Brand style guide and how to do it
Every brand has a with a basic blueprint of how it must function to achieve the desired goals. The basic building blocks of this blueprint are brand strategy, research, planning, execution, etc. But we are here to talk about one of the most important and influential aspect of all them all. i.e. Brand Style Guide.
Brand style guide basically helps these companies to take steps in the right direction. It is the bible of any developing or established brand out there which helps them with proper strategy development, themes, logos, etc. Now one might ask, what exactly is brand style guide? Just like the name suggests, it is a guidebook that helps companies with their overall development. Everything that comes under brand style guide revolves around the styling of the brand, including the backstory, logo design, fonts, images, themes, etc.
Brand style guide usually consists of these 6 elements:
1. Brand Story
3. Brand Voice
WHY EVERY BRAND NEEDS A BRAND STYLE GUIDE.
One might ask, why brand style guide? Because, it works on the basic phenomenon of consistency. If a company changes themes repeatedly, it becomes harder for the target audience to recognize its products, which is counterproductive. All the established brands out there are very consistent with their themes which allows their customers to recognize their products distinctly out of the masses. Brand style guide helps companies to find the consistency which ultimately brings the clients in. Branding is all about communicating with the audience and propagating what the company has to offer.
Elaborating more on these elements:
The backstory of a company plays a vital role in its development. It not only helps the clients to connect with the roots of the company’s foundation, but it also helps in setting the tone of decision making within the company itself. The company’s story is the most important part of its success. It makes the customers aware about specific aspects of the company, i.e. the motto, the struggle, the vision.
This story is basically the backbone of an organization, everything achieved by the company till date is inspired by this story. It not only plays a historical part, but also a social part in the overall development of the brand. This factor tells us how the organization has been communicating with its audience over the years. Hence this element can be termed as being fundamental in its own rights. One of the most inspiring backstories that comes to mind is that of Apple. Its story inspires us with the struggles and influences us with the success. Starting with the vision of Steve Jobs which has now become a legend of its own.
This is the face of a brand, the most important aspect of brand identity. The logo of a company is its first impression on the public. No matter how clients connect to a particular brand, they always remember it by the logo. The logo design should always resonate with the brand, it should be something which revolves around the main theme of as organization. Logo making process should be taken seriously as the entire social aspect of the brand depends on it.
These logos should not be very complex so that the customers can interpret the meaning behind them. Logos should also resonate with the story of the organization, which makes the story factor even more believable. For example, incorporating some logo transformation ideas from the past designs which are also mentioned in the story. This is just like shooting two birds with a stone. One can make an impressive logo along with a believable backstory.
The best example for this element is the windows logo, it has undergone several changes over the years but the basic idea revolving behind every version of this logo has been the same. And what makes this logo outstanding is the fact that it is so simple and catchy that even a toddler can draw it.
Voice of the brand
Just like the brand story, this aspect elaborates on how the brand communicates with the masses. It is the way, in which an organization speaks with its clients. Just like in the adjectives game, the organization comes up with words which define what they are and what they tend to do. Just like the theme, this aspect of brand strategy guide should also be consistent so that the target audience can easily recognize the respective brand.
The voice of a brand can also be some catchy taglines which stays in the subconscious minds of the public and hence it helps them in recognizing the respective brand. A very good example of this is the “Just Do It” tagline by Nike.
The logo is useful to remind the public about the services provided by an organization but what makes them avail these services are the consistent themes used by the company. Brands are what their themes make them. In some cases, the customers get so used to the ongoing theme that they tend to discontinue using the services if they don’t find the theme transformation up to their expectations.
These themes should be user friendly and while deciding one, the brand should always tread safely as this aspect can make or break their success. For example, people have been using windows in their computers for decades now. All the versions of windows have been following the same theme since the release, but the exception of windows 8. Which as we all know, failed to live up to the expectations just because, it was different.
Just as the name suggests, this element is related with the images used by the company for its propagandas. Pictures used by the brands should send a clear message to what they aim to achieve. It’s goals and objectives should reflect in these images. This factor also follows the consistency theme to a certain limit, as anything portrayed by the brand should never give a false idea. It is safe to say that just like the brand logo, images used by the brand also tends to affect its identity.
More importantly, images stay longer in the human brain as compared to words. Hence brands should incorporate more images in their publications as they have a huge impact on the subconscious mind. But on the same time, images used should never send the wrong idea or be counterproductive. For example, a company propagating peace and health should not use harsh or violent images for propaganda as they can have an inverse effect.
This category determines the readability and legibility factors in all the publications of a brand. Just like the other elements, this one should also follow the consistency factor. One should make sure that this aspect resonates with the main theme of the company alongside propagating the right idea. This factor basically has to do with the font theme of a brand, so while doing work on it, one should make sure that it matches with the main theme of the brand.
Balance is everything and things should be kept unique but simple. Hence factors like alignment, ratios, size should all be kept in harmony with the other aspects like images. Certain newsletters are well known for using a particular font style since the beginning. This does not sound like a big achievement, but the fact that a basic font detail like this got recognized by the masses is a huge deal.
Finally, everything discussed above should work hand in hand with each other for optimum results. Branding also plays an important part alongside brand style guide. It is the basic marketing practice which helps in shaping and developing a brand. But with everything discussed above, it’s clear that branding alone cannot propel a brand to the top. Without a proper blueprint, things generally don’t turn out as planned. Hence, brand style guide acts as a catalyst in the branding process which makes the journey easier and more viable all together. Thus, the key to a successful brand is proper planning and keeping it unique.