Small businesses tend to focus on day-to-day operations and often overlook the ‘small’ stuff, like a style guide. Portraying your business to the world requires more than just a great logo. You need a cohesive brand identity and a style guide sets out exactly how that brand identity should be implemented.

Why every small business needs a style guide

Imagine if every piece of communication from a company had different typefaces, colours, and writing format. How would you view this company’s level of professionalism? With a confusing brand identity, customers are unlikely to trust your business. 

A style guide is a set of rules that define how you present your brand. Brand consistency creates a polished image and makes your brand easily identifiable to customers. Google and McDonald’s are two good examples of highly recognisable brands with very specific style guides.

What should your style guide include?

If you’re outsourcing to a PR agency, graphic designer or content writer, handing them a style guide makes their job easier. It should include detailed instructions on the following:

  • Use of logo.
  • Colour palette. 
  • Typeface and Font. 
  • Images and illustrations.
  • Writing style. Will you follow the AP writing style, the Oxford comma, and use title case for sub-headings?
  • Videos. What type of background, lighting, and format to follow. 

How to create a style guide

Before creating a style guide, be clear on the company’s brand identity. What industry are you in? Who are your customers? Is your brand voice serious, playful, or quirky? All of these influence your brand image and you can only put a style guide together once you lock down your brand identity

A style guide isn’t a static document. It will evolve as your brand evolves. Certain elements, like the logo, may change over time and you’ll need to update the style guide accordingly. 

Creating a style guide requires input from branding specialists, the marketing team, and graphic designers. Don’t have an in-house designer? Our design team can help. Email us at [email protected].