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

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.
"Perfect Search was our first investment in search engine optimization...we found that their results-driven approach and testing mentality would yield the largest ROI."
Michelle Houser

Tweets

Perfect Search Media
17h

is one of the top trends of 2017. (Mobile is so 2016). Here's why.

Perfect Search Media
19h

Who said working from home means working at a desk? Tune in Fridays this summer to see how we work from home. TGIF!

Perfect Search Media
22h

RT : Google now removing medical records from its search results by

Perfect Search Media
1d

Making some goals for the rest of 2017? Our CEO has some advice in this post.

Perfect Search Media
1d

In that Thursday afternoon slump? We got you. Spend some time on today's Doodle.

Perfect Search Media
1d

Happy ! Approximately 1/3 of the Perfect Search office bikes to work, so we're fans of this week.…

Perfect Search Media
2d

RT : When and How to Use Domain Authority, Page Authority, and Link Count Metrics 🎥 Whiteboard Friday…

Perfect Search Media
2d

Can't bring a fidget spinner to the office--but can't kick the habit? has your back.

Perfect Search Media
2d

Forget lunchtime. It's o'clock. Check out our latest infographic on the ins & outs of A/B testing!

Perfect Search Media
2d

New week, new update. Founder Travis Kalanick resigns & Uber will soon offer in-app tipping.

Perfect Search Media
3d

Happy birthday to our Director of SEO & Content Justin! Hope your day is filled with Red Baron frozen pizza and fan…

Perfect Search Media
3d

Still reeling from Amazon's big Whole Foods announcement? Now there's Prime Wardrobe. The future is now.

Perfect Search Media
4d

You might be addicted to , but some features give it a leg up on local search. City guides, anyone?

Perfect Search Media
4d

Some . It applies to and, well, everything. Challenge yourself this week.

Perfect Search Media
4d

RT : New Mozilla Poll: Americans from Both Political Parties Overwhelmingly Support Net Neutrality…

Perfect Search Media
5d

Crafting content for isn't just about keyword research. Think about how you can use to master the SERP.

Perfect Search Media
1w

Work-from-home Fridays make the summer so much sweeter.

Perfect Search Media
1w

RT : Jeff Bezos' Amazon buys Whole Foods: will brick and mortar retail ever be the same again?

Perfect Search Media
1w

Happy birthday to our Director of Biz Dev Tim! A cool popsicle is the perfect treat for a 😎 day.

Perfect Search Media
1w

Calling all gurus! We're looking for a knowledgeable SEO analyst to join our team. Check out the position now.

Perfect Search Media
1w

Yes, your website can target more than 1 keyword per page. No, that doesn't mean keyword stuffing is back.

Perfect Search Media
1w

RT : Ms. Pac-Man has been targeted by AI researchers for years, but no player, human or otherwise, has ever scored so big

Perfect Search Media
1w

"They need to find a use case where it would help publishers make better content." Want to influence ?

Perfect Search Media
1w

Sometimes balancing & is like balancing on a tightrope. (Maybe. We've never tried the latter.)

Perfect Search Media
1w

Cue "Eye of the Tiger." Our kickball team is getting ready for the big playoffs tonight. Wish us luck! 🐯🏆✨

Perfect Search Media
1w

Don't get flashbacks of high school chemistry. This periodic table is way less scary! Get studying.

Perfect Search Media
1w

RT : What tools support mobile SEO? has compiled a list that will help you answer all your mobile SEO questions.…

Perfect Search Media
2w

Interrupt. Distract. Clutter. These are new criteria for penalizing bad . Make sure you're not guilty.

Perfect Search Media
2w

Interesting UK perspective on how & always exert some kind of influence over politics. Thoughts?

Perfect Search Media
2w

to our PSM Instagram Challenge. Love this shot of dedicated bikers Rachel & Eric!

Find us on Facebook

is one of the top trends of 2017. (Mobile is so 2016). Here's why.