Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg
One of the very practical things that you can do to protect your brand image is to develop a style guide for your organization. Just in case that’s a foreign term/concept for any of you, let’s start with a definition of what a style guide is as explained on Wikipedia:
A style guide or style manual is a set of standards for design and writing of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication or organization….
Style guides can range from being all about the treatment of a logo to governing how to write for a publication - even down to the level of what and how many metaphors to use in your writing.
We have created many style guides for our clients, but being a firm that is really strong in design our guides tend to focus on specifications for logo treatment, organizational colors, fonts & sizes thereof and the imagery that can be used in printed and/or online communications.
The overall goal with a style guide is to create a set of standards that the whole organization can adhere to so that when a communication piece goes out to your audience, they are immediately able to identify it as coming from your organization. The reason that’s a big deal is because brand identification, even on a subconscious level, brings all the (hopefully positive) brand impressions your audience has of your organization to the top of their minds. By leveraging that brand familiarity through the subtlety of consistent design, you can then more quickly get on with the business of communicating the purpose of the piece. It also reinforces that you care about quality and consistency, which reflects on all your work.
But although a style guide is a fairly simple document to put in place, the real work will always come in getting your whole team to understand the importance of it and then get them to remember to use it on a consistent basis. As such, as with any new process, adoption of it can often take some effort and time.
Effort and time well spent.