Although it seems that when we talk about a style guide, or a corporate identity manual, we are only talking about companies related to marketing and communication , this should not be the case. Well, all companies should have their own style guide since all companies have their own identity . For this reason, and so you can see that it is not such a complicated process, today we tell you how to create a corporate identity manual step by step.
But to know how to make this document and in what way it can be useful for any company, it is important to previously explain some concepts.
What is the corporate Brand of a company
The corporate identity is composed of all those concepts that are part of a brand , which define its essence, its philosophy, its values, what it intends to transmit, its sustenance. In short, what defines and identifies the particular brand.
Within this corporate identity we do not only find visual aspects such as colors, symbols, names or fonts, but it also encompasses the most subjective aspects through which the brand wants to differentiate itself from the competition. The company’s philosophy and its way of acting.
The mission of a company defines and describes its activity and its objectives. It is the concept that answers the question of Who are we ?, including in the answer the market niche in which it is located , to whom its activity is directed, what is its value proposition and in what way it carries out the activity to which he is dedicated. The mission of a company is something individual and unique, which each company must write internally, as it is useless to copy the mission of another company since it would not reflect the identity of the brand.
This part considers the future goals and objectives of a company or brand. The answer to the question Who do we want to become? And it has a motivating and inspiring character. A defined vision with achievable goals and measurable objectives can be of great help in guiding a brand on the path it must follow to become what it wants to be . This point helps to focus the brand on what it wants to achieve , that is why they must be achievable goals , since otherwise we would be playing with an impossible reality that will only lead to a situation of general frustration.
The values refer to the ethical principles on which the company’s philosophy is based. The beliefs or qualities that form the corporate culture in which the brand wants to move. It is not necessary to have a long list of values, it is better to have 5 or 6 values and focus on them, than to cover too many and generate dispersion.
Once all this has been defined, we would have the complete brand identity, and we could go on to translate the visual elements necessary to carry out communication in the corporate identity manual .
What is a corporate identity manual?
It is a document that contains all the necessary instructions on the visual elements that refer to a brand. This document collects both the information related to the image of a brand and its correct communication as well as the incorrect uses and possible errors that may be committed.
The aim of the style guide is to create a recognizable identity sign so that all communication made can have the brand seal, in this way it will be easier for the public to recognize and identify.
It is usually a pdf document that may or may not be printed , although now it is becoming more and more common for it to be an online catalog or to be digitized, because web colors are not seen the same when printed as on the screen itself. that could lead to confusion. Despite this, there are usually indications when there are differences in web colors and colors intended for printing.
What functions does this manual fulfill?
This manual is used to establish image bases that are immovable , to avoid doubts and to have in writing a document that contains everything necessary to represent the brand well . Over time, subtle variations can be generated in the fonts, colors, orientation of the logo … which are not initially perceived, but in the long run they can create confusion. To avoid this there is a style guide where everything is collected and explained .
It also serves to reinforce the identity of the brand itself, many times until a company begins to prepare a corporate identity manual, has not taken the time necessary to detail its identity and its image, nor has it stopped to draw its own. lines of action in detail or your objectives as a brand.
What should the style guide contain?
Introduction to the brand
Here is a brief summary of what we have discussed before. The mission, vision and values of the brand are briefly discussed so that the user of the manual begins with a more or less accurate idea of what they are going to see .
At this point the logo with all its specifications is displayed . With the spaces between the elements, their proportions , the degree of inclination, if any. As well as the possible versions of the logo in negative , with a black and white background and with a line if necessary. The minimum size of the logo is also shown in which the elements and the incorrect uses of the same are perceived well. The logo is usually presented here in different versions adapted to different formats , vertically or horizontally, with and without a tagline.
What are the allowed colors and their combinations with each other. This also includes color combinations that are not allowed . It is important to indicate separately the tone of the pantones for printing documents and the colors with their hexadecimal code for their web communication .
The design that wants to be done with the communication of the brand, this section creates lines of communicative aesthetics to make everything that comes from the company recognizable.
Web elements and icons
If some brands have a complete style guide, they may also include their own personal icons, buttons and favicon to recognize the web in the search engine tabs. This point should detail how these elements should be and when they should be used so that there is a visual harmony of the brand on the network.
This section establishes the guidelines for the design and use of images for the brand . For example, there are brands that always use black and white photographs, with some kind of gradient or illustrations in one or two colors. If there is freedom of color and composition with the photographs, it should also be indicated in this section.
In this section, the fonts used for both the logo and web texts are detailed . The main font of the logo must be indicated , as well as the fonts that must accompany it in texts and corporate documentation. It must also be indicated for the web, which fonts will be used in H1, H2, H3 … and their colors. In light and dark version and font sizes for mobile and computer.
It’s that simple to make a corporate identity manual step by step
With all these guidelines, you are already seeing that it is not complicated to make a style guide , but it is a tedious process for which it is ideal to have the help of professionals who know how to advise, guide and translate the identity of the brand in the best way possible.