You’ll notice that the title of this post isn’t asking you “if” you need a brand design style guide or “if” you want a brand design style guide…it’s telling you that you absolutely, without a doubt, NEED a brand design style guide. That’s because every brand, no matter its niche, must demonstrate consistency in its visual identity. Stick around to learn WHY and HOW.
The Importance of Consistent Brand Design
Do you want a strong visual brand that’s consistent across all media? Of course you do, and here’s why:
- A visual brand that is consistent summons feelings of familiarity within your target audience, which results in a higher comfort level and wide-open neural pathways (unobstructed by fear and hesitancy).
- A brand identity that is consistent builds trust, which is an essential element for the building of a brand.
- Consistency is a by-product of logic. Your audience knows this, and if your visual identity seems logical, then choosing your brand will, likewise, seem logical.
- Consistent brand design that is free of distracting or overly complicated components aids in comprehension of messages. When your logo and other visual elements are “easy,” your brand’s messages will be received without the noise that accompanies inconsistency and visual busyness.
- Engaging conversations with the people who are most important to your brand flow easily when brand identities are predictable…much like a heart-to-heart with a familiar face.
When consumers encounter brand design that is inconsistent, their neural processing STOPS. It is distracted with attempting to process mixed-up messages…and as a result, will second-guess its investment in the brand, wondering if all the confusion is really worth it.
To the contrary, a consumer who comes in regular contact with a visual brand identity that is reliable and always familiar feels comfortable and willing to invest.
Now that you understand the importance of consistent brand design, it’s time to learn what every brand design style guide should include.
Formulate a Brand Design Style Guide—for a Robust Visual Brand
A brand design style guide is not an option; it is a must for every brand. It will be distributed to all those involved with visual, written, and verbal brand communications, so that every brand advocate is putting forth a consistent visual identity.
Here are the guidelines that every brand design style guide should include:
- Fonts: Across all print and web applications, your brand should use identical fonts, in identical degrees. All text should appear in a consistent font and size, whilst all headings and subheadings should share their own set of characteristics.
- Colours: Every brand should have three brand design colours (first, second, and third degree). The primary colour will appear most frequently, in the largest amounts…and so on. A brand design professional will work with you to choose colours that send the messages you intend, as well as set specifics that will keep print and web colour consistent.
- Image Style: Even if stock images are used, guidelines should be put forth for keeping in-line with your brand’s visual identity. Maybe all photos should be published using a particular filter, one colour must always appear in every photo, people in photos must display particular dress or style, or backgrounds should follow rules put forth by your brand. No matter the guidelines, all images that accompany your brand’s printed and web material should offer some sort of consistent message.
- Logo Usage: Guidelines for when, where, and how logos are to be used should appear in every brand design style guide. None of your brand professionals should have to question whether or not it’s appropriate to use your logo in any particular situation—so be specific. Always specify a minimum size, minimum required white-space cushion, and standard page placement for your logo.
- Layout: No matter if the media is a webpage, a brochure, or an advertisement, every sort of communication by your brand should adhere to a standard layout. Subtleties such as this work toward establishing familiarity, even if they’re not immediately evident to the viewer.
- Content: Brand visuals are often accompanied by text, and your brand will need guidelines for this, too. Keywords and key phrases must be cited, along with notes about tone and phrasing.
As your brand grows, changes to your brand design style guide will be necessary—this is part of the evolution of a brand and will be essential to your brand’s health and growth. Change simply for the sake of change is never recommended; however, every successful brand understands that some change (spurred by market, industry, competition) is required.
You’re sure to have questions about creating your brand design style guide, and How to Build a Brand is here to help. Simply call us on +44 (0) 208 123 6776 or email us at [email protected] Our brand design professionals are ready to answer all your questions.