Avoiding common mistakes in style guide creation
A brand style guide, also known as a brand guidelines document or brand book, is a set of guidelines that outlines how a brand should be presented to the public. It is a comprehensive document that provides guidance on all aspects of a brand’s visual and messaging identity, including its logo, color palette, typography, imagery, and tone of voice.
A brand style guide ensures consistency and coherence across all of a brand’s communication channels, such as websites, social media, advertising, and packaging. It sets the standards for how a brand should be represented in all contexts and helps ensure that all stakeholders involved in creating content for the brand follow the same guidelines.
7 steps to create a style guide
- Understand the brand – Before you can create a style guide, you need to have a deep understanding of the brand, its values, personality, and unique selling proposition. This will help you to create a visual identity that is aligned with the brand’s essence and resonates with the target audience.
- Define the brand identity – Develop a clear and well-defined brand identity that captures the essence of the brand, including its values, personality and mission. This will provide a foundation for creating a consistent and cohesive visual identity.
- Identify the core design elements – Determine the key visual design elements of the brand, such as the logo, color palette, typography, and graphic styles. These elements should be aligned with the brand identity and effectively communicate the brand’s values and personality.
- Create design guidelines – Develop guidelines for using the design elements of the brand, including specifications for logo usage, color codes, typography styles and sizes, and graphic design treatments. These guidelines should be clear and comprehensive, with examples and instructions for proper usage.
- Define application guidelines – Create guidelines for applying the brand design elements across different touchpoints, such as websites, social media, marketing materials, and packaging. These guidelines should include rules for layout, spacing, and other design considerations that ensure consistency and alignment with the brand’s identity.
- Incorporate feedback – As you develop the style guide, seek feedback from stakeholders, such as brand managers, designers, and other relevant parties. Incorporate their feedback to refine the guidelines and ensure that they are comprehensive and effective.
- Update and maintain the guide – A style guide should be a living document that is updated regularly to reflect changes in the brand identity or design elements. Ensure that the guide is kept up to date and accessible to all relevant stakeholders.
Overall, building a style guide is an important part of developing a strong visual brand identity that effectively communicates the essence of the brand to its target audience. By following these steps, you can create a style guide that provides clear and comprehensive guidelines for designing and applying the brand’s visual identity consistently and effectively across all touchpoints.
5 common mistakes in the style guide creation process
- A style guide that lacks clarity can lead to confusion and inconsistencies in the brand’s visual identity. This can include unclear or incomplete guidelines for color usage, typography, and other design elements. To avoid this mistake, make sure that the guidelines are clear and comprehensive, with examples and instructions that are easy to understand and follow.
- While it’s important to have guidelines that ensure consistency and alignment with the brand’s identity, overly restrictive guidelines can stifle creativity and limit the brand’s visual expression. To avoid this mistake, make sure that the guidelines are flexible enough to allow for variation and creativity, while still maintaining consistency with the brand’s identity.
- Building a style guide requires collaboration between different stakeholders, such as brand managers, designers, and other relevant parties. Failure to involve key stakeholders in the process can result in a style guide that is not aligned with the brand’s identity or fails to meet the needs of its intended audience.
- A style guide should be a living document that is updated regularly to reflect changes in the brand identity or design elements. Neglecting to update the guide can result in outdated guidelines that no longer accurately represent.
- A style guide that does not provide context for its guidelines can lead to confusion and ambiguity. To avoid this mistake, make sure that the guidelines are accompanied by explanations of the rationale behind them, as well as examples of how they should be applied in different contexts.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can create a style guide that provides clear and comprehensive guidelines for designing a
5 criteria to consider when looking for a design agency
We have gathered 5 criteria to guide you when looking for a design agency to build you a style guide:
- Portfolio and expertise – Look for a design agency with a strong portfolio that demonstrates their experience and expertise in creating visual identities and style guides for different brands and industries. Evaluate the agency’s track record for producing high-quality work that is well-aligned with the brand’s values and identity.
- Collaborative process – A good design agency should have a collaborative process that involves working closely with the client to understand their brand identity, values, and goals. The agency should be able to translate this information into a visual identity that reflects the brand’s unique personality and sets it apart from competitors.
- Understanding of the target audience – A good design agency should have a clear understanding of the brand’s target audience and how the visual identity can be used to effectively communicate with and engage this audience. The agency should be able to develop design solutions that resonate with the target audience and are appropriate for different touchpoints and platforms.
- Attention to detail – A good design agency should have a keen eye for detail and a focus on delivering high-quality design work that is consistent, cohesive, and visually appealing. The agency should be able to create a comprehensive style guide that covers all the necessary design elements, including color palette, typography, imagery, and other design elements.
- Communication and project management – A good design agency should have strong communication and project management skills, with the ability to keep the client informed and involved throughout the design process. The agency should be able to set clear expectations for deliverables, timelines, and budget, and should be responsive to feedback and able to make changes as needed.
By evaluating potential design agencies against these criteria, you can identify a partner who has the expertise, process, and skills needed to create a strong visual identity and style guide that helps your brand stand out and connect with your target audience.