One of the keys to building a strong brand presence is consistency. A branding guide helps ensure anyone who works on marketing or design sticks to the same standards and presents your company in a very particular way to consumers. If you aren’t sure where to start with your style guide, your company name offers some strong clues.
Stackla surveyed 2,000 adults across the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. It found that 86% of consumers believe authenticity is vital if they’re supporting a brand. A branding guide creates stability and ensures you aren’t continually retracting statements or negating your previous efforts. Here are some steps to create a branding guide based on your company name.
1. Tell a Story
How do you create a branding guide? Start with your story. The most memorable brand names tie into a strong background story. Sometimes the name doesn’t fully tell the whole tale, so you must explain why you chose it or what meaning it has to you. Connect the dots for the reader, so they understand your choice of a moniker.
Beats by Dre tells the story behind its band. Musician Dr. Dre had a passion for bringing better headphones and sound to the world. He wanted quality reminiscent of playback in a music studio. The goal is to deliver better sound quality to a new generation of listeners.
2. Choose a Header
Think about the various places you might use a header, such as your website, digital newsletters and social media platforms. It should include your logo or company name. Typically, this info goes in the upper left corner or center of your header. Once you choose a placement, indicate how the logo should be used in each location and how to handle variations.
Is there a particular font you need to use every time? What images go in the header? If the background is dark, which logo gets used? What about if it’s light?
3. Find a Color Palette
Think about the colors used in your logo and how they reflect on the name of your company. If you have a moniker that makes people think about something exciting and hip, a vibrant red might elicit the same emotions. On the other hand, if you want to show reliability or environmental friendliness, you might choose a deep blue or brilliant green.
Hunter Door utilizes a medium-hue green for its website, complemented by neutral tones. The green indicates its ability to help residential homeowners beautify their houses and upgrade existing garage doors. The service vans feature their company name in the same shade of green. You’ll see similar designs on its social media accounts and anywhere the company appears online.
4. Selecting Font Type Families
There may be occasions when you need to use a larger font or set your name into italics. Font families offer the opportunity to give your branding a similar look across different mediums while allowing that some instances need to be larger or smaller. The better a font scales, the more places you can use it.
Look for typefaces with multiple options, including italics, bold and light. The more options available, the more versatile the font becomes. You should indicate in your style guide when to use each version in the font family and how.
5. Define Imagery
The pictures you use on your website and in marketing indicate a lot about you as a brand. Visuals are another area where you need consistency. Users should look at an image and immediately recognize it as part of your business model. How do you tie imagery into your brand name?
Start by indicating if the logo appears on photos as a watermark. A branding mark gives any image instant relationship to your name. Another idea is including your emblem somewhere in the picture. You might add a product with the logo facing out. The choice can be subtle or obvious, but the key is to indicate when and how to include brand images within any photographs used on your site or in advertising.
Puma utilizes its name and logo in photos of models wearing the brand. Note the backpack with its logo in the photograph of the young teen girl. The logo faces out and brands the entire image. It also asks customers to upload snapshots of their products in use on Instagram. Many of those pictures naturally showcase the logo in some way. The company then shares these images on its website.
6. Know Your Voice
What does your name stand for? Many times, your brand’s tone ties into your story and why you started the company in the first place. For example, you might have a deep desire to help needy children in Appalachia have food when school isn’t in session. Perhaps you set up your brand model to donate for every sale made.
Does your brand name reflect your purpose? If not, look for ways to tie into it and create a tone. Are you funny or serious? Outline your brand’s tone and voice within your style guide, so there isn’t any confusion when other people work on marketing efforts.
Branding and Your Name
Your name ties intricately to who you are as a brand. A negative impression often lingers and sticks with the company long after the situation is over. Look for ways to create positive associations between your brand name and your image. Be aware of the subtle impact of color choices, logos, fonts and even how consistently you present your business to others. With a little effort, you’ll get everyone on the same page and become instantly recognizable to consumers.
Lexie is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee (with a dash of milk) and walking her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.