How to Write Your Business's Image Style Guide

Well-branded businesses have rules, called style guidelines, about how their brand images may be used. Image style guidelines protect the consistency of your business image in the marketplace.

Create your business's style guidelines to steer how your business's brand and image are used:

  • Logo: Your logo is the face of your business on marketing materials. Ensure that it is presented cleanly and without unnecessary alteration by answering the following questions in your style guidelines:

    • When your logo appears in black ink, what color backgrounds may be used?

    • When your logo appears in white ink (called a reverse), what color backgrounds may be used?

    • When your logo appears in color, what ink color or colors may be used?

    • What's the smallest size that can be used for your logo?

    Indicate in your guidelines that your logo must be reproduced from original artwork or a professionally produced reproduction, and never from a photocopy or previously printed piece because the quality will be inferior.

  • Type style: A quick way to build consistency is to limit the type styles you use in ads, brochures, signs, and all other communications:

    • The font you choose for your marketing materials should reflect the personality of your company.

    • Especially if your target market is middle-aged or beyond, try to keep text or body copy at no smaller than 10 points in size for readability.

    • Avoid reversed type (white type on black or dark backgrounds, as shown in this figure) if you expect people to read your words easily.

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    • Limit the number of fonts that you combine in any single marketing piece.

  • Copy: Copy refers to the words, text, or content of your marketing materials. As you establish style guidelines, define how you want your copy prepared:

    • If certain words in your marketing materials require copyright (©), trademark (™), or registered trademark (®) symbols, then list these words in your style guidelines.

    • Decide which words you prefer to have capitalized.

    • Determine whether you want to ban certain words.

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