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Brand consistency is critical to developing trust and loyalty with your target audience. Just as people are inclined to trust friends who have consistent personalities, your customers are likely to feel the same way.

Brands develop consistency not only by providing high-quality products or services but also by following brand style guidelines.

These are the guidelines outlining how an organization presents itself to the world through its color, font, and logo selections among other elements.

It’s a manual creatives use to replicate a brand across different channels and spaces. This way your brand looks and feels the same even when different people are working on marketing, sales, or design.

So how do you create a brand style guide? Read on to find out.


What is a Brand Style Guide?

Before looking at how to create a brand style guide it’s important to define it. In simple terms, a brand style guide is the rulebook that outlines how you communicate your brand message.

It takes into account the heart and soul of the brand (vision, mission, and values) and translates it into design.

A brand style guide may also be referred to as a reference tool that helps maintain consistency in how the brand feels, looks, and sounds.

It ensures a brand’s work is consistent whether you’re developing an ad campaign, designing a business card, or writing a tweet.


Why a Brand Style Guide is Important

The premise for developing a brand style guide is to ensure your brand develops consistent and cohesive work across different platforms.

Look at it this way; you’ve a colleague who wears rugged jeans to the workplace. However, you notice that the same person changed his style to neat, formal suits.

It’d probably feel strange because you’re used to his informal, outlandish style; you might even be inclined to ask why he changed his style.

Similarly, inconsistent brands can leave customers confused and disloyal. A brand style guide eliminates such scenarios by ensuring a brand communicates its message in a consistent way across all channels.


Steps to Create a Brand Style Guide

Now that we understand brand style guidelines and their benefits, we go on to explain how to develop one.


01. Define the Brand’s Components

The first step is to define the five key components of a brand because they establish a brand’s identity and the foundation for developing a brand style guide. They include:

  • The mission and vision: These components explain why a company exists and where it plans to go
  • Core values: What are the company’s guiding principles for making decisions? Having memorable values makes it easy for a team to remain on brand
  • Target audience: Here you identify your customers and why they need your product or service. It would also help to include insights that help the team communicate effectively to them
  • Personality: You also need to develop a list of phrases or words (3-5 adjectives) that describe your brand best. This sets the tone for designing and communicating the brand’s message effectively


02. Develop Guidelines for Logo Usage and Placement

A brand logo is an integral part of a brand and must be displayed consistently across different platforms.

Thus a critical part of developing a brand style guide is outlining how creatives can and can’t use it.

Such rules prevent professionals from making mistakes like condensing, altering, and re-aligning which often send the wrong message to an audience.

You could include versions of the logo describing when to use each and outline the:

  • Ideal logo size: Here you provide the minimum logo size and its proportions
  • Ideal spacing: Provide clear instructions on the amount of white space around the logo
  • Color variations: You want to provide different color variations a professional can use when designing the logo
    It would also help to provide options for how to use logos on light or dark backgrounds, or where designers have limited control over customization.


03. Establish a Color Palette

The next step is to select a color palette that resonates with your brand’s message or theme.

In addition to picking out the primary and secondary colors to be used, identify the exact hex code for digital use as well as Pantone colors and CMYK values for printed items.

Be sure to check for conversions between CMYK and RGB too to save time and money when printing the logo on various materials.


04. Define the Brand’s Photographic Style

Here, you outline the kind of photographic style your brand needs. Is it formal, casual, posed, or candid?

Remember, typography forms a large part of a brand’s personality as it conveys the brand’s message in a more impactful way.

As such, you must refer back to the brand’s persona to identify the kind of photos that will appeal to your audience.

05. Define Videography Guidelines

Videos are more impactful than photos and if you intend to incorporate them in the brand, it would help to define the styles to use.

Since the guidelines will probably include specifications for the video files for reference, you should consider providing examples.
Select a Font that Reflects the Brand’s Identity
A brand style guide outlines the font types to use in different scenarios and the web styles for each scenario for uniformity.

A brand’s needs also dictate if one font type will meet all your needs or whether to use multiple brand fonts.

A good rule of thumb is to use different fonts to create contrast and help your brand stand out.
Compile the Guidelines in a Shareable Format
Lastly, compile the guidelines in a shareable format (preferably digital) to make them readily accessible to other professionals.

You could leverage tools to compile the rules in a handy, shareable format to ensure all your creatives speak the same voice.

Also, include the brand story and other information which isn’t available on public platforms, but communicates your persona.



Developing practical brand style guidelines increases your team’s efficiency and ensures your brand is consistent across various platforms. What’s more, it acts as a reference tool your team of creatives can use when designing your brand for an ad campaign, printing material, or a new product or service. If you need help creating a brand style guide don’t hesitate to call us!

Paul Simiyu

Founder and Team Lead of Simpaul Design, a brand strategy and design agency in Nairobi, Kenya. Here at Simpaul Design, we work with brands across various categories with a focus on connecting with consumers and building brands that people want to be a part of. We specialize in brand identity and strategy, UX/UI, and brand transformation.