even in-person customer interactions.
GoPro is one example of a company that has nailed its brand story. Its mission statement, “To free people to celebrate and live in the moment,” conveys its commitment to adventure and community building. By providing powerful cameras to athletes and amateurs alike, it gave users worldwide the means to share their experiences. GoPro also hosts annual challenges to encourage more people to join the community. Through this, the tech company can craft an authentic and relatable brand story based on real-life customer experiences.
2. Logo Guide
Logo design and brand identity go hand in hand. In fact, 50% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company whose logo they recognize (StudyFinds, 2020).
Consistency is key to making your brand recognizable. Clear brand style guidelines specify your logo’s design and usage, including acceptable colors, sizes and space around the logo.
Your brand guide should include multiple versions of your logo, such as short form or black and white versions. This provides your team some flexibility when putting your logo on various marketing materials.
3. Color Palette
Colors can influence emotional responses and help with brand recognition. Being consistent with your colors across all marketing materials, including logo, website and packaging, can help reinforce your brand identity and customer trust.
Additionally, your color palette must align with your brand’s message and values. Note that different colors can convey different meanings, moods and emotions. For instance, blue conveys calmness and professionalism, red signals passion and energy and orange communicates feelings of warmth and happiness.
Style guides also cover typography, which ties all brand communications together, from your website copy to your email newsletter. It specifies acceptable fonts, their hierarchies, sizes, boldness and spacing for your campaigns and custom web design.
Like colors, fonts can communicate certain emotions and personalities. Serif fonts like Times New Roman often express authority and professionalism. On the other hand, decorative fonts portray the creativity and individuality of a brand.
Brand imagery covers all visual elements representing your brand design, such as graphics, icons, illustrations, videos and photographs. It provides specific instructions on your custom web design and visual content’s composition, style and color palette. Having a consistent style for images shows that your brand cares about user experience and perception.
Your brand signature voice refers to the personality you adopt across your communication channels. Developing a strong brand voice enhances your company’s overall reputation and drives greater engagement.
If you’re looking for excellent brand voice examples, look no further than Wendy’s. The company often makes headlines with its unique brand signature voice. It combines a sassy and unapologetic tone with wit, humor and pop culture references, setting it apart from other fast-food chains. In today’s crowded online marketplace, Wendy’s honest and fun brand style allows it to capture its audience’s attention and drive them down the sales funnel.
Powerful Brand Style Guide Examples
These top brands are setting the benchmark for brand style guides:
Slack’s comprehensive brand guidelines make it a great brand style guide template. It encompasses all the essential elements related to their brand identity, from brand values and persona to voice and design elements. It also includes guidelines for brand governance, such as how to properly use Slack’s logo, trademarks and other intellectual property.
Spotify, a digital music and podcast streaming service, provides clear rules for user-facing content in its brand style guide. It outlines sizing and logo manipulation restrictions to aid partners and third-party developers. The brand’s style guide also includes downloadable files of its icons and logo variations.
Netflix gives its partners a central hub for brand style guidelines and digital assets. The guide provides detailed information on logo use, special-use wordmarks and co-branding principles. It also highlights practices to avoid when using their logo.
Work With a Full-Service Marketing and Web Design Company
The brand style guide examples above demonstrate an intentional and meticulous approach to building a brand identity. Every color scheme, font, spacing and visual element has been carefully selected to ensure the brand is always represented in the best light.
Amid endless ads and content competing for attention, it can be challenging to stand out and make a lasting impression. As a marketing and web design company rolled into one, Thrive can help you develop a solid brand signature design that sets you up for long-term success.