The most important rule of branding is to be consistent. Easier said than done, I know. The easiest way to maintain that visual consistency is to create a brand style guide. Why are style guides so important? They ensure brand consistency throughout any collateral you produce – no matter who created it. A style guide is a document that established distinct guidelines on how all aspects of a company's brand will be handled. The ultimate goal is to create a unified and identifiable presence for your brand.
Let’s get started with some basics:
Your logo is an incredibly important part of your brand, and you want it to be reflected consistently along the way. In your guide, you can dictate exactly how to use your logo. Be sure to indicate proper usage of variations of your logo as well.
Colors can be easily shifted from designer to designer or program to program. It’s important to include the exact hex code for web use as well as CMYK values and Pantone colors for items that will be printed.
Fonts are a large part of any collateral you produce, and it’s essential to be consistent with your typography throughout in order to look professional. Often you’ll have a few different typefaces each for a different purpose. In your guide, you can dictate what typeface goes where and how to use it.
Imagery (Icons + Images) -
Photography and icons can also be a reflection of your brand. Specific styles evoke certain responses, and people can recognize a brand based off of photos and icons. While photos aren't necessary for all brands, if it’s an important part of yours, it’s something you should include in your guide for any photographers you work with to reference.
There's a lot that goes into this but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Do yourself a favor. Create a style guide now and save yourself a lot of time and frustration down the road.