Essential Style Guide Elements For Your Brand

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Essential Style Guide Elements For Your Brand

By Samantha Brooks on 18 January, 2016

Essential Style Guide Elements For Your Brand

Today, an average business pumps out a huge volume of advertising, marketing, content, and other information that puts their branding in front of customers. Often multiple people and teams are responsible for different channels and components of a company’s brand identity.

While it is great for businesses to have so many opportunities to be seen by current and potential customers, it also poses a risk. The more spread out your brand is across different channels, and the more people responsible for creating the content, the more opportunities there are for inconsistencies and error. Branding inconsistencies are a source of embarrassment for any business (small or large) because they give the impression that the company is disunited, unprofessional, and untrustworthy.

The best way you can maintain consistency for your brand is to create and maintain a style guide. For more information on why you need a style guide as part of your business procedures, check out this great article from Flying Solo.

What is a Style Guide?

A style guide is a document that contains instructions on how to represent your brand and business, both visually and in any company-produced writing. There are lots of potential elements and sections to a style guide, depending on your business, but the most common elements might include:

  • Writing
  • Tone
  • Colour palette
  • Logo usage
  • Fonts and sizing
  • Where to find multimedia

Read on to find out more about each of these areas of your style guide.

Essential Style Guide Elements

If you’re thinking of putting together a style guide for your company, you can start by reading an overview of the following sections, or even use them as your own template. This approach is basic, but it make a great starting point to help your team get on track with branding consistency.


This section has the potential to be huge, so I’ll just list a few of the points you should consider including, but it’s a good idea to go into more detail specific to your own industry.

  • Language (UK/Australian English vs US English)
  • Commonly confused words (for example, do you write ebook or e-book?)
  • Emphasis (bold, italics, etc.)
  • Use of bullet points
  • Types of topics that are approved and not approved for publication
  • How to reference your sources
  • Abbreviations
  • Capitalisations
  • How to write commonly used terms in your company/industry, including the name of your products, your company name, etc.


This could come under writing, but it really deserves its own separate section. When you are communicating to your audience, you should have the same tone of voice across all channels. Consider whether you want to talk in first person or third person. Should you use industry jargon, or make it so that the everyday reader could decipher your content? Consider how your content should sound… professional, academic, educational, luxurious, hilarious, sarcastic, neutral, opinionated, conversational, or something else entirely?

The choice is yours, but whatever you choose, make sure you are clear about it in your style guide, by stating your preferred tone and giving clear examples of what is and isn’t acceptable. Check out more information on style and tone in this great article from Hubspot.

Colour palette

A style guide isn’t just about consistency in your writing, but also with how your brand is displayed visually. Providing your team with an acceptable colour palette will ensure that all materials produced accurately represent your brand’s colours. Also, let’s be real here. Not all team members have a good eye for design – this is a safeguard against some potentially ugly/clashing colour combinations!

An example of what your colour palette might look like is shown below.


Logo usage

Just because you have a logo, doesn’t mean that it can and should be used everywhere and in any old format. Points you should address in your style guide include:

  • Where to find the original file sources for your logo
  • When to use certain formats of the logo (png, jpeg, pdf, etc.)
  • Versions of the logo for social media profiles
  • Rules on maintaining appropriate logo sizing ratios
  • How to stage the logo for best viewing
  • Use in advertising, marketing collateral, third party usage

Fonts and sizing

Providing guidelines for the right fonts and sizing to use in different situations is another important element to keep your look consistent across all platforms. It is important to designate a font for:

  • Headings (1,2,3,4)
  • Body text
  • Alignment, margins, borders
  • Standard header and footer formats

Where to find images and multimedia

An important, but often overlooked element of a style guide is information on where to source images and other media files. Multimedia is an increasingly important element of producing content for businesses. It is essential to provide clear guidance on where to find the following types of media:

  • Logo files
  • In-house professional photos of staff, products, and places of business
  • Any relevant video footage
  • Any relevant jingles, branded company music, etc.
  • Acceptable professional stock photos, graphics, and images
  • Account access to stock photo websites
  • Where applicable, contact details of designers, photographers, and producers who the company has worked with in the past

How to Make Sure Your Style Guide Succeeds

Now that we’ve been through the key elements involved… it’s time to get real. At the end of the day, a style guide is a pretty uninteresting document that you and your staff probably won’t want to pick up. But ensuring that everyone is on the same page is extremely important.

When you create your style guide, make sure you involve as many members of your team as possible, and get them on board from the beginning. Explain why it is so important, how to use it, and ask for their own perspectives. This will ensure a wider adoption of the style guide from the very start, without leaving it up to one person to police an entire group of people (no one wants to be the grammar nazi).

Finally, make sure you keep it up to date. Companies change, and so does the world of marketing and advertising. Make a point of reviewing your style guide about once a year, or whenever your company or industry makes a significant change.

Over to you now…

Does your business have a style guide? If so, what have you included in it so far? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

If you’d like help with your branding, design, putting together a style guide, or have any questions about this article, please get in touch with our team at Fuse Agency. We’d love to chat. Give us a call today on (07) 3198 4890.

If you have a question and want to get in touch, contact us or call us 07 3198 4890. If you are interested in keeping up to date with Fuse, subscribe to our enews.