5 Steps to Creating your Brand Style Guide

You might be wondering - what is a brand style guide and why do I need one, right?

Well, simply put a brand style guide is a document that helps you to stay clear and focused on the visual elements of your brand and how you communicate it to the world. You have a clear understanding of what fonts, colours, design elements to use etc to build brand awareness and recognisability.

5 Steps to Creating Your Brand Style Guide

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Here are my top 5 steps to creating your own brand style guide.


Step 1 - Create an INSPIRATION BOARD

This is where you collate all of your thoughts and ideas on what you want to brand to feel like. What experience do you want for your audience when they interact with your brand? What colours, fonts, and style of images do you feel reflects your messaging? I find the easiest way to gather this information is to set up a secret Pinterest board. This means that only you can see it (or anyone else you invite) and it allows you to condense all of your visual ideas for your brand in one place.

This is the foundation of your brand style guide which you can refer back to when creating the other visual aspects of your brand. (I also use this strategy when working with clients so I know we're on the same page before any design work begins).

branding inspiration - clare drake


Step 2 - Create your LOGO and VARIATIONS

Once you have selected a few ideas for logos you love and saved them to your brand inspiration board you can start thinking about how to proceed with your own logo. When designing for clients I start with one main logo and add 2 variations (smaller variations ideal for profile photos/favicons etc).

logo and variations

Think about how you want your logo to appear - and how it will appear with different backgrounds on the web and in print.

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Step 3 - Select your TYPOGRAPHY

The typography you choose will be a crucial design aspect of your branding. It should be incorporated into the style and messaging of what your want your brand to feel like to your audience. Therefore, choosing the right font combination is extremely important. I suggest choose 2 fonts (to keep things simple I would choose 1 serif font and 1 san serif font as they complement each other extremely well).  Here are a few font combos that I love! Feel free to use any of them in your own branding if they work for you.

 Font Pairings from  skyla-design.com

Font Pairings from skyla-design.com

 

Step 4 - Decide on your COLOUR PALETTE

Having constraints on what fonts and colours to use will ensure brand (and business) focus. It will limit your options and make your brand more recognisable. You will notice that many in your niche use every colour and font imaginable in their communications. This is a great way of distinguishing
yourself from your competitors - and show you're a professional with a well thought out brand. Here's an example of my own brand style guide for Clare Drake. I suggest selecting 3-5 complimentary colours for your own colour palette.

brand style guide for clare drake

 

Step 5 - Choose your DESIGN ELEMENTS

Your design elements are textures, images and graphics that you use repeatedly to create brand awareness. You use these on your website, through your printed communications as well as your online presence (social media etc). You can get these through various stock photography sites or through creativemarket.com. Make sure you're happy with them because you'll be seeing them a lot!

 Blog kit design elements from  Pixejoo

Blog kit design elements from Pixejoo

Do tell me - do you have a brand style guide and does it help you to stay focused on your brand? If you don't have one - are you thinking of creating one?

Do let me know in the comments below - and remeber to download your free brand style guide template!

Clare x

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