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How to Make a Style Guide for Your Business

Updated: Jun 6, 2022

A brand style guide is a visual representation of your company's core values, vision, and goal. In addition, it explains exactly how your brand should be communicated to others. So how do you put together a style guide for your company? How to do it in five simple steps? That's what we're here for!

  • What is a style guide for a brand?

  • Defining characteristics of a company's brand

  • How to write a style guide for your company

  1. What inspires you?

  2. Style guidelines for a company's visual identity include these six components.

  3. Additionally, there are other brand-specific requirements

  4. Build the book from the ground up

  5. Prepare for the future

What is a style guide for a brand?


A brand style guide is a set of guidelines outlining a company's logo, typeface and color scheme, imagery, and other visual elements. Alternatively, it's a reference tool that helps ensure that a brand's visual, aural, and tactile attributes remain consistent. As strong as this text is, don't be intimidated by the fact that some people refer to it as a brand bible.

To guarantee that the appearance and feel of your brand is consistent, you should use a brand book.

What is the significance of brand guidelines?


Think of your company's personality as your brand identity. It's how the rest of the world comes to know and like you. A person who constantly alters their appearance and demeanor will not be trusted, and you will not know who they are.

One officemate who usually wears a suit and tie, with his hair nicely styled, is an example of this. Then imagine if the same individual showed up to work one day with his or her beard untrimmed, wearing cutoff jeans, and a fresh tattoo depicting a tiger riding his or her motorcycle into a fire. Because it's different from what you're used to, it'd be strange. You could even check up on him to make sure he was okay.

Inconsistency in a brand's messaging might lead to dissatisfied customers. Because a style guide ensures that your organization communicates in a uniform manner across all teams and channels, it is critical.

The most important aspects of a brand's identity


You need to know your brand before you can establish a style guide. Mission, vision, audience, personality and fundamental values are the five most important elements.

To truly develop your company's brand identity, you must have all of these elements in place since they communicate exactly who you are to the outside world. These are the concrete pieces of your brand style guide that communicate those crucial components to the world through design.

Vision and mission: Write a mission statement and a vision statement for your organization to explain why it exists and where you want it to go. As long as they're consistent with your brand, these can be enormous or little (changing the world or solving a minor, unpleasant problem).

Target demographic: In order to better understand your consumers, describe their demographics and explain why they need you (i.e. how your products or services solve their problems). Make sure to incorporate any findings from market research that might assist your team better interact with your consumers. You can learn more about defining your target audience here.

Personality: A list of 3-5 words that best define your brand should be compiled. As a result, both the design and writing processes will be influenced. So, are you classy or eccentric? What do you think? Seek out the opinions of others on your team.

It's also a good idea to write down 3-5 adjectives that describe your brand in a negative way. As a matter of fact, many advertising firms begin their branding efforts by conducting a "Is/Isn't" activity.

Values: Determine the company's guiding principles for making choices and taking action. It will be easier for your staff to stay on-brand if your values are easily remembered.

In just five simple steps, you can develop a brand style guide.


Step 1: Gather ideas from the brand guide.

A picture is worth a thousand words after all, haven't you? Use these examples as inspiration for your brand style guide. Create a Pinterest board to demonstrate the key principles that are important to us as part of the rebranding process. One of the best ways to get everyone at a firm on board is by conducting a brainstorming session like this one.

Consider this:

  • What has been successful in the past for your company's brand? Compile a list of successful advertising, emails, and other promotional materials.

  • What do you enjoy about other brands?

  • Do any of these questions recur frequently? Keep a record of comments that keep coming up. Consider include it in your style guide if you find yourself sending the same message to all of your writers and designers.

These samples can help you develop the visual identity of your brand.

Make a list of your favorite and least favorite things (e.g. the image is on-brand but the text is not right). A portion of these items might be used in your guide's visuals and/or tone.

Step 2: Identify and categorize the six most important components of your brand guide.

Working with a designer to bring your ideas to life is the next step after gathering inspiration. Choose a designer who is able to communicate effectively and who makes you feel at ease. Creating a brand is a journey of discovery, and your designer is there to help you along the way. She may have thoughts or suggestions that you hadn't previously thought about.

Every brand's style guide should have the following six components as bare minimum requirements. When working with your designer, these are the first items you should discuss. Some of this may already have been done (like your logo). Some of them, on the other hand, will require a return to your inspiration boards. A designer can help you put those thoughts, pictures, and moods into concrete brand pieces.

Component 1: Brand's origins

Make a name for yourself in the marketplace. Providing a succinct statement of your company's core values can assist individuals better understand how to represent it.

Mission, vision, audience, personality, and values may all be included into a brand. If you like, you may keep part of it private.

The best way to figure out what to include is to think of it as a starting point. It's important that the rest of your brand standards stay faithful to these foundational ideas.

Component 2: Logo rules and use

You may know what color your logo should be, but do you know how it will look in different settings? Make sure your logo is utilized the way you want it to be using this portion of your brand style guide! As a result, it avoids blunders like re-aligning or re-stretching the text, which might give the wrong signal.

Include all of your logo's approved variations, explain how to utilize each one, and include graphic examples to make it apparent.

  • Size: The smallest size and dimensions should be specified.

  • Space: Give specific instructions if the logo needs a specific amount of white space around it.

  • Colors: Employ color variants (reversed, in color, black and white) in order to show how and when to use them.

  • Don’ts: If you don't want your logo to be used in any way, make it clear that.

Component 3: Brand color tones

For a consistent look and feel, it's important to establish a brand palette. Most companies stick to four or fewer primary colors and don't stray too far from their logo's colors.

It's a good idea to use a light color for the background, a deeper color for the text, a neutral hue, and a color that really stands out. ' Heineken is a firm believer in this maxim.

Show samples of your brand's colors in your style guide. Make sure to provide all the information necessary to precisely duplicate those colors everywhere your brand message travels.

  • Color match: PANTONE name and number

  • Print color: CMYK

  • Digital color: RGB and HEX codes

Component 4: Typography and font rules

Font selection is an important aspect of identity design. Depending on your business's demands, one typeface family or numerous brand typefaces may be the best option for your purposes.. It's a good idea to select a typeface that contrasts with your logo to make it stand out. A seasoned designer can help you through this procedure.

It doesn't matter how basic or sophisticated your font scheme is; just make sure it's utilized correctly by clarifying your decision and providing specific usage instructions.

  • Introduce: Explain how your fonts are linked to your brand and what each one is used for in a concise manner (headlines, body text, captions, etc.).

  • Alignment: You should make it clear if you like your content to be aligned to the right or left.

  • Space: When font sizes vary, make sure to include tracking and kerning ratios in your design.

Component 5: Image rules

It's easy to know which images and graphics are appropriate for your company's image when you're the one in charge of choosing them. Images in your style guide will help everyone else, but you won't have to deal with any additional permission processes.

There are several methods to go about this. Your style guide may even benefit from the inspiration you gained throughout the research phase.

  • Best practice: The best way to promote your business is to show samples of photographs that have done well. Whether it's a printed catalog or an Instagram account, pay attention to the primary means by which your organization communicates.

  • Aspirational: Finding samples from larger businesses may be a good place to start if you don't have all you want for your brand. Regardless, your team will have a better idea of the style you want them to follow.

  • Mood board: Your brand's personality should be reflected in all of the photos you use.

Component 6: Your story’s voice

Brand voice has a significant impact on how your audience perceives you, even if writing style isn't the first thing that comes to mind.

You may think of this in a variety of ways, just like with visuals.

  • Best practice: In this section, you may include instances of messaging that has worked effectively for you in the past.

  • Build on personality: Do you still have that list of three to five adjectives that represent the personality of your brand? That's a good way to characterize language that's in line with your brand.

  • Do’s and don’ts: Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Make a list of terms you like and ones you don't like, and use them to convey your brand's personality.

Step 3: A list of other brand collateral that should be included in your guide.

A brand style guide should include the six key aspects, but some organizations will need to go farther.

  • Is your company's identity mostly online? Organizing your website's picture layout is generally something you should standardize.

  • How about actual goods? Packaging rules may be needed to indicate when to use the product name and when to use the corporate name.

  • Is social media marketing something you're concentrating on? If that's the case, you'll probably appreciate some pointers on what kinds of images to include in your postings.

There should be an organizational context for a company's brand guide. Make a note of any additional topics you'll need to include in your guide before you begin writing.

Step 4: For your guide, draw out an outline.

Create an outline using your six basic aspects and any company-specific requirements and desires. This will assist us in developing the framework for our manual.

  • Brand story

    • Our brand does “this” and “that”.

    • Our Mission, Vision, and Values.

  • Logo

    • How we came up with our logo.

    • How to use our logo.

    • Don’t use the logo in this way.

  • Color palette

    • These are out brand colors.

    • Here are the CMYK and HEX codes for our brand.

  • Typography

    • These are the fonts we use.

    • This is our main font.

    • These are our secondary fonts.

  • Imagery

    • These images represent our brand.

    • How we use them.

  • Voice

    • How our voice should be spoken.

    • Here are some do’s and don’ts.

  • Website

    • What our homepage needs to look like, and what to avoid.

    • What kind of services and/or products to display.

Then you may specify whether or not your guide will be available as a PDF, online, printed, or any combination of these options. When it comes to specifications, you and your designer should agree on everything (landscape vs. portrait layout, page size, etc.). Is everything in order?

Remember that this is a working document, not a finished product. You'll want to ensure that the most important information is easily accessible (maybe via a table of contents?) and clearly stated.

Step 5: Prepare for the future of your company's brand.

Your brand style guide is an ever-evolving document that you should be constantly updating. As you use it, you'll discover what works and what doesn't, and you'll be able to tweak or add to the information at any time. First and foremost, you need to build a firm foundation.

However, you'll need to revisit it on a regular basis.

Keep track of new ideas (decisions, examples you like, etc.) in a single location so that you can simply locate them when it's time to evaluate. Afterwards, schedule a time to go through and update your style guide. One month, one quarter, or even a year after establishing the standards is acceptable.

You're all set to draft a style guide for your brand!


Products and services don't tell the whole story of your organization. A great brand informs the world why they should select you over all the other possibilities on the market. In order to ensure that your brand is consistent, you need a style guide for your employees.

Some style guides are the size of a novel, while others are a quick reference of one page. It's all up to you and your company's requirements. Having a comprehensive list of all of your brand's essential aspects is critical, as it may serve as a single point of reference for any future design projects you may do.


Salty Red Dog Marketing, LLC is a marketing agency in Red Bank, NJ, Westport, CT, and everywhere in between. We service businesses with marketing strategies, digital marketing, social media, and consultations.

Phone: NJ: (732) 802-6205 // CT: (203) 429-9671

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