What is a Styleguide and Why Does My Brand Need One? Everything You Need to Know

You may have heard the term styleguide thrown around before. Perhaps your office even has one that you were given when you started, but that was four years ago and now you don’t know what you were supposed to do with it.

Let’s break down what a styleguide actually is, and what makes it so important for your brand.

What is a Styleguide?

A styleguide is a blueprint for the way your brand should be presented. It forms the standards for writing, formatting, designing and communicating anything for your brand. Think of it as your handy manual you can whip out as a resource to check whether you’re doing what you’re doing correctly.

“A good styleguide will give you a sense of the emotion your brand wants to elicit in its audience.”

A styleguide will include detailed instructions on how your brand should be presented physically, in the written word, digitally, and in all communications including on social media. Your fonts, imagery, logo, words, tone of voice, key messaging, and more all play crucial parts. A good styleguide will give you a sense of the emotion your brand wants to elicit in its audience.

Just say you really were given a styleguide to look at when you started your job four years ago. If it was implemented well and was a good quality styleguide, it would have helped you align yourself with your new company’s brand. You’d have a sense immediately of how to present to clients, write internal emails, or print off a ‘free lunch on Friday’ reminder for the kitchen.

What are the Different Types of Styleguides?

Your brand comes across in a number of different ways through multiple avenues, so it makes sense for there to be different styleguides to equip you for your brand’s many aspects.

  1. Brand styleguide
  2. Content styleguide
  3. Traditional styleguide
  4. Digital styleguide

For now, you just need to be aware that there are different styleguides to consider. To decide which of these you’d need, you’d investigate your brand to understand which ones are most important for your business.

Why Should My Brand Use One?

It’s all about maintaining consistency. Consistency across your entire brand. Internally and externally, how it looks, how it sounds. This consistency makes your brand magnetic. People are drawn to brands that are trustworthy and premium.

“Typically, a styleguide is an internal document that shapes the way you communicate externally in a consistent fashion.”

It allows you to differentiate your product, hammer home key messages, and encourage loyal customers to trust your brand. Consistency across your brand is how you can control the way in which your audience perceives you.

A brand is basically a person’s instinctual feelings about what they offer. It’s often emotional, so the emotion you’re trying to elicit from your audience needs to be delivered regularly and without incongruities.

Brands That Use Styleguides Have Success

Think about large global brands like Apple, Coca-Cola, and Google and how consistently their trademarked logos, taglines, imagery, and colours are used.

Apple is minimalist—evoking a sense of composure and pristine quality. Their styleguide extends to the kind of photographic imagery that should be used to ignite the same emotional reaction from their (very loyal) customer base.

Coca-Cola has one of the most recognisable logos in the world. Considering the scale of a brand like Coca-Cola it would be even more important to maintain consistency in every country and every format their brand appears in, from television commercials to coasters.

Can you guess which company these colours are from?

Unless you live under a rock, you most likely could. Google has evolved its brand identity to be so immediately recognisable, right down to simply the colours they use.

Twitter even has a public styleguide, as they figured their brand will be used so often anyway that there’s a better chance it will be used correctly if people have access to it. Typically, a styleguide is an internal document that shapes the way you communicate externally in a consistent fashion.

Perhaps you weren’t given a styleguide when you started your job, or it wasn’t very helpful. In which case it would be a good idea to create a new one. Not sure where to start? Get in touch with us, the brand styleguide experts.


For branding by Bellman

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