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Brand Style Guide vs. Brand Identity

Want to take the next step to make your brand stand out? You will learn the difference between brand identity and brand style and how to apply them to your business strategy.

Kristi Ray

Kristi Ray — 12 minute read.

You may come across the terms brand style guide and brand identity, and people tend to use them interchangeably. However, they do have some differences.

When you hear the word “brand,” you may immediately think of a logo, a colour, or a particular product that’s a customer favourite. However, a brand is more than its products and services — it encompasses the relationship between a business and its customers.

Brand Style Guide Brand Identity

Whether you want to rebrand your business or create a new brand on the market, understand the terms brand style guide and brand identity. You need to know how to correctly use brand style guides for the benefit of your company.

Let us tell you all about it in this comprehensive guide.

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Differences Between Brand Identity And Brand Style Guide

What Is Brand Identity?

Every individual has something unique about themselves that makes their identity. For you, it may be your ability to cook up a storm. A friend’s unique identifier may be his singing skill or writing skill. And for some, it may be the way they look.

Similarly, the unique aspect that distinguishes one brand from another is its brand identity. Although the terms “branding” and “brand image” often describe a business’s identity, some minor differences lie between them.

While branding refers to the active steps to market itself to customers and develop a certain image, its identity is what its customers think of it. Your brand’s identity will be what customers think about or talk about your brand consciously and subconsciously.

It makes the brand recognisable to customers — how they remember the brand, its products, or its services.

Brand Identity

What Is a Brand Style Guide?

Think of your brand style guide as a personal playbook or brand bible. This playbook contains all the secret information and brand guidelines that your brand must follow. The brand style guide ensures that everyone on the team follows the same brand strategy and is on the same page.

Essentially, the brand guidelines contain elements of brand colours, multiple brand fonts, brand palette, brand style, and the brand story. It also tells the brand how it should use its brand identity to appeal to its target audience and create a unique perspective in their minds about the organisation.

Each brand has its style guide, which it should follow. It contains both the voice and the brand elements that define what the company is and what it follows.

Hence, it is important to create a unique brand book for your brand, which should clearly define the brand style guides and story. Not just that, a great brand will also provide clear instructions that ensure that all its employees clearly understand the brand style guide and follow the same core values.

Brand Style Guide

How To Create The Brand Identity?

Before creating an identity design for the company, it is crucial to understand and visualise your brand story and know it. The most important part of combining the elements that make a brand’s tone is staying true to the brand’s motto and voice and understanding a few critical factors.

Ask yourself these essential questions before creating the voice and identity of your brand -

  • What is the mission of your brand — why does it exist?
  • What are the values and mission statements of the brand?
  • What do you offer? Which products and services solve customers’ issues?
  • How are you unique from other brands?
  • How would it sound, and what would it say?

Long story short, these are the key elements that make your brand’s identity unique. So take your time to understand these elements and answer them accurately.

What To Ask Yourself As A Brand Owner?

As a business owner, there are a few vital questions you can ask yourself before creating a strong brand.

  • Why did you decide to start this particular business?
  • What are the primary beliefs and goals that are important to the business?
  • What is the unique skill that you have that most brands do not?
  • What three words would best describe your brand?
  • What three words would you want customers to associate with your brand?

Understanding these elements is not difficult; however, it is imperative to take time out and sit with these important questions. The answers you get from them will inspire you to create a great brand that customers admire.

Alternatively, you can look at other brands online and visit their websites for inspiration. There may even be a learning centre where you can sign up as a new brand to understand the key elements that make up the identity of any company.

A website or online company may offer a free guide with concrete examples of how these guidelines and elements helped shape their brand. And we’d strongly recommend taking a look at the mission statement of each brand to understand them better.

Most brands choose to hire marketing professionals and web designers to help them create content guidelines and get a consistent look throughout their website. You can decide to take this option once you have understood these essential elements.

Tips On Designing Your Brand Identity

Take a look at some of the top brands on the market — from Adidas to Samsung, Rolex, or even Domino’s. What do these brands have in common? For starters, they all have a unique company logo, different font, colour palette, and brand equity.

These are the corporate design assets of each brand. And to create a strong brand identity, you need to have a concrete design plan for your brand. So, here are the key elements of developing your brand design.

1. Colour Palette

Do you notice something that the logos of many fast food joints have in common? Think of Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Domino’s, Burger King, etc. You will see that one of the key colours is red.

Logo Colour Wheel

Wondering why that is? Well, that’s because this colour attracts attention and triggers your appetite. Hence, it’s no wonder that most fast food joints use a combination of red and yellow to alert customers and invite them for a quick meal.

On the other hand, you may notice a lot of restaurants using the colour green. This is also a colour psychology trick, as green produces a calming and inviting effect for the customers. They are persuaded to enter the calm atmosphere, relax, unwind, and enjoy a meal in peace.

You should always ensure that your designer has a good grasp of hex codes and understands how to use colours correctly to create different impacts.

When creating your brand style and logo, study the psychology of different colours and their effects on people’s minds. Plus, research and create logo guidelines that designers will follow when creating a brand logo for your company. Indeed, you don’t want to give the wrong message to your customers.

2. Typography

The next thing you need to pay attention to is the typography. Ideally, it should be consistent throughout the website design and business cards and logos. Remember that choosing the right typography can significantly affect how customers perceive your brand.

As such, there are four main types of font styles you can choose from -

  • Script
  • Serif
  • Sans Serif
  • Display

Certain font styles can provoke specific emotions among customers, so ensure that you study font styles well. You can check out font style guides online or take the help of a professional to choose the right one.

Psychology Fonts

Other important aspects to remember in typography are the tracking and kerning ratios. These refer to the space between letters and between blocks of texts. And they have a massive impact on how a customer may read, retain and accept a certain brand logo.

3. Shape

Did you know that even the shapes you use on brand logos and font styles can affect how customers perceive it?

Some examples of this can be using circular or round shapes to create and foster feelings of love, unity and community. Rounded shapes are also considered more feminine than sharp edges and shapes.

Psychology Shapes

However, using shapes like triangles, rectangles and squares in typography and logo can change the tone of your branding, making it seem strong and efficient. Beware of using just sharp edges and shapes for your brand style, as it may give off an impersonal and cold feeling to audiences.

It is best to neutralise and balance these shapes with bright and fun colours.

4. Logo

Undoubtedly, your brand’s logo is one of the most important things customers will remember you by. And using the wrong logo for branding can give out the wrong message to your customers without you even realising it.

Many brands don’t realise that opting for a clean, uncluttered logo with a clear message can be more powerful than using a messy or clumsy logo. While these logos may look appealing at first and may even seem unique to you, they can be harder to retain in a customer’s mind.

Ideally, you should follow the industry guidelines and standards when creating a logo for your brand. However, it is completely fine if you choose not to, but make sure that you know the tone and message.

It is also vital to design secondary logos for a brand — something that is a simpler version of the original. Mostly, this is done to make the logo acceptable, appealing and compatible with smaller formats that you may use on a website or a business card.

6. Website

Having a user-friendly and informational website is just as important as creating a solid identity for your brand. Most customers check out a company’s website to learn more about it before purchasing a product or service.

You must follow certain content guidelines when creating a good company website. And hiring a professional for the task will take care of all these complexities for your company website.

How To Create The Brand Style Guide?

Now that you know all about creating a strong identity for your brand let us talk about the brand style guide.

Taking note of all the minor details when creating a brand identity can be tough, if not impossible. So, a brand style guide is a personal rulebook that contains all the relevant information about the logos, colour palette, fonts, and other design elements that make your brand identity.

Without proper guidelines, brands can unintentionally misuse their design elements in marketing strategies. Examples of this may be placing a brand logo with a dark or neutral hue on a website with a dark navy and blue background. Doing so will make the brand logo invisible, but it will also negatively impact audiences.

However, having a brand style guide can help you make these decisions much more easily and quickly without much trial and error. Plus, the brand guide can be created by team members or with the help of a professional. Some of the things that you can include here are:

  • The name and tagline and what they communicate
  • The voice or tone of the brand communication (humour, formal, etc.)
  • An idea of the intended audience through suitable personas

When it comes to creating a lasting impact on customers, neither content nor the products and services on their own can get the job done. It is an amalgamation of your brand style, core values, marketing strategies and consistent efforts into customer research that can truly make an impact.

If you want to create a brand style that appeals to audiences, having style brand style guides in a written form can help you make certain vital decisions while creating the logos, choosing the typography, colours, etc.

Why Is Brand Style Guide Important?

A brand style guide essentially tells you the right colours, typeface, shapes and design elements you can use for the brand’s advantage. No company exists without proper style guides, which help them create a consistent look.

Trying to define a tone and style for your brand without following proper guidelines can give the brand an inconsistent and messy appearance, which is very unappealing to audiences.

If you are struggling with creating a brand style guide for your company, take a look at some of the examples followed by top brands in the industry. Additionally, you can check out their marketing strategies and how they use certain colours, fonts, and themes to the optimum advantage.

Reasons Brand Guideline

Building a Brand for Your Business

The brand style guide and brand identity are two important assets for any brand that can affect how their target audiences perceive them.

Every brand wants to be seen in a good light among customers. And the best way to ensure that you have a strong style guide and identity is to hire professional designers and experts for your company.

Some business owners find that doing this on their own can be challenging. This is why the team at sitecentre®️ is here to make a difference. It’s our mission to help small businesses develop a compelling online identity and brand. We can assist in developing a style guide that enhances your company’s image while ensuring the logo, mission, and other visual elements are designed for success. You can reach our team by calling the telephone number on our website.

With your style guide in hand, it won’t be long before customers see your brand as one of the industry’s best, most appealing ones!

Kristi Ray

Kristi Ray

Kristi is head of content production and editing at sitecentre® and joined the team in early 2021 based out of our Sunshine Coast office to deliver higher-quality content to our partners. Kristi has a vast knowledge of copywriting styles and experience to accelerate the production of SEO friendly content at the highest levels.

Find them on their website: sitecentre® and LinkedIn.

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