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How to Create a Visual Style Guide for Your Brand

image - SMARTSTART Branding

Design is where science and art meet to speak your message.

Brands are formed in the minds of customers based on many things such as their experiences with:

  • your products and services,
  • the people they interact with who work with and for you,
  • the affiliates and partners you choose to help sell your products and services, and
  • the way you visually package, present and market yourself and your work to the world.

Although you’ve created something tangible, a brand does not exist in the actual product or service. It exists only in the mind of the customer audience. And that can be anything from basic visual recognition to a true and clear understanding of the personality and value of what you’re selling. That’s why it’s critical you do the work to understand your market and your ideal customer. And make design choices accordingly. Then, document these critical decisions in a style guide created for your brand.

Creating a Style Guide

In our BrandingZEN course, I covered the importance of creating a style guide. It helps you ensure brand consistency throughout any marketing collateral you produce, regardless of how you get the job done. Your business is not too small and insignificant to need this essential reference document.

The design school at Canva also offers tips in How To Create A Visual Style Guide For Your Brand. If you missed our course, it covers all the basics in an easy-to-understand and follow way.

Professionalism in all matters related to your business is critical to how you are perceived in relation to your competition. There’s an artistry in creating a brand that has a long-term relationship with your customers, one that fulfills a genuine psychological need and that’s meaningful to them. You’ll lose credibility if you portray your brand as something it’s not. Your brand’s reputation is as valuable as your own. Protect it. Be honest. Real. Authentic.

Much thought and creative work goes into creating a brand. Many also invest significant amounts of money hiring professional design services to help them bring their brands to life. Even if you do all of this work yourself, rather than hiring it out to others, your brand needs a visual style guide to ensure it is always executed consistently and as intended by design. Otherwise, you risk confusing the market’s perception of your brand and what it stands for.

Most certainly, you’ll be using a variety of online and offline media, each with different design requirements, to communicate your brand and message to your target market. Your style guide helps ensure you put your best public face forward at all times.

More next time. Until then, remember to LOVE YOUR WORK, whatever it may be.

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