Do you have a style guide?  Many don’t consider creating a style guide until they start to develop their tool bag full of marketing goodies – collateral, advertising, presentations, a website, etc. – and they realize they need to work with someone else to create the deliverable in mind. One of the first things a graphic designer will ask is, “Do you have a style guide?”  Well, after reading this blog entry, you can say, “Yes.”

We started with our logo, defining the colors, design, and how it would be used. From there, we developed stationary, business cards, and started work on our website. With each new deliverable, we made sure to use the same font or a complementary font depending upon medium. Our objective was – and continues to be – to keep it simple so that it’s easy to use and understand.

What is a style guide and why do you need one?

A style guide provides instruction to designers and content writers on how to create consistent branding across all customer and employee communications – whether it’s collateral, websites, presentations, direct mail and email campaigns, advertising, or other deliverables. The more consistent you are with your branding, the higher the probability is that customers will recall your company and its offerings, and trust your company enough to do business with you.

Your style guide can be prepared by yourself or someone you hire. To be an effective tool, your style guide should be brief, but cover the following aspects in sufficient detail to provide direction to those helping with your marketing initiatives and campaigns. A style guide should include the following elements:

For more subjective elements like tone or emotion portrayed, provide examples of what’s desirable versus what is unacceptable; this will help clarify intent and enable your staff and vendors to provide a consistent look and feel to customers.

With increased consistency in your brand across customer touchpoints, recall and trust in your business improves, increasing brand equity; this in turns improves your bottom line because customers tend to gravitate towards products/services with credible reputations.

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