(Last Updated On: December 6, 2016)
corporate identity

The Ultimate Guide to Corporate Identity Style Guides

Corporate identity can be best described as a collection of visual components or elements used to promote an organization’s image. This term was originally synonymous with an organization’s logos, nomenclature, and other visual elements. Subsequently, corporate strategy and visual identity have been inextricably linked. Marketing specialists have admitted that corporate identity is often regarded as the core of a business. It is made up of the business’s beliefs, history, technology, philosophy, strategies, cultural and ethical values, and even the people within. Moreover, it helps in determining the company or organizations’ positioning in terms of their competitors and markets.

Importance of Corporate Identity

A positive and clearly defined corporate identity simply helps businesses thrive and grow. At the very basics, corporate branding subconsciously shapes client’s or customer’s feelings towards an organization as well as its products and services. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, it is imperative to develop identity standards. This makes sure that everyone in the company represents the company in a unified way, especially when dealing with various stakeholders and customers themselves.

However, creating such identity is not a piece of cake. It requires time and effort. Moreover, to achieve the desired results, one should be able to keep the identity consistent. This is where the real challenge comes in.

Corporate Identity Style Guides- Helps in Keeping Your Identity Consistent

To ensure that the company is working in accordance to the established identity, it is recommended to develop a style guide. This style guide is a compilation of all the necessary information required to develop an asset for the business- be it an advertisement, report, website, and many more. Some often choose to outsource this task to professional designers. Although this makes the life of business owners and affiliated individuals a breeze, still, there are some good reasons why it is still much better to do it yourself. Complexities in terms of giving instructions and future possible brand changes are just some of those reasons.

Download This Free InDesign Style Guide Now

Use it to create your own corporate identity guide

Corporate Identity Style Guides Essentials

Creating a style guide may look daunting at first, and sure, it is. It requires time and effort, but everything will worth at the end. If you are after a DIY style guide but do not know where to start or what to include, then this article will help you out. Below are some of the most important things you should not miss.

  • Logo Size & Placement

Logo is typically the most imperative element of brand identity. It should be displayed in a consistent manner. Your logo guidelines should include its precise appearance at certain business segments. Let’s take FedEx for example. The ‘Ex’ on their brand varies in color; different color for corporate, services, and other business facet. Generally, you should include do’s and dont’s on your corporate identity style guide.

  • Color Palette

Color requirement should be explained in detail. You can use equivalent CMYK, hex codes, or pantone color values. It is also vital to test the color before you settle with it. There are cases when the advertised color is different from what comes out in print.

  • Fonts

Use one font for all the documents published online and offline. The wide range of fonts available is truly enticing. However, using different fonts for business documents will compromise the image of your company. With consistent font, your corporate identity will appear professional. Specify the font size and type that should be used. Label each font properly. Should it be used for photo captions, headings, or subheading? In addition, identify the allowed line spacing as well as page border. It will also help if you specify the dont’s.

  • Copy-Writing Guidelines

To achieve a professional business look, it will help to use a consistent tone to all the business communication. Include tone guidelines geared towards a specific demographic. Include do’s and dont’s. Read some reliable copy-writing tips. It can help you create a much better copy-writing guideline.

  • Illustration Style/ Photography

Visual illustrations are the primary business element that people often notice and give attention to. People likely recognize your corporate identity because of its photos. Photos also serve as a good way to convey your company’s message. It is therefore vital to include some visual examples on your company identity style guide. This can show photographers what you are trying to achieve.

  • Iconography

Iconography generally gives a business some edge over the competition. Have some specification for this. Spell out some variations or filter it for varying purposes like the pattern to be used in an envelope versus the pattern that should be used on reports. Including the precise image within your guide will also be wise.

  • Web-Specific Elements

Having strong digital presence is of paramount importance. Create a website that reflects your corporate identity. Make sure that everything online is similar to what you have offline. Though it is easy to translate line spacing, color, and font from offline to online, there are still certain areas that your offline style guide may not cover. Make sure that everything you have online reflects your unique identity, even the smallest elements such as tabs, navigation, home page, and more.

Most Important Elements to Include in your Corporate Identity Style Guide

  • Comprehensive brand description (should be parallel with the company’s values)
  • Lists of business segment or situations where the brand as well as its symbols should be used.
  • Use of brand-related words.
  • Typographical elements
  • Specific dimensions, colors, lines, trademark inclusion, accent, image style, and brand signature.
  • Reproduction of Guidelines (for printers and advertising agencies).

An effective corporate identity simply conveys the organization’s objectives, motives, and ideals. The perquisites of creating a functional and consistent identity is that it guarantees that an organization or business will be respected, remembered, and recognized. On top of that, identity likely affects the way customer treats or sees a certain brand. It also affects the chances of a brand to thrive and grow.

Hopefully, this guide has given you all the essential things you have to know. Of course, your style guide can include more than what have given above.


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