One of the fundamentals for all types of marketing is a
brand style guide for your company. Having this information in one place for
reference will make all your branding item creation easier! Your branding guide
contains things such as all variations of your logo, the fonts you use on all
your branding pieces from website to social media posts to print advertising, the
colors of your brand, and makes it easy for someone to step in and help with
content creation. Organizing this information and having the formatting handy
will help cut down the time it takes for your marketing person or graphic
designer to put together your advertising pieces. I highly encourage you to
take the time and create this guide to save yourself both time and money in the
WHAT THINGS SHOULD BE
IN A BRANDING STYLE GUIDE?
To start, you need to put your logo variations into one
document. Do you have a larger logo that you use on your letterhead and
website? Is there a smaller one that is used on other items? All the designs
should be listed and have a clear description of where each logo is to be used.
Remember to list things such as your letterhead, website, social media, print
marketing, educational pieces, brochures, etc. Any content that your company creates
needs to be listed.
Font is a HUGE one that people tend to forget. The fonts
used on all your marketing pieces should be consistent with one another. If you
are using one font as a header on the website, it needs to be included as the
main header font. Same goes for sub headers, paragraphs, letterhead, etc. The
fonts should be listed along with font size for reference. You can even go one
step further and download the fonts and save them into your marketing folder
along with your logos and branding guide. This way, if you hire someone to help
with a design piece or have your marketing team work on something new, they
have access to everything they need.
Another thing that is crucial to be in your branding guide
are the color choices for your company. This information needs to include the
various color codes (RGB, Hex, CMYK, and the name of the color). It is easy to
replicate colors if you have the codes associated and it’s a way to guarantee
that your branding colors are consistent. Be sure to also note where each color
is used and how they work together. If you make all your headings in one type
of social media posts a certain color, you need to put that into your guide
under social media posts. Same goes for your website and the color integration.
If you used a graphic designer, they should have sent you a document with all
colors and fonts used for your brand. If they didn’t, reach out and see if this
is something they will send over. If you have done all your color choices in
house, take the few minutes to update this information in the guide to save
time and money later.
Once you have the basics in your design file and style
guide, now is the time to get creative. Take a snapshot of your letterhead and
how it is designed so that all future pieces can be based upon what you already
have in place. Same goes for your business card and any other print marketing
pieces you have previously designed. Be sure that all fonts and logos are
consistent with the information in the style guide and save copies of all
pieces for reference.
Do you advertise in Serenity, the local paper, at high
school sporting events, or sponsoring your local non-profit events? Be sure to
include copies of the previous advertisements and that they follow your guide.
Make updates as necessary and utilize these changes in your next print. Having
this template available helps to make the design process faster. If you have
the original files used to create the piece, be sure to have that as well! This
could help you save an immense amount of time so that you only must update a
graphic or some word choices to create a new ad.
This same rule for print marketing applies to your social
media content. To promote brand awareness, your graphics should have the same
overall feel. If you are posting diverse types of content, be sure to save each
of the designs to replication is simple. Your followers on social media should
be able to recognize it is a post from you just by the color choices, font, and
style without even seeing your logo. This is a part of brand awareness that can
be overlooked when creating content. Consistency is key here. Once you find a
design you are happy with, be sure to keep that style in future pieces.
Another thing you should list in your guide is your favorite
site to get stock photos for marketing. Using free tools such as Pixabay and
others are crucial! Use images that have a free license for use. If you find
the perfect image for your company on another site, be sure that you pay for
the image and save a copy of the license in your marketing file. Many people
are cracking down on the unauthorized use of their images and a DMCA take-down
notice is a quick way to take several hours out of your day and possible
several hundred dollars out of your bank account. Use only images that have
been created for you and be sure that your graphic designer is using images
that are licensed for your use. You are responsible for any content that is
created on your behalf so be sure you ask the question. A simple mistake could
be very costly for you down the road.
For a sample of a branding guide, please visit our reference materials. This template is something that you can use to build your own. If you have any questions or would like assistance, SMM is here to help! You can schedule a free consultation here.
Now get out there and be social (with consistent branding,