Why Your Company Needs a Style Guide & How to Create One
Everyone has their own style. We all speak with our own voice. We each have our own characteristics that make us who we are. The colors and clothes we wear express our own individual flair. This is what we present to the world and how people recognize us. It’s our identity, our style.
Imagine your best friend, let's call him Jeff. Everyday he wears flannels and jeans... and I mean everyday. That’s his style. That’s him. Then one day he shows up in all black with a purple mohawk. You would be extremely confused. What’s going on? You thought you knew Jeff. Who is this person? Is he not who you thought he was all along? These ideas are also true for brands and their style. Here are the top two reasons why a company needs a style guide (and how to start creating one).
1. Consistency for your audience
This relates to the above scenario. You need to be consistent to build trust. Customers like reliability. They don’t like the unknown when it comes to something they put their trust and hard earned money towards. With consistency comes reliability, then, after that, come customers who keep coming back for more.
Consistency with your style also brings on recognition. People know you. They can easily recognize you and pick you out of the crowd.
Consistency breeds brand recognition, and that is something that every company absolutely needs to succeed.
2. It saves everyone time, money and productivity
Time, money and productivity are three highly cherished thing that everyone wants to save. Style guides save money and time simply by existing. Clients and employees refer back to the guide instead of taking time out of their day to ask questions of others when the answers can quickly be found in it. Questions about color schemes, punctuation, logos, fonts, personality, etc., all live here. It eliminates time waste and prevents a disruption of someone else’s productivity.
Style guides are also great for new hires as they can refer to it to learn more about the voice of the company and get a better understanding of the company’s core values and “personality”.
Get started building your guide!
If you have your company’s information spread out all over the place, and you're not sure where to start when it comes to compiling it together in a guide, here are a few points of what to include to get started:
- Figure out your writing style. Go through your website, documents, ebooks and any other form of content your company has. Examine other written style guides like the Associated Press or Chicago Manual of Style to see if there is one you would like to closely align with
- Look at other examples of style guides. Hubspot’s style guide is a great reference to get you thinking. Do some research to find out what other companies are doing to spark inspiration
- Create a brand persona for your own company. Who are you? What are your traits? Create a list and pick out characteristics. This will help you get a better understanding of your voice
- Get organized. Make sure everyone has a copy of the style guide, or make it available to them so they have access
If you think you don’t have enough information to create a style guide, don’t worry! Start one anyway and add to it as you get things going. If there is one thing you take away from this post, it’s that you absolutely need one.
Do you have any favorite brand style guides? Share them in the comments below! Are you looking to define