Are you in uniform? Why a style guide is a must.

Why a business style guide is importantSo there you are happy and content with your nice logo & relevant company colours on your website. It looks good and then you see it. Yes, there it is, someone has decided that the headline on a section of your company blog would look great in purple. Purple doesn’t exist in your logo or colour scheme.

So how did that happen?

Notice, we are looking at “how” and not “who”.

This usually happens when you have no guidelines for your branding. “Who” possibly didn’t even realise that purple was a no go zone.

Keeping your business looking uniform across your online platforms and in your offline publications is important. People begin to recognise your logo and your company colours and this assists in reinforcing who you are, what you do, why and how you do it.
Your logo and colours form a part of your brand and this makes up a part of your marketing strategy.

So how do you ensure everything looks and “sounds” uniform throughout your platforms and materials?

A style guide is the answer.

You can have a style guide that covers everything; colours, logo use and fonts to grammar, spelling, writing styles/tone, formatting and the voice-tone preferred to portray your business. You can have an overall comprehensive style guide or break it down into separate style guides for branding, websites, social media and content.

The style guide/s shouldn’t be printed out as a book in someone’s office. The style guide should be readily available as a standard document in a file sharing spot such as an intranet or cloud location. It can be available to anyone (internal or external) who updates your website, creates content or other documents for your business.

What to include in the style guide varies greatly from business to business. It can take the form of a simple one page guide, right through to very large document.

There are so many areas you can cover but the basics of any style guide should include;

• Brand colours
• Fonts (size, style, sizes for headings, colour etc.)
• Logo Use & positioning of the logo
• Basic formatting of written content
• Spelling of common terms used in your business.
• Punctuation of common terms for consistency – e.g. do you go through checkout or check-out?
• Tone/Voice used – Is your business tone: corporate, efficient, cheery, fun or hip & groovy?

These are things that can be covered in each of your style guides, whether for branding, content, social media or website / blog. It is up to you as to how in depth you wish to go.

There are many resources online to help you tackle a style guide but if you need help or don’t have the time to put one together, help is just a click away.

So do you have one style guide that covers everything or one for each part of your business?