a4 brand style guide mockup design

Style Guides : Everything You Need to Know

First off, what are they?

A style guide is a comprehensive list of guidelines and standards that keep your brand looking and feeling like your brand. You may also have heard them be called:

1. Brand Book

2. Brand Guidelines

3. Brand Manual

4. Graphics Standards

5. Standards Manual

They are also communication tool. The true purpose of a style guide is to make a brand easy for someone else to use, adapt, or create for. They are designed for people, not brands.

Why do I need one?

We believe every business should have one, plain and simple, but why?

Let’s say you’ve signed up to be a sponsor at a local event. You’ve met all the financial requirements and send over your logo file to the event host. On the day of the event, you see the banners they created and placed around the venue.

What the…?! Your logo doesn’t even look recognizable. They’ve changed the colors and cut pieces off to make it fit with the other sponsors logos, and completely changed the look of your logo.

Having a brand guideline manual on hand can prevent these problems from happening in the future.

Who might need my style guide?

The most important thing for a style guide to be successful is if it’s easily understood by the person who needs it to do their job.  

Here a few examples of people might who need or use yours:

1. Prepress technicians

2. Software engineers

3. Other designers

4. Anyone who may use or place your logo on anything you have authorized.

At the end of the day, the main focus of a style guide is to empower anyone to make something that looks and feels like your intended brand vision and stylistic direction.

What's inside a style guide?

In the world of design, the size of a style guide can range from a one-page cookie cutter pdf file to leatherbound volumes of rules and usage guidelines similar to what Pixar Studios uses. 

We believe that not every business needs a tome of rules and instructions. So, what should a basic style guide include?

At the bare minimum, these six topics should be covered in the final document:

1. Logo Guidelines

2. Color Details

3. Typography Guidelines

4. Available Visual Assets

5. General Layout Guidelines

6. Photography Guidelines

Having these instructions on hand will ensure the correct usage of your logo and brand assets.

When do designers make one?

When hiring a graphic designer, freelancer, or agency for a logo or brand identity project, any professional designer should recommend creating a style guide alongside the logo or identity suite. 

It should be delivered alongside the final logo or identity suite.

Want to know the two most important things every designer should send with your final logo files? We have a guide for that, too.

Hey There!

I’m David, CEO & Chief Strategist here at VIRIDITI and I hope you found this helpful.

When I don’t have my nose to the grindstone, I’m dedicated to educating business owners about the world of design to help them make informed design decisions for their businesses.