How to Create a Style Guide for Your Website’s Branding
A brand style guide is an essential element to any business in the streamlining and unifying of the brand. Not only does it help tie the website into the rest of the branding of the company, but it also ensures that every element of the website falls within the brand and conveys the brand’s messaging.
So, how do you go about putting together this guide? What elements do you need to ensure appear in the style guide? We took a look at style guides created by companies around the world and what you need to include in yours to ensure branding success.
The first element of your brand guide is the necessity of creating uniformity across your site. Not only does it need to reflect the rest of the brand and company, but every page needs to hold similar elements and needs to flow. One of the easiest ways of ensuring this is by automating the whole process.
There are some really great options to choose from if you are looking for a branded content platform to help you build a website and ensure that all the elements are brought through on every single page. It provides you with smart fields to auto-populate data, creates templates to span the whole website, and provides you with content-locking abilities embedded in the template management experience.
Collect Ideas and Inspiration
Before simply diving into your brand guide, do some research into what should be included in it. What color palettes, what images, what styles, and what essential elements should appear in the brand guide?
Spend some time with your team collecting ideas and looking at what other brands are doing to gather some inspiration. Create an ideas board where you can add the chosen elements and create a visual aid of what you want to achieve. Ask yourself the following questions: What’s worked for your brand and other brands in the past? What are customers attracted to and have a tendency toward? Then take a look at what other brands are doing and what you like about them.
Include the Six Brand Elements
There are various elements that you need to ensure appear in the brand guide for designers as well as the rest of the creative team. These include:
Your Brand Story
Make sure you can tell your story to your customers. Give them a narrative they can identify with and engage with. Add in your mission, vision, audience, personality, and values. From this, you can mold the rest of your brand guide.
Although you might have some ideas for your logo, the fact is that it might not work across all platforms and in all circumstances. Having a guideline makes sure that it can appear on different color backgrounds as well as prevents mistakes like stretching, altering, condensing, or re-aligning.
Brand Color Palette
You will need to pick a brand palette to define the look and feel. Most brands choose four base or main colors and don’t stray too far from the hues of their logo.
The rule of thumb is to choose one light color for backgrounds, a darker color for text, a neutral hue, and then a color that pops.
The next thing to consider is your font selection. Your brand guide needs to define whether one typeface family will meet all your needs or if you want to define multiple brand fonts. A good idea is to use a different font than the one in your logo. The contrast will help it pop, and if you have chosen several different fonts, you can use them repeatedly across all of your branding.
The imagery section in your style guide will steer everyone else in the right direction with understanding the messaging and story of your brand. Remember, everything needs to tie in. Again, collect ideas and put together a mood board of what you like.
Top Tip: Lifestyle images are highly effective and help increase conversion rates.
Although you might not think so, your writing style and content do actually matter when it comes to your branding. Your brand voice strongly affects how your audience feels about you.
Have three to five adjectives that describe your brand and keep them coming through in your branding. Simple is best. Use clear, simple language to describe your brand, and keep your descriptions simple and to the point.
The Bottom Line
Keep trying and testing everything. Just because you think one thing will work for you doesn’t mean it will. Try out different styles and images. Don’t just rely on what you think will work. If you can, A/B test what you can to make sure that it will work.