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If you are trying to build awareness for your food or craft business, you need a style guide. A style guide helps you maintain a consistent image across all your marketing platforms. Developing and using a style guide will help save you time, money and sanity. Creating a style guide is simple once you understand the fundamental elements.

In this article, I’m going to show you what a basic style guide looks like. I’m also going to explain how to apply your style guide to your marketing efforts.

What is a Style Guide?

A style guide is a reference document that includes all of your brand’s visual elements. Each element is like an ingredient that makes up your food brand identity. This document should communicate your brand’s “vibe”, for lack of better words.

You will use your style guide whenever you need to create marketing collateral for your brand.

What should be included in a Style Guide?

Style guides can range from super simple to extremely detailed. If you want to make your own style guide, you should start with the basics. Your style guide can evolve with you as you grow as an organization.

A beginner style guide should include:

  • Your logos or wordmarks
  • Your brand colors including hex codes
  • Your typography

If you want to take it a bit further you can add:

  • Icons, patterns, graphics, buttons
  • Photography style
  • Writing/Voice style

All of these items should be laid out in a neat and tidy document. If your guide is basic, you can keep it all on one page. If you are including the icons, photos and writing elements you will want to make it a multi page document.

I recommend using InDesign if you are an Adobe user or Canva if you need a free option.

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A Style Guide Keeps you Consistent.

A style guide makes it really easy to build brand recognition. People will learn to recognize your brand through repetition. If they see the same logos, colors and fonts over and over again; it will start to feel familiar to them. This familiarity is good!

If you ignore the guide and switch it up all the time, it will take longer to develop familiarity.

Keep it consistent to build your brand.

How to Use Your Style Guide

Pull out your style guide whenever you need to create a new piece of brand collateral.

Here are some places you can apply your style guide:

  • Packaging
  • Signage
  • Flyers
  • Instagram images
  • Pinterest pins
  • Blog graphics
  • T-shirts
  • Letterhead
  • Business cards
  • Website

A Style Guide Saves You Time

If you have a style guide, it will save you time. You will never have to call up your designer or dig through your website’s CSS to figure out your colors or typography. Everything is there for you in one, easy-to-find place.

You will also save time because you don’t have to make new decisions every time you create a new piece of marketing material. Removing this decision making process will free you up to focus on what really matters…growing your brand!

A Style Guide Saves You Money

If you have a style guide, you can easily communicate your design needs to other people. This can save you money when working with a professional designer. When you bring your style guide to a designer, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of the project. They can see what you are about at a glance.

You can also save time when training and working with staff. If you need to hand over your marketing activities to an employee or contractor, you can send them the guide and know that your image will remain intact.

A Style Guide is Not Set in Stone

You should consider your style guide a living document. It may change and grow in scope as you venture into new territory with your brand. There may be times when it makes sense to deviate from the standards. For example, you may produce something for a holiday and switch up your colors to match the seasonal event.

Be consistent, but not rigid.

Conclusion

A style guide is a must-have document for any small food or craft business. Using a style guide will help you establish your brand identity in the eyes of your customers. It can save you time and money by simplifying your decision making process.

You can make your own style guide using your favorite design program. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple and clear!

Hello! 

I help small business owners level up their brands through the power of good design and solid marketing strategy. 

3 Comments

  1. SalutNutrition

    The style guide is something very useful. When it comes to building my brand I’ve been more intentional about creating one and using a style guide since seeing your video on FBP. Thank you!

    Reply
    • jkl

      That is great to hear. I am glad you like my new site. I will be creating new videos to help with all kinds of brand building stuff in 2017.

      Reply
  2. julie at icanlivewithoutsugar

    Hi there, I clicked a link to check out your Craft Food Branding Tips Facebook group but landed on your Style guide page. Is there a link to your Facebook Group somewhere else?

    Reply

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