Why Every Brand Needs a Styleguide

Solid brands use everything they can to develop that certain attraction we all long for. To do that, they all have style guides. It’s just a set of rules to keep them on track, right? Wrong! It’s much more than that. Keep reading to find out how much more a style guide means to your brand.

Recognizable

The very best reason to use a style guide is that it builds something recognizable. You want your brand to be picked out of the noise of your competition, don’t you? I couldn’t fool anyone by changing the name of a popular brand that was already recognizable. A brand like Coco Cola has built such recognition it would be crazy to try copying it, right?!

Knackhäus Cola? Nope!

A style guide establishes a brand as something recognizable. It gives it some unique that their user will identify with. That brings us to the next element of a great brand.

Authenticity

Like I pointed out earlier, copying a brand’s style guide is a huge mistake. It’s obvious, right? But you can’t just “not copy” a brand to make yours unique. You have to put in some thought and energy to find out who your brand is.

Many companies skip this step of their style guide and fail because of it. They don’t fail because the copy another brand, no, they fail because they don’t take the time to develop who they are.

A brand’s identity drives its authenticity.

Finding your brand’s authentic self is just as hard as finding your true self. This isn’t some kind of metaphysical, esoteric crap. It’s the real work of knowing your values and your motivations.

Patagonia’s Logo

Patagonia’s brand is built around the founder,Yvon Chouinard‘s values (Read more about that here, if you’re interested). Those values drive the growth and direction of the company, and the brand communicates those values. Patagonia makes it easier to go out and experience nature. Their tag-line, There every step of they way, communicates the camaraderie and support they have cultivated for decades. This leads to the next piece in building your brand.

Authority

Dieter Rams Calculator

There was a time when you only wanted one calculator. That was the Braun one. It was iconic, mostly because of the amazing design talent of Dieter Rams. Braun was the authority and the leveraged their brand alongside a brilliant designer.

They’re not the only company who has done this. Apple copied this tactic through Jon Ive who loved this calculator so much that the iPhone‘s version of it is almost plagiarism.

Consistency

It’s not about how many times you post during a day. Brand consistency is how on track you are with your message. It’s a clear communication delivered without conflicting ideas. Consistency also means your brand looks the same ever time your customer sees it.

Target nails consistency. They constantly cross-promote their products while maintaining enough consistency so that their customers recognize their ads. Watch this commercial to see for yourself.

The ad starts with the logo and ends with the logo. It features lots of different styles from other brands but remains true to the bold red color scheme, and the mascot, Bullseye.

The consistency of your brand builds on its authority and authenticity, but it really pays off in showing how recognizable it is.

What About You?

As you read, did you think of your brand and what it communicates through each of these elements? Maybe you realize that it needs a little work. That’s ok. Most brands evolve over time.

If you want some help with your brand, I would love to hear from you. Contact me for a free brand evaluation.

Read more like this at Knackhäus.

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