As a small business owner, creating a style guide may not be at the top of your to-do list. However, a style guide can be a powerful tool to help your business maintain a consistent brand identity and improve communication with customers.
In this blog post, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to create a style guide for your small business.
What is a Style Guide?
A style guide is a document that outlines the design elements and branding guidelines for your business. It serves as a reference tool for your team to ensure that all marketing and communication materials reflect your brand’s visual identity and voice. A style guide typically includes information on how your business uses your brand information.
- logo usage
- color palettes
- approved typography
- tone of voice
Why is a Style Guide Important for Small Businesses?
A style guide can be a critical asset for small businesses because it helps to establish a consistent brand identity across all marketing and communication channels. This is especially important if you use different contractors to build your business. For example, a social media marketer will need to know what tone of posts you prefer, how to use your logo on a copyrighted image, and more.
In addition, a style guide can save your business time and money by streamlining the design process. When your team has a clear understanding of your branding guidelines, they can quickly create new marketing materials without having to spend time researching or experimenting with design elements.
By creating a consistent look and feel for your brand, you can increase recognition and build trust with your target audience.
4 Steps to Create a Style Guide
If you’re already using Moonlit Media, you will have your own style guide available as we develop your website. If you’re not already using us, but would like us to create a style guide for your business, we can help! But, if you’re determined to create one on your own, these steps will enable you to do so.
Step 1: Define Your Brand Identity
The first step in creating a style guide for your small business is to define your brand identity. This includes determining your brand values, mission statement, and target audience. You should also consider your unique selling proposition (USP) and how you want your brand to be perceived by your customers.
Once you have a clear understanding of your brand identity, you can start to develop a visual identity that reflects your brand personality. This includes creating a logo, selecting color palettes, and choosing typography that aligns with your brand values and target audience.
Keep in mind that you can also indicate the type of copywriting tone and lifestyle photos you prefer for your website. In terms of copy, you may prefer casual or informative with plenty of documentation to back up information. Photos may be referenced by, “young, hip professionals” or “active senior citizens with smiles”. You may also indicate the background photo requirements, such as “white background” or “green background”. It’s up to you what you want to include.
Step 2: Determine Your Brand Guidelines
The next step is to determine your brand guidelines. This includes creating rules for logo usage, color palettes, typography, imagery, and tone of voice. For example, you may decide that your logo should always appear in a certain location on marketing materials or that your typography should be consistent across all channels.
It’s essential to be as specific as possible when creating your brand guidelines. This will help to ensure that your team understands how to apply your branding consistent across all materials. You should also consider creating examples to demonstrate how to apply your branding to different types of marketing materials, such as social media posts, email newsletters, or website pages.
Step 3: Create Your Style Guide Document
Once you have determined your brand guidelines, you can create your style guide document. This should be a comprehensive document that includes all of your branding rules and examples of how to apply them. You can create your style guide in any format that works for your team, such as a PDF or an online document.
Your style guide should be easy to navigate and reference, so consider organizing it into sections for each type of branding element. For example, you may have sections for logo usage, color palettes, typography, imagery, and tone of voice.
Step 4: Implement Your Style Guide
The final step in creating a style guide for your small business is to implement it across all marketing and communication channels. This means ensuring that all team members are familiar with the guidelines and understand how to apply them to their work.
You may also want to consider holding training sessions or creating reference materials to help your team understand the importance of consistent branding and how to apply your branding guidelines correctly. It’s also a good idea to periodically review your style guide to ensure that it remains up-to-date and relevant.
Creating a style guide for your small business may seem like a daunting process, but it’s a necessary part of your business. You should offer your style guide to anyone who is working with you and all subcontractors who develop content or visuals. Not only does a clear style guide help others develop content for you, but it also helps you retain control of your creative assets and keep your brand consistent throughout all communications.