When you started your own business, you created a brand. Your business name, your logo and the colours you chose, all come together to form an identity for your business. However, looking after and maintaining your brand may not seem so important – after all, you’ve got a business to run. But as your business grows, maintaining a consistent brand and style through your marketing channels, your website and social media is of utmost importance.
Creating a company style guide will ensure your brand is protected and maintained over time. Your business will always appear professional, with a consistent look and feel at every touch point. As you bring people into the business, a guide will quickly bring everyone up to speed with best practices and can also be shared with your creative agency – should you ever use one. Here are a few tips on what to include when creating a company style guide.
Since you will be giving your company style guide to any new starters in your business, it’s worth taking the time to talk about the brand. Introduce your business and it’s story – how did it all begin? Talk about the vision and mission, and mostly importantly, your target audience. Who are you talking to? Outline how your product or services are designed to benefit your customer, and talk about the future goals for the business, so everyone is on the same page.
2 Logos and fonts
Next, it’s time to talk about your company logo. Give examples of your logo, in all its varieties, with instructions on when and where to use each one. In addition to the logo, you should also outline your fonts, including the correct weights and sizes and where to get them – just in case an employee doesn’t have them access to them.
Next comes the colour palette. Detail exactly what colours can be used and when, including RGB and CMYK values of each colour. Most brands will have 1-5 colours that they predominantly use in their marketing collateral. If you have a designer on staff, ask them to create a professional colour palette for you.
Imagery can be used for a variety of purposes, whether it’s in a powerpoint presentation or an Instagram post. Detail exactly what images can be used, along with instructions on where to find them and the correct sizes are in pixels. If you use stock imagery, include the log in details, along with instructions on what types of images you would like used eg. Horizontal or vertical, with people or without, brightly coloured or muted or black and white etc.
You may not have a dedicated writer on staff but almost every staff member will need to create written content at one point or another, whether it’s a Facebook post or an email on behalf of the business. Inside your company style guide, you can include your tone and voice guidelines. Be specific and include examples of writing out numerals, the use of quotations, preferred sentence structure etc. You can also go through the proper spelling and grammar of any brand names and titles. Eg. QuickBooks, not quick books.