Why You Need A Style Guide
- help content creators communicate consistent messaging. Like I said, brand consistency, of both language and graphics, helps to build a strong brand voice. By establishing the rules for your brand you ensure consistent representation across all channels.
- make it easy to switch between internal stakeholders. For example, when someone in another department makes something, or that new talented intern creates a flier, you can rest assured that the materials created will reflect your brand’s style. If you have a handy style guide, you won’t end up with a mishmash of creative ideas. While it’s nice to give designer and writers creative freedom to explore options, having a brand protocol to guide them will save you time, money, and a headache.
- make the process of on-boarding agencies and freelancers easier. Having a style guide that you can give new hires, with complete assets and styles, will save you time spent on training. It’s a useful document that everyone can continually reference, whether they have question about capitalization, word choice, a hyphenation, or logo placement.
- guarantee professionalism. A style guide ensure that all content created reflects your brand values. It helps maintain your external image at every touch point – social media, blog posts, email newsletters, etc. – and gives off a level of sophistication.
- save time and money. I want to stress this point. Have you ever gone back-and-forth with a writer or designer wayyy too many times? It likely ate into your budget. Going through many, many revisions is not efficient. The wasted time and money could have been avoided with a proper style guide because questions on format and style would have been answered.
What To Do If You Don’t Have A Style Guide
Don’t have a style guide or branding guidelines but want one? (Or maybe you have an old one but don’t use it?) Style guides are something that businesses of all sizes should take the time to create. Start by taking inventory of your current styles. If they match, work on documenting them for your style guide. If they don’t match, consider making changes to decide what your top styles are, and bring other materials into that style. Collaborate with your team members. Your style guide shouldn’t be a doctrine forced on your staff but rather a collaborative effort that uses their research, knowledge, and skills.
You might also consider getting help. Sometimes an outside resource can help see trends in materials, make changes, or simply consult to guide your team in the right direction.
Be sure to house your style guide in a place that’s easy to access and use!