DIY: Create a Brand Style Guide for Your Startup

DIY: Create a Brand Style Guide for Your Startup

Lara Tanner
Lara Tanner
DIY: Create a Brand Style Guide for Your...

Creating a brand style guide for your startup is daunting. There are so many elements to account for and an infinite amount of choices to make. Assembling a complete brand style guide can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned professionals.

Not to kick your cortisol levels into a higher gear than they already are, but did we mention your brand style guide is the primary resource that will be used to communicate your startup’s presence to the entire world? Talk about intimidating.

Don’t fret! Take a few deep breaths, release the stress from your shoulders, and trust the branding process. We’ve got you covered with these 7 tips on creating a brand style guide for your startup.

What’s a brand style guide?

A brand style guide is an all-inclusive reference directory for internal staff and external partners that explains how to correctly convey your brand. This guide ensures consistency when building out your distinctive brand.

Whether you’re just beginning to form your company or have been on your business grind for years, creating a brand style guide will take your startup to the next level.

Creating a guide may appear intimidating, but these 7 tips can help you effortlessly accomplish your goals.

Include your story

People want to connect with you. Including the “why” behind what you do is a great way to achieve that connection. Focus on what makes your company unique when compared to your competitors. What’s your vision for your company? Your core mission and message? What about your company makes your entrepreneurial heart sing?

Tell your customers who you are by including a brief history of your company and why what you do is important. A great way to make sure this section of your style guide is compelling is to ask your colleagues and friends to review your story. As the saying goes: two (or in some cases four) heads are better than one!

A group of younger people gather around a computer to brainstorm.

Telling your customers why you’re passionate about your startup will help them understand your values.

Have a clear logo guide

Your logo will appear on all of your products, websites, merchandise, and any publication your company is featured in. Consider set ratios and pixel requirements. Consistency is crucial, as your logo’s what makes your company recognizable. 

A surefire way to be certain your logo stays in good graces is to create a section in your guide on its proper and improper uses. (Check “yes” for high-gloss magazine ads, check “no” for bad Facebook memes.) This clarity of usage omits the possibility of branding snafus and furthers the unity of your brand. 

Create your color palette

Colors also help distinguish your company. Whether it’s a dark rich green or a bright sky blue, you chose the colors to represent your company for a reason! Showcase the colors you selected along with the HEX number for your designers’ reference. These colors represent your brand, so we want to make sure they are the same across the board.

A good rule of thumb is to pick one to three key colors for your company; this simplicity help with the visual cohesion and readability of your branding. Unsure of which colors to choose? Harken back to your fingerpainting days and revisit color theory to learn which colors best suit your product.

Two people sit and pick out colors for their startup brand style guide.

Choosing a color palette for your brand style guide is a great opportunity to exercise your creativity.

Identify your company’s voice

A consistent company tone goes a long way when it comes to brand cohesion. Defining what your company would sound like if it was a person can help you understand the “voice” of your company going forward. Is she professional and technical or fun and playful? Give her personality, give her passions, give her a favorite karaoke song. 

Knowing and defining your company’s voice when creating a brand style guide will help you and staff better understand how to create a uniform tone for content and advertising.

Create a buyer persona

A buyer persona helps you define your target audience by better understanding what may prompt them to purchase from your company. Imagine a person who is currently buying your product or you’d like to have as a customer. What do they look like? How old are they? What are their general interests, likes, and dislikes? What are their pet peeves? You can be as broad or specific as you like, but putting a “face” to a customer can help you write relevant content and keep your customer at the front of your mind.  

A woman holds up and examines a shirt.

Including buyer personas in your brand style guide will help you speak to your targeted customer base.

Pick your typography

Pick one to three fonts in the same font family to use in your branding and stick to them. An example of this: Arial, Arial Light, and Arial Bold. When you create a brand style guide, select the font sizes your company will use for situational text, such as headings and subheadings.

Keeping your font choices consistent can increase your brand unity, which has been proven to improve recognition and sales by up to 23%

Include visual elements

A picture is worth a thousand words, so make your pictures count! Unity in visual design elements and subject matter can majorly boost any brand’s advertisement game. By including an asset library of photography and illustrations for your company, your branding remains uniform and professional.  

About Lara Tanner: Lara is an Account Associate Intern for Swyft, which is a tech PR firm in Austin and Houston and a top digital marketing and PR agency in Denver since its founding in 2011. Swyft also has a small satellite office where it offers tech PR in San Francisco. Swyft has been listed as one of the top tech PR agencies in Texas for two years running by the B2B services review site,

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