From my personal experience I’ve had tremendous problems explaining to people outside of our field what ‘tone and voice’ is.
One of the problems I’ve observed is that key decision makers are not as holistic thinkers as they ought to be in this day and age. Many coming from business background where it’s all relationships, politics and numbers.
Secondly many designers who do get into the position of having to make a style guide are similarily concerned purely with the visual communication. To many self-taught designers who succumb to the first party mentioned above might come as a surprise that the basis of communication doesn’t lie in making a cool looking shape and putting refined type next to it. To have bunch of colours and font hiearchy defined is also not moving you that much further.
Both parties too often forget (or omit) the core of communication, which is to speak with a premise and a point. Answering: “who, what, when, why and how.” How do you answer it? With meaningful words. And it’s not just what you say, but how you say it. And it’s not just how you say it, but who you say it to when and why.
Agreed. Brand tone and voice is the basis from which all the communication comes out. We should be focusing on making people understand how to craft it correctly and explaining it in a simple fashion, rather than just writting it down to be just read and used without understanding the premise.