Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our 4x a week insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.

Free Assessment: Website Performance Assessment

Start the Assessment
... Inbound Marketing Web Design
Close
website performance assessment start

Free Assessment:

Website Performance Assessment
Start the Assessment
Website Performance Assessment
Free Website Course
View Website Performance Assessment
website performance assessment start

Free Assessment:

Does your website build trust with buyers and bring in revenue?

Take this free 10 question assessment and learn how your website can start living up to its potential.

Why Your Business Needs a Brand Style Guide

By Liz Moorehead

Liz Moorehead also recommends this free website performance assessment.

Why Your Business Needs a Brand Style Guide

It can always be a little disconcerting when you walk into your favorite retail store, start searching for that one product you love (you know exactly where to find all of your favorite brands, of course), but you can't seem to find it. But it's there. It's right in front of you, In fact, it never moved.

But you didn't notice it at first, because the company changed the look of the packaging. Again!

Free Assessment: Website Performance Assessment

It's frustrating, isn't it? The new product design isn't doing a good enough job representing the brand style that you were familiar with. Businesses create style guides for this very reason. They want to make it easy to keep their company image consistent across the board and to build trust with their customers.

If you don't have a set of brand style guides to drive your marketing (and your website), you are missing out on a huge opportunity to establish yourself as trusted, respected and professional business.

What Is a Brand Style Guide?

In short, a brand style guide is a way for a business to lay down a set of rules, or guidelines, as to how they want the company to be presented to the world.

Aside from the term "brand style guide," you may hear "brand guidelines," "brand standards," "brand identity guides" or just "style guides."

A style guide can include anything from how your logo should be used, which colors or fonts accompany it, to your business' voice – how the writing style and overall presentation appeals to your audience and showcases who your company is.

To be clear, there is a huge difference between style guides for design and content style guides for writing.

Since these both tie into your brand as a whole, however, it's not a bad idea to have one big style guide to cover all the aspects and standards of your brand.

In this blog, however, we are just going to focus on why you need a design style guide for your brand, and the benefits it provides to you, your company and your customers.

Confidence in Your Business

First and foremost, having a set of style guidelines for design helps to show potential customers that you are professional, and that you are a trustworthy solution to their problems. 

When you aren't using brand guides, the content and products you create can end up looking very different from one another. Worse, your content could look like it belongs to another company, rather than looking like your own hard work.

Instead, with brand guides in place, show your audience that you are an expert. Your content should be able to speak for itself, but having consistent colors and fonts will really bring it to life and make more of an impression. Plus, stamping your logo on your content will add that final mark of professionalism.  

If you're using another company or partner's content (with permission, of course), see if you can get permission to rebrand it to match your other content.

Many Apple fans out there wouldn't hesitate to trust a new Apple product. The Apple logo is almost a seal of approval, letting avid fans know that they can buy that product without having to worry about qualtity.

That is the true power of a strong brand. And yes, it's something that must be earned.

Organization for Yourself

As a designer, I can tell you that it can be a major pain to keep track of the brand elements and concepts for all of our clients. After a while, you come to know the brand standards by heart, but it can be so easy to forget how one client wants their images to look or the exact color numbers for another client's logo.

Brand style guides are a way to keep all of this important brand info in one place. I would suggest saving it to the same place where your logo files are, so that everyone has a clear understanding how to use the logos properly, and how the other elements of your brand work with your logo.

But style guides aren't just for the designer. Every employee should be aware that their company has brand standards. While the more detailed, nitty-gritty brand rules may not apply to the work they do, they must always be aware of the importance of brand consistency, even in emails, presentations and letters.

And they must have access to the fonts and logos that they might need on a day-to-day basis. Don't make anyone work extra to figure out what your brand styles are.

The moment brand style guidelines seem too complicated to bother with is when our content stops excelling. Without it our content is no longer going the extra mile, no longer giving 110 percent. And when is that ever good for marketing?

Brand guidelines should be detailed, but clear and able to explain your brand overall with simple examples of correct and incorrect uses of your branding.

Consistency for Your Audience

Branding really ends up coming down to keeping all of your materials consistent.

An SDL study from 2014 determined that no matter which devices Millenials were opting to use, 60 percent expected a consistent brand and user experience. Wow!

Your audience expects you to lead them through the marketing funnel with content that is consistently branded. This means that your calls-to-action match your landing pages, which match your emails, which look like that annual report you snail-mailed out to your closest partners.

I know everyone says content is king, but I am going to be the snooty designer who says – at the very least – that design consistency is key to successful content.

And as the article on the SDL study noted: "[Consistency] reinforces your identity, and in a marketplace full of competition and noise, it keeps your audience focused on the most important message of all – yours."

Brake Check

Do you have a brand style guide for your company? If you do, great! Be sure your company is making the most of it, and really letting it guide the look of the content you produce. If you don't, get on it! Or, get someone who is familiar with your brand to build some guidelines.

It is important that everyone in your company understands that there is an expectation for higher-quality materials. Give them easy access to the style guide and to branded templates that will help everyone keep things simple, but still consistent and well-rounded.

website performance assessment start

Free Assessment:

Website Performance Assessment
Start the Assessment
website performance assessment start

Free Assessment:

Website Performance Assessment

Does your website build trust with buyers and bring in revenue?

Take this free 10 question assessment and learn how your website can start living up to its potential.

Topics:

Web Design
Published on August 21, 2015

Recent Articles

4 Ways To Recession-proof Your Website In 2022
June 9, 2022 • 5 min read
23 of the Best Examples of Business Blog Design
May 30, 2022 • 13 min read
5 Prep Secrets for a Smoother, More Successful Website Project Plan (+ Infographic)
May 16, 2022 • 8 min read
8 Best Content Management Systems for Digital Marketing in 2022
March 22, 2022 • 9 min read
How Much Does a Website Design or Redesign Cost in 2022?
March 8, 2022 • 9 min read
Website Redesign Checklist: The 12 Crucial Steps You Need To Be Successful
February 22, 2022 • 17 min read
Your 2022 Website Strategy Must Include These 6 Things
February 15, 2022 • 9 min read
11 Pricing Page Examples for Business Websites (Updated for 2022)
January 18, 2022 • 10 min read
8 Crucial Elements Every Homepage Design Should Have [+Video]
January 15, 2022 • 6 min read
What Does a Great Inbound Marketing Website Look Like in 2022?
January 10, 2022 • 11 min read
What Makes a Good Website Design? 7 Award-Winning Examples To Be Inspired By
December 18, 2021 • 9 min read
What Is a Learning Center and Why Does My Website Need One?
November 22, 2021 • 6 min read
7 Self-Service Tools on Business Websites to be Inspired By
September 29, 2021 • 7 min read
Google Shares New Tools to Audit Website User Experience
August 12, 2021 • 3 min read
New HubSpot CMS Hub Starter Tier Released for Growing Businesses
August 6, 2021 • 4 min read
ICYMI: Digital Marketing News Update for July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021 • 6 min read
ICYMI: Digital Marketing News Update for July 19, 2021
July 19, 2021 • 6 min read
What the Heck is Going on With All the Google Updates? (Content Lab, Ep. 54)
July 15, 2021 • 1 min read
8 Best Business Website Designs (Updated for 2022)
July 15, 2021 • 5 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for July 12, 2021
July 12, 2021 • 5 min read
Too many internal links in content can confuse Google about site structure
July 9, 2021 • 5 min read
Google July 2021 core update rolling out over next 2 weeks
July 2, 2021 • 4 min read
6 tips for building a great diversity and inclusion page (+examples)
June 29, 2021 • 7 min read
Google punts third-party cookie ban to 2023 for 'responsible planning'
June 25, 2021 • 6 min read
8 types of website performance metrics you should look at on a monthly basis
June 24, 2021 • 11 min read