What is a style guide? Do I need one?

You’ve just got yourself a shiny new logo. Brand done. right?

Wrong. You’ve really just started. We are not talking about just a logo here, we are talking about a brand and your extended marketing material.

You’ve got your logo and maybe you can visualise it on a few items, perhaps a business card, the top of a letterhead or embroidered onto a uniform and maybe you can’t. What about those more complicated items, something like how a, a brochure might look? What about an annual report or a vehicle wrap? Can you picture how those items might look? It’s pretty hard with just a logo.

Even if you could picture all this all, the big question still remains – do you really know how to use it correctly? What are the exact colours? What the right fonts? Are there fonts for the logo only? Are there fonts for content? Are there things you should and shouldn’t be doing with the logo?

To some, answering these questions might sound like restrictions, but they are actually guidelines to protect your brand by making sure the logo is used consistently. Without consistency, your logo will lose its power and your brand becomes watered down. So how do you prevent this?

This is where a Style Guide or a Brand Guide comes in.

The benefits of a Style Guide

A Style Guide is the rule book for your visual identity. It outlines how your logo should be used when you use specific elements such as reversed logos, stacked logos, secondary visual elements. It will show you what type to use, what colours for printing and digital use and gives an overview of your brand. An extended Style Guide will show not only how the logo should be used but also provide a range of marketing material examples.

It is a great introduction to a brand that is intended to be picked or given to anyone and have them know exactly how your logo should be treated. Not only is this a handy asset for when new people start working with the visual aspects of your business but it is also an invaluable resource to refer to from time to time to make sure you’ve not strayed away from your core vision or let inconsistency creep in.

A Style Guide is like a warranty for your logo that keeps your brand on track when you:

  • Produce work in-house
  • Work with other designers or website developers
  • Supply your logo for printing
  • Work with media partners or sponsors.

It’s always ideal to have a Style Guide prepared at the time of your logo creation but the best thing is, it’s never too late, and having a strong Style Guide will strengthen any brand.