Style Guide: Brand’s Playbook Explain for Dummy

A playbook is a manual that outlines a football team’s plays and strategies to win a game. When it comes to the branding campaign, a brand style guide serves as a brand’s playbook that defines your brand positioning and establishes a set of rules to build a strong brand identity. It plays a critical role in keeping your team on the same page and breaking down your brand strategy into actionable steps. In this article, we will take a careful look at the brand playbook, giving you the essentials to kickstart your style guide journey.

What is a brand style guide?

A brand style guide is a game-changing document that indicates every aspect of your brand. Functioning as a blueprint, it ensures a unified brand image and uniform brand messaging across all touchpoints. A brand playbook encapsulates a brand’s story, mission statement, values, voice, and visual identity, along with examples of brand applications. Much like a reference manual and roadmap, it equips your team with precise directives on how to maintain brand consistency and preserve brand identity.



Why do you need a brand style guide?

Are you struggling to keep everyone inside or outside your team aligned? This is why it’s necessary to create a brand style guide. It is designed to form and maintain essential elements of a company that can spell out your brand. As your team members read the same guide and access the same information, it is much easier to ensure consistency and efficiency in the way a team operates so that everything is up to par. Not only does it provide unparalleled convenience but it benefits your brand in more ways.

  • Enhance comprehension: A brand style guide is used as an instructional book that summarizes what your brand is all about and how it shows up in the world. By having a clear list of standards and rules to follow, the brand playbook is an effective way to reduce the likelihood of confusion and miscommunication among your team.
  • Streamline workflow: As you can see, a brand playbook can foster alignment on the brand messaging and reinforce the company’s core values This streamlines internal communication and speeds up the workflow, thereby enhancing overall productivity.
  • Increase brand recognition: By presenting a consistent brand identity, your brand will become highly recognizable and secure a prominent position in the customers’ minds. This, in turn, drives long-term business success efficiently.

What should a brand style guide include?

To create an informative brand playbook, you should integrate the vital elements of your brand’s visual and written identity into one single brand style guide. It begins with your brand’s mission statement, values, and story, and goes on to incorporate brand assets to define the brand’s general look and feel. A brand playbook usually contains the following elements:

1. Logo

A logo paves the way for your brand identity and is the basic element to leave a strong first impression on your customers. Demonstrate the logo design ideas to showcase the unique style of your brand and separate it from the competition. If your brand has different logo variations, do not forget to include them in the brand playbook to give your brand the flexibility to show up in various use cases.

2. Color Palette

Color is one of the most distinctive and memorable facets of a brand. Show your brand’s color palette using high-resolution imagery and precise color codes, such as Hex, RGB, HSL, and Pantone color codes. This vivid depiction exhibits your brand’s aesthetic and cultivates significant associations with the audience.

3. Typography

Typography is more than just fonts; it is about the arrangement of type to make written words more legible and visually pleasing. Give a full explanation of typefaces, point sizes, letter placement, and spaces in your brand playbook to present your design as clearly as possible.

4. Imagery and Iconography

A picture is worth a thousand words. If you would like to create a comprehensive brand style guide, consider providing a library of brand-approved images, symbols, and icons for your team to use on your website and marketing materials. These visual elements are a great way to represent a brand’s personality and are part of the brand’s visual communication.

5. Usage examples

Outline a list of do’s and don’ts to offer clear directions on handling brand visual elements. It is crucial to demonstrate both correct and incorrect usage examples, accompanied by images. This can further enhance understanding and prompt team members to adhere to your brand playbook, avoiding misusing the elements and diluting brand identity.

6. Brand voice

Brand voice is about how others perceive your brand. Is your brand voice positive, humorous, or professional? Defining your brand voice depends on how your brand communicates with customers. Plus, it must run consistently across all channels, including your brand playbook.


How to create a brand style guide in 4 steps?

So how to generate a brand playbook efficiently? As always, we have got your back. Simply follow our step-by-step guide, and you will craft a professional brand style guide that works for your brand.

1. Define the brand

The first step is to figure out your brand’s purpose, values, and position, laying the foundation for creating a brand playbook. Only by understanding the brand deeply can you establish its unique identity. Moreover, a well-defined brand resonates with customers effectively, fostering deeper connections and loyalty.

2. Write a brand overview

A brand overview contains all the important information about what your brand is and isn’t. It outlines the mission statement, values, story, and brand strategy. Write a brief brand overview to make a lasting impression on the audience.

3. Integrate brand assets

Brand assets are an integral part of a brand playbook to embody a brand’s identity, making it easy to deliver a cohesive and unified brand image to the public. Include logo, color palette, typography, voice, imagery, iconography, and more elements in your brand style guide to make your brand stand out.

4. Choose a format

There are 3 main formats to show your brand style guide. Choose one of them as per your preferences.

  • Print format: The printed brand style guide is a classical format for the audience to read. But it is not eco-friendly and easy to share.
  • PDF file: This format is popular because of its easy accessibility. Sharing the PDF document with others is effortless. However, editing and updating it is challenging. The PDF format is not mobile-friendly. Its static nature makes it difficult to keep the audience engaged.
  • Digital style guide: More and more brand teams opt for this interactive format, which is dynamic and easy to navigate. It is a breeze to update digital style guides at any time you like. Digital style guides display perfectly on a variety of devices, like mobile phones, tablets, and computers.

How to use your brand style guide?

If you don’t make full use of the brand style aside after its creation, you will undermine the potential for building a robust brand. Treat it as a dynamic tool that evolves alongside your brand.

1. Make it accessible

Enable your team to access the brand playbook with ease. Without their engagement, it is difficult to keep them on the same page and ensure they work toward the same goal, maintaining brand consistency.

2. Update it strategically

As your brand strategy evolves over time, so should your brand playbook. It’s a living document that requires updates to reflect any brand refreshes. Modify visual elements, brand voice, and messaging accordingly to keep the brand style guide up-to-date.

5 Inspiring brand style guide examples

Even though each brand’s style guide differs from the others, they all share a common objective: to convey the essence of their brand in a way that is easily understandable and digestible. Let’s explore some brand style guide examples to uncover what contributes to an effective one.

1. Walmart

As one of the world’s largest retail corporations, Walmart aims to create a consistent image that is welcoming and engaging. Its brand style guide is extremely thorough, including its company purpose, brand positioning, core design elements, and multiple examples of type treatment. Walmart’s logo and color palette make it become a recognizable brand.


2. IWG

IWG (International Workplace Group) is the leading workspace provider in the world, dedicated to assisting businesses in creating a fantastic working environment and working more productively. Its brand playbook covers all key brand messages and acts as a rulebook to navigate its company through all the interactions of the brand. It focuses primarily on the brand logo, colors, and typefaces.


3. Spaces

Spaces is a part of the IWG network, specializing in building a thriving community and coworking spaces for businesses. The brand playbook details Spaces’ visual elements that form its brand identity, such as logo, color palette, typefaces, and imagery. It also integrates logo misuse examples to prevent others from using its logo in the wrong way. Spaces provides a collection of images to showcase the inspiring workspace and represent its brand identity.


4. Lenovo

This brand playbook is designed to offer guidance on how to establish brand consistency in the new brand campaign. Moving away from its previously complex brand design system, it introduces new brand design elements that are simplified and instantly recognizable. The logo is the brand’s most recognized asset, so it’s no wonder that Lenovo highlights every aspect of its logo.


5. Zara

Zara stands as one of the largest international fast-fashion retailers that has gained traction among millions of people. Its brand playbook demonstrates the brand story, naming background, vision, and values. Aside from visual identity elements, the brand style guide includes examples of their application across diverse channels, like its official website, social media platforms, and clothing labels. A outstanding feature of this brand style guide is a library of imagery that displays Zara’s interpretation of fashion and its unique style.


Create an interactive style guide for your brand

Brand playbooks not only ensure brand consistency but also boost the productivity of your team. Creating a brand style guide may sound like a time-consuming task, but with the right tool, you will have a professional one in no time. Flip PDF Plus Pro is the top-tier software to transform PDF into an interactive digital brand playbook. The tool allows you to update the style guide whenever necessary and embed it onto your website for easy access by everyone. Give it a go and see how it works for your brand!


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