What to Include in Your Brand's Style Guide
What is a style guide?
In simpler terms, your style guide is where you store everything on your blog that you plan to replicate. This is to make sure that your blog stays consistent and your brand is always recognizable.
Here are the things you need to have in your style guide to keep your blog's style consistent:
Every color has a color code. You can't just say your blog's colors are red, pink, and white. There are TONS of different shades of each of those colors. People should be able to recognize your brand by the specific mixture of these shades.
This also helps you out when you need to create something for your blog and are using different software, apps, etc. than you normally use. Even if you are out of your element, you can always refer to your style guide to make sure that whatever you are creating still has the consistent colors of your brand.
Be sure to only choose 2-3 colors. Too many different colors can often confuse your readers. It's much easier to remember a brand as pink, blue, and white as opposed to black, pink, red, blue, green, and white. You should also figure out what colors go with what.
Choose 2-3 fonts that you plan to use often on your blog. These are the fonts that will make your blog easily recognizable by your audience. You should also think about when you will use each font. (main font, heading 1, heading 2, etc.)
3. Cohesive images
What kind of images mesh best with the aesthetic of your brand?
Create a palette of images. No, not the ones that catch your eye, but the ones that you feel best represent your brand and gives off the vibe you want people to feel when they come to your site. This keeps your focus away from photos that you think are pretty, and on photos that actually benefit the overall style of your brand.
You should also consider what size these images will be. You want to make sure that all images on your blog are the same size when used in certain ways. For example, our cover photo is a lot bigger than the photos we used for demonstration above.
4. Branded images
Then, you want to brand them. As a brand, people need to be able to recognize your blog anywhere. When you are sharing one of your blog posts, or anything with a photo, it should be branded. Also, your blog's website should be on the branded photo. Not only does this eliminate having someone steal your photo without giving credit to you, it also gives your reader an extreme amount of consistency.
Don't get me wrong, when branding your photos it's okay to get creative. BUT it's also very important that you create consistent imagery. When having cover photos for your blog, they should all be cohesive with one another.
What tone do you want to convey to your readers? (serious, professional, friendly, etc.) Write about 2-3 short paragraphs in this tone and place them in your style guide. If you're ever unsure of if your blog is keeping that tone consistent, refer back to your style guide and read those paragraphs to refresh yourself.
6. Professional head shots
You are apart of your brand. It's important that you have professional head shots to represent that brand in a professional way. You don't want these photos to get lost somewhere or any tragic situation like that, so you want to make sure to have these in your style guide. It also really comes in handy when you need to send a photo of yourself for something business related or if you need to insert your image into a quick edit.
7. Your bio
This saves me SO much time. Sometimes, I go on a guest blogging spree to network with other bloggers and to get my information in front of new faces. On those occasions, the main two things the other blogger needs from me is my head shot and my bio.
Instead of having to create one each time, I have a set bio in my style guide ready to go! This also works well for any business endeavor, really. Whether it be working with brands, having someone feature you on their site, or just collaborating with another blogger on a project.