As a company who works with many startups, we’ve accumulated quit a bit of knowledge about startup pitfalls in a relatively short amount of time. Like any other post, our goal is to help you to avoid easily-avoidable mistakes as you start your business. So, here’s a piece of advice from our team…create a Brand Style Guide for your business as quickly as possible.
It’s in your best interest to create your Brand Style Guide as soon as possible because it helps establish legitimacy and shortens design time when creating marketing material. When we began our company we did not have a style guide. It didn’t break us, but when we did get around to creating one, it definitely made us better. Having a style guide helps to maintain the visual consistency and professionalism of your brand. Not only that, when you begin to build your team, you need to establish guidelines for all team-members to keep the company’s messaging uniform. Once you create your style guide it will simply become a quick design reference you and your team-members can turn to time and time again.
When you begin to craft a style for your brand, there are a few things you need to consider to ensure its effectiveness.
Things to Consider When Creating Your Style Guide
Your logo is the first and most important piece when it comes to creating your brand’s style guide. Most companies have more than one logo variation and so should you. There’s your primary logo, which is used specifically for websites, business cards, and any other important marketing materials. You should also have a secondary logo that will be used in situations where your logo needs to be reduced to a smaller size, such as for a favicon or a profile picture.
It is imperative that you outline what each logo variation is for, how it should be used, and when it should be used. When creating your logo think of these following questions:
- Is your logo scalable?
- How will your logo translate into black and white?
- What colors should your logo be and does it have different color variations?
- What it is the minimum size your logo can be?
- How will your logo look on a black, white or colored background?
When choosing fonts for your brand, you want to choose fonts that compliment your logo. Also, you want to keep in mind the number of fonts you have – two to three is all you need. Having just two or three fonts keeps your brand consistent, professional and streamlined. You don’t want to confuse your viewers! To help make some of the decisions easier, select the font from your logo to be your primary font. If your logo has more than one font, decide which font will be primary and the other will be secondary.
The amount of colors you use when branding is very important. Colors and fonts go hand in hand when it comes to grabbing your customer’s attention. You don’t want to overwhelm them with an abundance of color; it becomes confusing. Choose colors that are pleasing to the eye and complement your brand’s industry. All industries have brand specific colors so you may want to do some digging to find out your industry’s colors.
It’s always good to have some type of inspiration for your brand’s style guide. Inspiration can come from words or images. Having an image, or words of inspiration, helps to keep your branding consistent. There goes that word again: Consistency. Consistency is definitely the main reason for having a style guide because consistency is the key to being successful in everything you do. Your words or images of inspiration may change in every project that you do because, every project is not the same. However, incorporating your inspiration into your brand’s style guide ensures that all projects related to your product will be done correctly.