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How to create a visual brand style guide

May 17, 2021 | Visual Brand

We’re walking you through the step-by-step process on how to create a brand style guide!


What is a style guide?

Your brand style guide is the visual reference document for communicating your brand in a consistent and cohesive way. It houses the most important visual brand guidelines so that anything you create is operating from the same standard. Even better, when you are ready to bring on a team member, all you need to do is send over the style guide and anything they create will be aligned with your visual brand – again, because you’re working from the same set of standards.


Style guide step one: The primary logo

The primary logo is your brand’s main logo – the main identifier of your brand. Best uses include your website, business cards and printed material.


Style guide step two: Primary logo color variations

Make sure you receive a all-black and all-white variation of your primary logo. This will ensure you can use it in various use cases that need a single color. In the below example, you can see the botanical element was dropped for the single color variations.


Style guide step three: The alternate logo(s)

The secondary or alternate is arranged in a different composition than the primary. In addition, it’s more often than not a simplified version of your main logo. The best uses are those that need less space and still need to be legible, like presentations and printed material.

The submark is the most compact version of the logo and is often used as a watermark, favicon (the icon in your website browser’s tab) or social media profile picture. It’s generally circular in nature. If it’s a submark, it has your business name and/or tagline. If you’re looking for a brandmark or icon, there aren’t any words – just a graphic element or monogram (your business initials).

Free Canva Style Guide Template


Style guide step four: The brand color palette

I generally recommend four to six brand colors and include a black variation and white variation. If you aren’t sure where to start when choosing colors for your brand, check out this blog post that dives into choosing a palette based on your Brand Season. Not sure what that means? Seasonal Brand Theory is the idea that every brand is aligned with a specific Brand Season and each season has a certain set of attributes that help provide a certain experience. Click here if you want more information on identifying your brand’s season!

In this example, fall is the Brand Season, so the colors are darker in shade with mid to high saturation.

I also recommend adding in the HEX codes for each color – that way you don’t have to color check every time and can reference the style guide whenever you need to create a graphic.

Free Canva Style Guide Template


Style guide step five: The brand typography

I recommend having a heading font that is used for headings on your website, email template and graphics; a body copy font that is used as the main body text on your website, email and graphics; and a specialty font that is used more as an accent.

Free Canva Style Guide Template

And that my friends is how you can put together your own brand style guide so that you can ensure visual brand consistency!

Happy branding!

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.