Table of Contents
- What Is a Brand Style Guide?
- What Is the Importance of a Brand Style Guide?
- 6 Key Elements of a Brand Style Guide
- 21 Best Brand Style Guides to Learn From
- Key Takeaways
Such is the competition in the market today that it is crucial for brands to solidify their brand identity, with a powerful foundation to build on. A strong brand not only helps the business in becoming a recognizable entity, but it also helps connect it emotionally with its customers.
A brand style guide ensures that the visual identity of the brand is consistent, nurtures relationships, and promotes loyalty. A brand style guide also acts as a foundational guide to keep all vested parties, both internal teams and third parties like agencies, media, etc., in sync. Read on as we look at the elements that help form a brand style guide. We have also handpicked 21 best brand style guide examples to draw visual inspiration from.
What Is a Brand Style Guide?
A brand style guide can be defined as an instruction manual on how a brand should present itself, to the external world and internally as well. It is also known as a brand manual, brand standard, or brand guideline. This rule book specifies every aspect of the look and feels of the brand through its logo, font, color selections, photography, copy, and more. A brand style guide helps bring consistency and enables a standardized experience to every brand interaction a customer has.
What Is the Importance of a Brand Style Guide?
It is crucial that every brand establishes a comprehensive style guide to ensure a continuous and pleasant customer experience. A customer should experience the same attributes across every touch-point to build brand loyalty.
Some companies like Trello, Adobe, and Skype even publish their brand style guides online so that every employee has access to these. A consistent brand style guide across all channels helps in brand recognition, and, since we are all creatures of habit, we tend to stick to brands that have become familiar to us over time.
Having a style guide will also help your brand earn recognition among the masses. As a result, it will get imprinted in the minds of your audience over time. What’s more? It will help your brand engage better with your target audience.
6 Key Elements of a Brand Style Guide
A style guide template generally consists of six essential elements that need prioritizing. A designer can combine moods, feelings, and images and turn them into tangible sample brand style guides. These elements are as follows.
1. Brand story
This is a simple summary to introduce your brand to the world. The five key brand components like mission, vision, audience, personality, and values will help designers understand and represent your brand.
Some of the best brand style guides outline exactly how to use the logo consistently to make it recognizable. A brand style guide example Spotify has even included instructions about the usage of space, “exclusion zone” around the wordmark in its guide.
3. Color palette
A color palette represents a group of colors used throughout the branding. In most cases, the color palette is subdivided into primary colors, secondary colors, and neutrals. It also has color codes to keep it consistent throughout print, web, packaging, or even during giveaways.
Another critical part of a brand style guide includes specific fonts. It also specifies how to use them and where to access them. Some style guides also mention fonts you can fall back on.
In this part of a brand style guide, rules for the types, quality, and sizes of images to be used are provided. For example, the brand style guide for LinkedIn clearly states that it documents real people across professions.
This is one aspect of the brand style guide that does not have a visual impact. This part of the guide drives the overall personality of the brand, the tone, and the language used.
21 Best Brand Style Guides to Learn From
Now that you know what a brand style guide is and what it entails roughly, we bring you a list of 21 brand style guide examples for inspiration.
The fact that music triggers emotions is well known. Spotify’s artfully curated playlists simply lift the mood or set the tone for a party. It is one of the best brand style guide examples. The brand has created a strong identity for itself, thanks to everything from its branding efforts to the music collection on the platform.
NASA’s extensive brand style guidelines cover everything from its logo to uniform patches. NASA can easily be called the epitome of brand recognition, even beyond our planet (read: on the moon).
The brand provides templates for even screenshots and live broadcasts, to ensure that the exact formatting is used by everyone. It follows a detailed design process: right from its logo to photographs.
Travelers globally consider a good rating on TripAdvisor as a mark of validation for the hotel or the destination itself. Hotels and restaurants display their TripAdvisor ratings to create trust and take pride in the fact that they are worthy of a review. A brand that is used by many globally, TripAdvisor has managed to carve out its visual identity that requires no introduction.
5. Facebook (now Meta)
It has a style guide with clear dos and don’ts when it comes to handling and representing the brand. This brand has even specified the correct language and phrases to use in order to maintain consistency and accuracy. Facebook is an inspiration when it comes to style guidelines, with details of logos, products names, and images mentioned in a systematic manner.
A global force, Uber is a brand that is known to tell its story through its guidelines. It specifies everything from the spacing in the logo and layout specifications to photography composition. Uber, when creating and using its visual brand style guide, follows the design principles to a T.
This telecommunications application shares its brand guidelines through conversation. It offers a refreshing yet unexpected approach to conveying its brand identity, i.e., through a comic strip format. Skype uses its core service, which is enhancing communication, for the overall guide.
The brand style guide for Twitter is no-nonsense and to the point. The guide not only focuses on the logo and social icons, but also provides color codes. Twitter has made its style guide accessible to everybody, which increases the chances of all associated parties presenting it right.
This brand has become a leader in the world of travel with an innovative accommodation model. It provides comfort and a sense of belonging while traveling. Airbnb, with its wide range of design elements, expresses its unique voice and story, while also bringing the brand to life.
10. National Geographic
A brand that resonates across generations and borders, National Geographic’s visual brand style guide is consistent across print, television, and social media. One of the reasons why it’s managed to become an iconic brand with so much recognition is its detailed style guide.
The brand style guide for Walmart is colorful and dynamic, which augurs well with its trustworthy and professional retailer vibe. The brand manual covers all the bases and is another example that uses signature colors and type within the brand style guide itself.
It is believed that Cisco’s brand style guide is an interactive brand book and not just an ordinary manual. It is more like a design guideline, with the company’s mission, culture, and value proposition defined clearly. This guide not only provides the usual color palettes and font type, but also offers a library of approved photographs, audio, and video that can be used any time.
As far as its public brand assets are concerned, Netflix is focused primarily on the treatment of its logo. This brand offers a simple set of rules for the size, spacing, color code, and placement of its classic red logo. Netflix lays a huge emphasis on its logo and symbol for immediate brand recognition, and the results are out there for all to see.
For the ease of the users, LinkedIn provides a simple online brand style guide as a one-stop-shop for all its design-related essentials. It has one of the best brand style guides, full of resources, downloadable prints, and web color palettes.
This brand is known to have taken its brand story to the sky, literally. Apart from the standard brand style guide, Lufthansa has a library of videos to explain the brand and its meaning.
Regardless of the location, every Starbucks cuppa smells and tastes the same. Starbucks’ experience is carefully associated with its brand identity, visible from even blocks away. It is another great brand style guide example that thoroughly outlines the core branding elements for the brand.
Apple is famous as a well-maintained brand with a meticulous set of brand style guidelines. This guide has a concise and detailed explanation of every aspect of the brand.
The visual manual for Google is detailed and meticulous. It even covers the way individual pixels should be used when creating icons. Google’s brand style guide is a good balance between graphics and content. It cleverly captures the usage of tones and graphics as well.
The Nike logo is recognizable anywhere you go. Nike’s brand style guidelines talk the language of sport. Even its stores are vibrant with visual brand assets.
The brand style guide for Coca-Cola gives an insight into its logo specifications, color, positioning, signature bottle graphics, typography, and spacing. With a detailed do’s and don’ts list for both online and print, the guide really sets the brand apart from its competitors.
This brand is very particular about the usage of its logo. It offers specific guidelines for co-branding, even though a brand may use Amazon as its marketplace. The Amazon brand style guide provides clear instructions for the color, size, and spacing of the logo and icons.
- A brand style guide acts as your guard by keeping things in the right lane.
- A style guide is a manual with specifics and leaves no room for confusion and ambiguity.
- A clearly formulated design manual helps keep all stakeholders aware and on the right track.
- Some of the best brand style guides are easy to navigate and accessible.
- Keep referring back to the brand style guide till it really sinks in.
- Keep the guide simple and easy to read.
It can be easy to send mixed messages when it comes to a brand. A brand style guide allows everyone representing the brand to make a lasting impression on the target audience consistently. Initiate your brand style guide with a great story. Don’t just brainstorm the details; document it all in your style guide.
From a consumer’s perspective, the entire experience of a consumer with a business and the products/services it produces gives the brand the identity we associate it with. These elements help establish an emotional connection with the consumer. A brand needs to keep its communication channels to preserve its identity and reach.
A brand style is a document of guidelines created by brands to ensure that all the brand’s fundamentals are communicated right, both internally and to third parties like the media, agencies, etc. It helps build consistency in how the brand is perceived and viewed, thus controlling how it engages the target audience.
A brand style guide helps communicate and regulate your company’s design standards with everyone who needs to use it. By providing a brand style guide, you are sharing with the world a strong brand voice, helping build brand awareness among the audience. With consistency, there will be a higher level of brand awareness and trust.
The primary elements of some of the best brand style guides include the logo, brand colors, images, typography, the tone used, and most importantly, the brand story.
A great visual identity can help brands communicate their purpose and mission to the audience at large. It makes them unique and helps them stand out from the crowd. Further, if the visual identity is scalable and is able to grow with the brand, it cements the brand in the audience’s minds even more.
Elements, such as a brand’s name, logo, tagline or slogan, packaging materials, packaging style, etc., can all be considered branding elements.