Does your business use a brand style guide?
Do you even know what a style guide is? Don’t worry, I didn’t until recently. Simply put…
Style guides help coordinate design assets for your business in one location that is easily accessible for your stakeholders.
This week, I had the opportunity to interview Roger Dudler, Founder and CTO of Frontify on the This is Marketing Podcast. His startup helps businesses, agencies, and designers build living style guides in a simple – easy to use – online app. Even if your business doesn’t have a style guide in place, Frontify can help your get started immediately after you signup. The important thing to remember is that a style guide can start with just a logo, a font and some colors. Anything that visually defines your business is the foundation for a style guide. The more complicated guides have multiple layers, defining individual products, sub-brands, tone, voice, and do’s and don’ts of the brand.
Why now is the right time to build your style guide
No matter how long your business has been around, there are many benefits to using a style guide. For one, your employees will have a better understanding of how your business should be represented. Style guides are an insurance policy for your brand. You can always reference them, share them and live by them. Also, after mentioning the word live, it’s good to understand that style guides are living documents. They should change as your business changes. What I love about Frontify, is that I can change assets in the application, and it will update instantly to all those that use it. As the business matures, so does the style guide. Now is the best time to build your guide because as brands are becoming more of the conversation of the success of a business, so is how they are represented.
Why Frontify works so well for brands
In my interview with Roger Dudler, it was clear that he created Frontify because he experienced for himself the issues that arise in a business when it comes to understanding marketing and branding. Teams have a hard time communicating when there are no rules in place for the brand. Frontify works so well because it allows brands to bridge teams together in one application, and if you are into product development, UX/UI design, or any collaborative environments that occur in an online app, Frontify workspace is a perfect solution. I can also tell that Roger was passionate about this product, and anything build out of passion is authentic and useful. But even a good product has room to grow, and without giving too much away, Roger mentioned that what is on the horizon for Frontify would be more tools that would encourage a brand to grow within the app. I envision the two apps, style guides and workspace, coming together with more tools for brand development. This would be an exciting app for DIY brands that work hard on the research and discovery phase of brand development.
As I mentioned, the first step in developing your brand style guide can be as easy as uploading your logo and color palette. From there, the story of your brand will build itself. Assets, rules, and guidelines are principals that you use and follow every day that your business does business. When you get this into one place that is easy for all your stakeholders to access, then you control the consistency and representation of your brand.