Describe the visual identity.
A brand’s first impression is often visual, so it’s important to codify the details of its graphic design elements. A brand style guide should contain rules on how and when creatives can use the assets in the brand kit.
Specify a full logo — the logo image locked up with the company name — for use wherever space allows. Provide a secondary logo for use in situations when the full one is unnecessary or will not fit. Be specific about the proportions and alignment of its design and text elements, down to the pixel, so the brand presents a consistent face to the world. You might also include a list of design do’s and don’ts and specify which logo treatments to avoid because they don’t fit with the brand identity. A tool like Adobe Illustrator is a great option for logo creation.
Establish primary and secondary colors. Specify the hex code for each color, so whether a designer is using CMYK color codes for the brand’s printed material or RGB for the website, they can replicate the exact shades every time.
Note the two or three typefaces the brand uses. Explain the use cases for each font as well as the desired size, spacing, and weight. Whatever font family represents the brand, it’s important that designers use it consistently. Be sure to include web styles, so developers know how to create uniform pages.
Define the brand’s photographic style. Is it candid or posed? Professional or casual? Is it a purple-haired young woman at a music festival? An elderly couple walking on the beach? Refer back to your buyer personas to define the types of photos that will appeal to each.
From social media icons to mobile app buttons, the details matter. Iconography should be both easy to understand and consistent with the brand’s other design elements. Icons should work with logos and typography to create a unified look across all communications.