Creating A Style Guide For Your Brand + A Template to Create One
For the past two weeks, I’ve been giving you pointers, tips, and free templates to guide you through your own branding design process. And it’s been a blast!
And if you’re just tuning in, catching up is easy.
First, I explained the importance of having an inspiration board, and exactly how to make one. I use the images you collect and pull in colors, patterns, textures, and photos that visually represent the tone and theme of your new brand.
Then last week, we talked about how to craft a logo that captures your brand message in a powerful way.
And now it’s time to create your—drumroll—brand style guide! It’s a single-page PDF that includes guidelines about how exactly your brand will use:
These are the elements that really complete your brand. Your brand style guide digs deeper than even your inspiration board, and solidifies each detail that needs to be cohesive across your brand.
Your brand style guide can be used as a reference for you and any designers you work with in the future. Every time you create a new image or other piece of content for your brand, these established guidelines will make it easy to keep your brand consistent and beautiful.
It’s time for those first steps in creating your style guide.
When you create your style guide, you collect, organize, and create images and text that appeal to you. Then you compile those preferences into your document.
To begin, I recommend adding shots from other websites, as well as a few textures. Textures can give your site plenty of depth and add some visual interest.
You can also use stock photography or photos you’ve taken yourself to capture the vibe of your brand. This part of the process takes a while, so keep compiling until you feel good about what you’ve chosen!
Now it’s time to create the rules.
After you’ve gone over the fonts, colors, patterns, illustrations, photos, and more, and pulled them into a document, you get to formalize them in a set of rules. And don’t worry, these are fun rules you’ll actually want to follow!
Choose 2-3 fonts you’ll use throughout your site for the text, blog post titles, headings, subheadings, sidebar, and anywhere else you’ll need to place text. (Remember, you’ll probably already have a logo, but if not go back and check out my post where we talk logos.)
Take a look at your inspiration board and choose 2-4 colors to use consistently throughout for brand. You’ll need designated colors for body font, titles, graphics, and more.
Need some color inspiration? Pay a visit to kuler.adobe.com. I know you’ll love it—I could get lost over there being creative for hours!
Make a note of the hex code (that’s the 6-digit code) for each color you choose. Whenever you create or edit designs using Canva, Picmonkey, or Photoshop, you’ll know exactly which color to use. And trust me—if you ever team up with a designer, she’ll thank you! ;)
Style up your brand images with overlays and other decorative elements. Will your overlays be translucent, or more opaque? Will you use collage-style images? Have fun testing these out, then make sure you decide on a consistent method of styling images for your brand.
Don’t forget social media images! Will you use one type of Instagram filter so your images are instantly recognizable? How about a watermark for your social media images across all social media—what kind of text will you use?
If you plan to use infographics or stylized quotes in your brand, how do you want those to look? Choose overlays, text for graphics, and colors for your backgrounds. Make them consistent!
How will your writing throughout your brand “sound”? Sarcastic, funny, maybe serious?
You can also create a list of words and phrases that should (and should not) be used in your writing and promotional materials. Be sure to send this along to any guest writers, too!
Blog Post Style
What rules should you have for stylizing your posts? For example, how many pictures would you ideally want to include in each post?
Decide on your text, spacing, and formatting rules. Choose different text sizes for the headings, titles, and body font. How much space do you think looks good between each line of text? These are examples of those nitty-gritty details that every polished brand has down cold.
There’s a lot to think about, right? And these categories I’ve listed for you here only scratch the surface of what you’ll need to consider to create a comprehensive style guide for your brand.
But I’ve got a surprise for you! :)
I’m giving you a FREE style guide template so you can get started on creating a brand that’s cohesive, polished, beautiful, and most importantly...a brand that’s true to who you are and what your brand stands for.
I’m here to make visual branding strategy fun for you, so dig in and have a blast!
To being stylish and being you,
PS: What categories were the most fun for you as you created your brand style guide? Which parts were the most challenging? Let me know in the comments!