We’re sharing the basics of what to include in your one-page brand style guide to ensure that it serves as a great starting point for consistent and cohesive brand communication, across all brand touch points.
When it comes to consistent and cohesive brand communication, it’s absolutely necessary to have specific guidelines and ‘rules’ that need to be followed.
One of the most simple yet supportive visual brand documents is a one-page brand style guide – and today we’re going to chat all about what to include in this high-level overview so that it truly supports consistent brand communication.
IN THIS ARTICLE
>> What is a brand style guide?
>> What’s the difference between brand guidelines and a brand style guide?
>> What to include for logos
>> What to include for colors
>> What to include for typography
>> When and how is a brand style guide most useful?
What is a visual brand style guide?
Your brand style guide is a simple, one-page reference document for communicating your brand in a consistent and cohesive way. It houses the most important guidelines for your visual brand so that anything you create is operating from the same standard. Typically, it includes your primary logo, main variations, color palette and typography recommendations.
What’s the difference between brand guidelines and a brand style guide?
High level, the difference is in the depth of information provided.
The style guide is the summary of your visual brand identity and showcases the logo, color palette and typography. Think one-page document that showcases the most important information.
The brand guidelines are the in-depth rules and guidelines for how to appropriately apply and implement the visual brand identity and its various elements. Think multi-page document that walks through the nitty-gritty details.
Visual brand style guide and logo variations
The logo section, which is generally at the top, is what shows your primary logo and any necessary variations. If you only have two or three variations, it might make sense to include them all. However, if you have a variety of variations, select the ones that will be used the most. Again, the goal of this document is to give the high level view of the most necessarily brand identity information.
And in case you need a little more information, here’s a quick overview of the most common variations:
- The primary logo is your brand’s main logo – the main identifier of your brand.
- The secondary or alternate logo is arranged in a different composition than the primary and is more often than not, a simplified version of your main logo.
- The submark is the most compact version of the logo and is often in a circular composition.
- The brandmark is also a compact version of your business and uses graphic elements or a monogram (your business initials).
In our example for The House of Travel, we included a primary logo, alternate logo and brand mark for her style guide’s logo section.
Visual brand style guide and color palette details
The color palette highlights your brand’s main colors as well as their appropriate color codes. For most digital business owners, including the HEX codes are all that’s needed on a brand style guide – those are the colors after the ‘#’ sign.
We generally recommend four to six brand colors as well as a black variation and white variation. Again, the goal here is to give the most necessary information to the viewer.
Visual brand style guide and typography recommendations
The typography section is not where you call out the font that’s used in your logo but rather, the fonts that will be used in your marketing. Think website, social media graphics and email newsletters.
We recommend having a heading font, subheading font and a main body text font.
Visual brand style guide and patterns or graphics
The last section of a style guide is where you can highlight any patterns, textures or graphics that will be used in your brand elements. In the example below, we created a custom pattern for House of Travel. It’s not necessary to have this section but it can be helpful if you have those assets and want to make sure they’re being used.
When and how is a brand style guide most useful?
The whole point is to use the style guide often and share it with the most relevant people. Think virtual assistants, marketing support and communications support.
Here are a few more ideas to get you putting those guidelines to use:
- In Canva, we create a mini style guide on the first page for easy and quick access
- Save the guide on your desktop in PDF so you can easily pull it up to copy the HEX codes
- If you’re using WordPress with Divi, save the color codes in your theme settings so they automatically pull up when making website edits
- In WordPress, you can save your typography preferences in the ‘theme settings’ section
- If you’re creating a presentation, add the style guide preferences to the theme and custom colors so you can have quick access
At the end of the day, this one-page reference document is meant to support you and your team with consistent and cohesive brand communication. So, don’t be afraid to change and update the contents to align with what your business needs most!
All my best,
Additional visual brand resources:
Need font inspiration? Check out these 16 Google Font pairings.
Looking for color scheme inspiration? Take a look at these 25 brand season color palette ideas.
Not sure what logo variations you need? Read all about what they are and how to use them in your brand.
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