You don’t have to be a big business to have a style guide. No matter how large or small your business is, it’s worth having one so that you can refer to it again and again to help you communicate clearly and consistently with your audience. (Tweet this!) You style guide might just be one sheet of paper with your colour codes on, right up to something way more complicated to cover all sorts of different areas of your visual brand – so the colours, the fonts, font sizes, placement, different logo options for different uses, you might want to include uniforms, vehicle liveries, signage, language – there’s a lot of different aspects which you can consider in your style guide.
You can definitely think about some of this yourself – I’ve covered how in a previous post – it’s just about setting rules and ensuring that you stick to them as far as possible.
For ideas, you could take a look at some existing brand guidelines which are available for you to look at. Here’s some examples – Apple, Dropbox, Jamie Oliver and Penguin. These are all very different examples of style guides so give you a great idea of the mix of different things that you can consider and how to present them.
These brands all understand the importance of consistency in their business image. Their style guides help them to create strong, recognisable brands that people know, like and trust – there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have one too.
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You don’t have to go into tremendous detail from day one, you can take it one step at a time and keep adding to your style guide whenever you’re ready. The important thing is to communicate your message in the same way as much as possible everywhere that people connect with your business, if this means you have to take baby steps then that’s fine as long you understand that the more rules you identify and implement the more effective your brand will be. This will mean considering every aspect of your business – this could include plates, hangers, the soap in the toilets, the kind of products you use to clean, which suppliers you use, what colours you use in your window display, what the experience is like for people buying from you online, how you package your products, the kind of words that you use… this is all especially important once your business starts to grow and you are not the only person who has to do all of this. You might need to emulate the experience in different locations and through different people. If you have a style guide then this will make the process so much easier.
Having a strong brand will help you to communicate more effectively with your customers as you will be creating a clearer message of what you stand for, what you do, and what you’re all about. It will also help you to stand out from your competition and be memorable which will help your audience to remember you, love you and refer business to you.
Do you have consistency in your business? Comment below and let me know!