How to Create an Easy Brand Style Guide For Your Business: Part I
877-655-8227

Blog

How to Create an Easy Brand Style Guide For Your Business: Part I

How to Create an Easy Brand Style Guide For Your Business: Part I

Senior Designer
January 19, 2017

Communication is key--especially when it comes to design. Whether you’re creating your own branded materials or working with third-party designers to help out your company’s swamped design team, you need to be able to communicate effectively and efficiently.

Ideally, every company would have a brand guideline PDF that explains every intricacy of your design components. Effective and efficient? Check and check.

Unfortunately, many businesses--especially smaller companies--don’t have the resources to do so. And that’s okay. That’s why I’ve put together the key brand elements your team needs to be able to convey to whoever works on your design presence.

When you don’t have a complete brand guideline, this two-part shortlist will help you put together an easy brand style guide for your business. In Part I, we’ll dive into brand logos and colors.

 

Logo style guide

You might think that most companies only have one logo. It’s not that simple. Even if you’re a small business, it’s common to have one logo in color and one in black and white. And that’s just the beginning.

 

Logo size 

Because logos are used in many different formats for different purposes, every company should have multiple options to make sure you’re making the best of each space.

A common variation companies should have is a horizontal logo and a vertical logo. This orientation switch is crucial for the social media world. If your company has a long horizontal logo, it’s tough to fit into that square box that is used widely by sites like Facebook and Twitter. 

Having a stacked version also helps when trying to save space on smaller formats like Google display ads.

Of course, using your logo symbol in place of your full logo is another good alternative depending on how well known and/or how descriptive your symbol is.

 

Logo color

Like I mentioned above, a must-have logo variation is a color logo versus a black and white logo. Here’s why.

If you have a logo that has multiple colors, it may be hard to overlay and be seen on certain images or backgrounds. Having an all-white or all-black version helps the logo to be more universally used and stand out in necessary cases.

 

Logo format 

As much as I’d love to get into the differences between file formats like JPEG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, EPS, AI and PSD, all you really need to know is that PNG, GIF, PSD, EPS, and AI are best when handing off your logo to a third party.

PNG and GIF both offer transparency options while JPEG and TIFF do not. AI, EPS and PSD are editable vector- and pixel-based formats, meaning you need a special program to open them and the logo is workable.

Transparent backgrounds are necessary when you want to use your logo across multiple platforms. If you don’t send your logo on a transparent background, you’re trusting the third party to either eliminate the background themselves or take your uniquely shaped logo and use it as an ugly rectangle or square. Don’t let that happen!

Know when to send the appropriate logo format. You’ll save everyone a lot of time and effort.

 

Color style guide

Believe it or not, there are many ways to describe a color. ROYGBIV is what they teach you in elementary school art class, but the color world extends far beyond this rainbow.

The four main formats are Pantone, CMYK, RGB, and Hexadecimal (hex).

Pantone Inc. is a company that created the Color Matching System. This system standardized colors so they could be used across different manufacturers and industries. Most of their colors are based on the combination of 13 base pigments and are widely used in printing, paint, fabric and plastics.

Though Pantone is used in the printing world, CMYK is more commonly used by the majority of printers around the world. CMYK refers to the combination of four inks used in color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black).

Unlike Pantone and CMYK, RGB is the mixture of light instead of pigment. It uses the additive color model in which red, blue and green are combined to reproduce a wide variety of colors. RGB was created for the digital age for the screens of televisions and computers. 

Hexadecimal colors are specified with RGB to be used in HTML for use in browsers. Hexadecimal colors use two integers between 00 and FF for red (RR), green (GG), and blue (BB).

Okay, so what does this mini-color lesson have to do with you? Well, you probably spent a lot of time choosing the exact colors for your brand. Know that there’s more than one way to communicate that color to a design team. 

In order to communicate these colors across people and programs, you need to use the correct format. When creating graphics and logos,  you can’t just say your colors are blue and yellow. Trust me.

When working with a web designer, you use RGB or hex colors. When working with a printer, you normally use CMYK and in some cases Pantone. When working with an interior designer, you use Pantone. Follow these guidelines and you’ll never face a color mix-up again.

 

--

Scrambling to get your logos and colors all organized? No rush. We’ll follow up with Part II to our Easy Brand Style Guide shortlist soon.

Don’t forget to check out the 12 design terms even non-designers should know.

Senior Designer
Anna Swierenga is a huge Moulin Rouge fan who has always called Chicago home. When she’s not geeking out over data visualizations and science fiction things, Anna spends her days planning her next trip – and the lantern festival in Thailand is at the top of her list.
"Great service, knowledgeable staff and great results- its what we've been looking for."
Tyler Large

Tweets

Perfect Search Media
9h

Those gorgeous Instagram photobooths are coming back to the and we are ready 🤳🏾

Perfect Search Media
9h

Is your brand using Instagram Stories? has your essential guide to getting started:

Perfect Search Media
10h

is taking over the world and 's "Is This An Ad" column might just save us all:

Perfect Search Media
14h

Re-engaging previously interested customers is a tough thing to do. Messenger ads make it easy:

Perfect Search Media
17h

Think UX is a designer's domain? It directly impacts your CRO, so , listen up!

Perfect Search Media
1d

Bring on the stats! Facebook has a new update for Analytics for Apps:

Perfect Search Media
1d

Thinking about revamping your website? Don't forget critical decisions:

Perfect Search Media
1d

Twitter is taking another step in its uphill battle against abuse:

Perfect Search Media
1d

Social video views are climbing, but best practices are different on every platform. Get up to speed:

Perfect Search Media
2d

Changed Google ⭐ ratings mean not everyone gets a gold star. (We miss pre-K too.) on how to handle it:

Perfect Search Media
2d

Influencer marketing has a rep for being wildly expensive. wants to change all that:

Perfect Search Media
2d

Time to get wild with those title tags: Google has brought back emojis in (some) search results! 🎉🙌✨

Perfect Search Media
2d

Think is just basic advertising? Think again. hits the nail on the head with this piece on branding

Perfect Search Media
2d

? KaleLimp? WhaleSynth? You're not going crazy. It's all a brilliant campaign:

Perfect Search Media
3d

The technical education space is getting more crowded by the minute. Here's how to stay on top of the competition:

Perfect Search Media
3d

does a lot of heavy lifting, but you can make it work harder for you with a diversified campaign 💪

Perfect Search Media
3d

The factor in Google's local search rankings has changed, and it has a big impact on your strategies:

Perfect Search Media
3d

Your Facebook ads don't just have to sit in newsfeeds - deliver them straight to your audience in a private message:

Perfect Search Media
3d

You probably recognize Vans' "off the wall" tagline. But what does it really mean?

Perfect Search Media
4d

There's something different about the Perfect Search lobby but we can't quite put our finger on it...😇

Perfect Search Media
4d

Messenger has over one billion monthly active users. Is your business taking advantage of its advertising options?

Perfect Search Media
4d

Fooling around with /giphy isn't the only thing you can do on :

Perfect Search Media
4d

decisions are increasingly made online. Here's why colleges need to prioritize digital marketing:

Perfect Search Media
4d

Your hunt for the perfect internship is over. Check out our digital marketing, copywriting & design internships now!

Perfect Search Media
4d

The competition between Facebook and LinkedIn is heating up:

Perfect Search Media
5d

Open rates for emails is not a new conversation - but can you guess the open rate for brand Snapchat stories?

Perfect Search Media
5d

Google's search algorithm, Penguin, is a mystery even to nerds. We love this deep dive into what it really is:

Perfect Search Media
5d

In 2017, politics and advertising inevitably mingle. Here's what brands should know about navigating the situation:

Perfect Search Media
5d

Put away your Ray-Bans. The hottest new shades of the summer might just be Snap Spectacles:

Perfect Search Media
6d

CRO, UX, & A/B: do you know how these three fit together? Bump up your conversion rate by using them in tandem:

Find us on Facebook

Those gorgeous Instagram photobooths are coming back to the and we are ready 🤳🏾