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A Brand Style Guide is a fantastic way to ensure you don't get lost in the crowd. It will help you maintain consistency throughout all aspects of your marketing, from tone on social media posts and logos right down to the fonts you use! When it comes to building a memorable brand, consistency is king. That's why it's worth the time and effort to create a Brand Style Guide, but how do you get started?
What a brand style guide is and why you need one
A style guide is a set of written or illustrated standards that defines your brand style and ensures all marketing designs follow the same look, feel, and tone. You use a style guide when creating promotional material used in social media, on your website, or print. It will define things like the color palette and font choices that represent your brand and how to apply your branding across your business effectively.
So, whether you're just starting or have been in business for a few years, it's important to consider your brand style guide. It will make everything from client proposals to product labels and social media posts more cohesive, professional, and effective. A microbrewery wouldn't produce labels for a new flavor before determining the flavor they want to make. The same applies to microgyms; don't start marketing before you understand your gym's flavor. You can think of a style guide as your microgyms branding recipe.
Why you should use a style guide to design your logo
Your microgym's logo is the essential graphic in your microgym. It distinguishes you from other gyms and establishes a level of trust with a potential client. Your logo is more than just a picture; it's an emblem representing your business and plays a significant role in creating brand recognition. When first setting out to design your logo, a good style guide will help you address these questions:
Does it reflect what you do?
Your microgym's logo should appropriately represent what it is that makes your business unique. That includes the type of microgym you have, the equipment available, and any classes offered. Your style guide will define these things about your brand.
Do the colors represent me?
Avoid using too many colors or shapes. One or two colors will make sure no details are lost to the client! Your style guide will lay out a palette of colors. So, choose colors that vibe with your personality.
Is it scalable?
Ensure your logo can be easily increased or decreased in size without losing detail or clarity. A brand style guide helps by providing use cases and templates for marketing materials.
How to use a brand style guide to portray the tone of your microgym
The tone is your microgym's voice. It relates to how you describe your microgym in person and what mood you're trying to evoke with marketing materials. So when thinking through your tone, consider these questions:
- Are we fun? Energetic? Active? Casual? Playful? Professional or more serious business-oriented in our approach (or something in between)?
- What does your microgym's logo say about the microgym experience? Is it luxurious, friendly, gritty, or perhaps very professional?
Style guides help communicate all of this by articulating it through writing and visuals.
The importance of typography in expressing your microgyms tone
Did you know the actual font you use also affects your branding tone? If you don't have a standard for the fonts you use, then it might seem silly to give it another thought. But just as color can affect how others perceive messages that we're sending through text or social media, fonts also play an integral part! A cursive script projects a different tone than bold poppins.
Using a simple font, such as Century Gothic or Arial, tend to be best when starting because they are clean and easy to read. Avoid using too many fonts at once since it's overkill for the eyes. When in doubt about what font to use in your microgyms brand style guide - keep it simple! Select fonts that are easy to read on all platforms.
Also, not to harp on cursive script, but a cursive script that looks great on your microgym's website may not be legible in print or social media content. Make sure you use a font that everyone across all platforms can read. It's a must!
Why you want a style guide when hiring freelance designers
You may decide to hire a freelance designer for marketing materials. If you do, be sure to include your style guide with any documentation provided to the freelancer! Not only will it ensure that the designer is applying all of your branding specifications, but it also helps avoid any misunderstandings and reduces your need to micro-manage. Seriously. Handing a style guide to a designer will make your life easier (and theirs). Never assume that because someone specializes in the design, they're an expert at YOUR microgym's brand image!
To hire a freelancer, try using websites like Fiverr.com. Websites live Fiverr allow anyone to post a job or shop for freelancers from around the world. They also provide reviews and ratings of previous work performed, which helps to find someone who's not only skilled but fits your microgym's personality!
It doesn't matter if your microgym has 50 clients or none yet; creating and maintaining an audience requires consistent messaging. Your style guide ensures you convey the same message across all platforms. Here are some parting dos and don'ts when designing logos and branding material for your microgym:
Do include a list of words or phrases you want people to associate with your microgym's brand. For example, if your theme is "husky" fitness, you might include words like "rugged," "tough," and "strong." This will help your brand stay consistent in all marketing channels.
Don't use too many fonts at once. This is a microgym branding, no-no! Also, avoid a font that is inconsistent with your microgym's personality. Does it reflect what the microgym offers?
Do select a microgym color palette that's easy on the eyes and reflects your microgyms image. Keep in mind how it will look at different sizes (i.e., logo, website header, social media graphics). A style guide helps you keep things consistent across all platforms!
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