“It’s 1:20 a.m. and my brain has not shut off. I wasn’t able to complete my ‘graphic design to-do list’ because I was waiting on a client to submit their Brand Style Guide and design assets. It’s a rush job, but if they don’t have it, we could end up behind schedule. Time is not on our side as orders must go out and budgets are on the line… but I must sleep so I can be 100% when I wake up to launch their custom magazine tomorrow…”

This is one of many reasons for a company to have a solid brand identity along with a nice little package on their computer, consisting of a comprehensive document or Brand Style Guide which includes many important brand assets (i.e. logo, fonts, colors, etc.) needed to begin any creative project. Just like every company needs a set of S.O.P.s (Standard Operating Procedures) every company/brand needs a Brand Style Guide. Shall we call them the notorious B.S.G.s? What about B.G.s? We will keep working on it.....

NOT having a proper Brand Style Guide becomes a bottleneck before starting any new project and taking it to the finish line can be a rough road when there is missing information. As a Designer, the absolute bare minimum amount of information I need to understand the basics of a brand is: 1. Logo(s), 2. Colors, and 3. Fonts. It sounds simple but it gets much more in-depth than that. Why do I need it so badly? Do you think Nike knows their Pantone color for coated and uncoated papers? You bet they do. Consistent messaging is key. Below, I’ve listed what an ideal Brand Style Guide would consist of, and four different scenarios to help understand timeline. The common thread between all scenarios is time, one of the most important success factors for trade and direct to consumer marketing, both online and in-person. Don’t we all want consistent brand messaging and for it to be delivered on a consistent timeline?

What’s in My Ideal Brand Style Guide Package:

  • Brand Style Guide - PDF containing call-outs on existing designs reviewing what fonts, colors, logos, margins, etc. are used and where to use them
  • Logo in .eps format
  • CMYK values of each Color
  • Fonts in .otf format
  • High-resolution documents of important Brand Artwork

Four Scenarios:

  1. Super Golden = There IS a brand identity and the file is filed away where it’s supposed to be. 
  2. Golden = No brand identity but there is enough time to create one before hitting deadline.
  3. Warm Zone = There IS a brand identity but the file is lost and there’s not enough time before hitting deadline.
  4. Red Zone = No brand identity but not enough time to create one before hitting deadline.

Whether you are working on Print DesignWeb Design, General Graphic Design, Advertising Design, Email Template Design, or even Custom Magazines & Catalogs... having a solid Brand Style Guide will be the key to maintaining brand consistency between your in-house design team projects and those managed by marketing & creative agencies like Left Coast Marketing & Design LLC. We often work with in-house design teams on projects that require quite a bit of Project Management muscle - but in any case, the Brand Style Guide becomes a sort of common language for design speak.

OK...now back to get some more sleep Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.......


- By Chelsea Bond