Do You Have a Brand Manual or Style Guide?

If you have answered this question with a “no” but deal with vendors, suppliers and media on a regular basis, then you need to consider working with your designer to create one.

One key way to build brand equity is to create a set of “design rules” that tie together the look and feel of all your marketing materials. We pull this together into something called a “Brand Style Guide” that can be shared with internal departments, marketing and design agencies, suppliers and media.

Style Guide and Brand Manual

At the very least, it is important to have a style guide to keep your look consistent across all consumer touch-points. Having on hand a quick guide to your corporate fonts and colours is a time saver that ensures that your logo and/or wordmark will be seen accurately on everything from websites to t-shirts.

Build your visual STYLE GUIDE around these 4 key areas:

  1. Logo: The consistent use of your logo is the most important piece to your brand. A style guide outlines how the logo should look on different materials and backgrounds. It will outline the placement and size that should be used for different communication and marketing collateral.
  2. Colour: Colour is the second most important component to your brand identity. Colour makes an immediate impression and impacts perception of your brand. Colour has different meanings in different industries and different cultures so a lot of research is needed before final selection. A style guide will show how a colour can be used and how your logo will look in Black and White scenarios. A style guide will define the colour model depending on where it will be used – ie/ RGB for digital / CMYK for Print / Pantone for solid colour use. (Basic Colour Theory)
  3. Fonts: A brand style guide will outline the font families that are associated with your brand materials. This is usually limited to one or two fonts along with different weights and sizes for Headlines, Body Text, and Info-Graphics.
  4. Visuals – Graphics / Illustrations / Photography: Every brand needs to consider what type of visuals they want to represent their brand. Graphics such as symbols and shapes should be used the same way across all materials from environmental signage to annual reports to digital assets. The style of illustration or photography should be consistent across all corporate materials. Seasonal advertising campaigns would have their own specific style sheet that would fit into the overall guidelines.

If you do a lot of packaging, advertising or media events, a brand manual will include everything from your mission statement to your brand voice to how your taglines should be used to what photo filters to use on your custom photography.

Being in control of your brand across all touch-points is a very important step in helping you keep all your dots connected.

Check out a post by Mary Stribley that showcases  50 great examples of Style Guides

What is Your Creative Process?

Having a creative process is important for delivering a design project on time, on budget, and on strategy.Our Creative Process

Client Brief
Every successful project starts with a discussion with client to determine needs and budgets. This will better enable the creative director to write the initial creative brief for the design team.

Discovery: Research + Analysis
Researching and analysing the client’s industry, customers, and competitors will help define what the client’s needs are and determine their competitive advantage.

Brainstorm
The generation and sharing of ideas brings the creative juices to the forefront.

Execute Ideas
The design team takes the brainstorm ideas and develops concrete ideas to present to client.

Presentation to Client
The presentation of concepts to client allows for discussion on direction and strategy

Design Development
The design team takes chosen concept and discussion points through to process and development.

Refinements
Refine and finalize the design details, such as typesetting and photography touch-ups, before moving into production

Production
Final print or web ready artwork is followed through to proofing and printing or programming and testing.

Finished Product
Delivering the WOW factor to consumers for call to action.

Following through on the full creative process ensures that the client receives a product that delivers on all objectives. Next step: Track results!