Ever accidentally send out a flier with an old logo? Or have an employee who went rogue on comic sans? It may not seem like a big deal at first, but inconsistent branding can cause all sorts of confusion for members of the public and for your internal & external teams.
So whereas a Communications Guide will help to ensure consistency in messaging, a Style Guide will help to make sure everyone is visually aligned. Here are 5 components to include:
- Logo Usage – A logo is a symbol of your organization, so having a clear handle on all aspects of usage is very important. This includes being specific on colors, backgrounds, sizing, and spacing, and in what circumstance each can and should be used. Your logo may look different as a profile icon on your Facebook page than horizontally across a brochure. Your Style Guide should list each of these instances of usage.
- Co-Branding – Does your organization ever work with partners or sponsors? If so, specify in your Style Guide how co-branding functions horizontally, vertically, or in social media. Take the guesswork out for your partners and you’ll end up saving a lot of time and money.
- Primary Colors & Color Palette – Just because your logo is one color, doesn’t mean you can’t use more colors to help highlight or complement your overall look. Work with your design team to put together a color palette to use in your texts and call to actions.
- Font, Photography, and Graphic Elements – Specifying your font means thinking through its size, spacing, and justification. What do headline fonts look like versus fonts in the body of a document? What about on your website versus a billboard? Are there certain pictures your organization like to use more than others? Are there certain shapes that should be included in the background of your brochures? Be specific so you have both variety and consistency.
- Application – Now pulling everything together, your Style Guide should include information on how the above elements will be applied. Specify any differences to note from printing merchandise, to vinyl wrappings on your building, to your business cards.
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