21 examples of brand style guides for visual inspiration

When it comes to building a memorable brand, it’s all about persistence.

When you buy your favorite cereal or coffee at the grocery store, you want to be able to spot it from a mile away.

The best brands stay in our brains because their presence is defined by the repetition of the same logo, fonts, colors and images.

As soon as we see them enough, they are immediately recognizable and give us a clear feeling of reliability and security.

Developing a consistent brand begins with creating a brand style guide. These branding rulebooks help graphic designers, marketers, web developers, community managers, and even product packaging departments stay on the same page and present a unified vision of the brand to the public.

We’ve put together a list of awesome branding style guides to use as inspiration for your next branding project or website redesign. Check them out below.

What are brand guidelines?

Brand guidelines, also known as the Brand Style Guide, regulate the composition, design and general appearance of a company’s branding. Brand guidelines can govern the content of a logo, blog, website, advertisement, and similar marketing materials.

Imagine the most famous brands that you can think of. Chances are you’ve learned to recognize them because those brands – written or visual – are consistent. The same brand colors are reflected in them. The language sounds familiar to me. Everything is very well organized and not rigid, but coherent.

Below are some types of guidelines you can find in a brand style guide and what parts of a brand they can affect.

Mission statement

From the reputation one might think that a mission statement in its own category is important to a company. And it is. The mission statement of your company is also a compass for your brand style guide. A mission statement ensures that every piece of content you create for your brand works towards the same goal – and ideally tries to solve the same problem for your customer.

Your mission statement can guide you:

  • Blog content.
  • Paid / Sponsored Content
  • Ad copy.
  • Visual media.
  • Slogan or tagline.

Buyer Persona

By definition, a buyer personality is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It can include details about your client’s age, gender, job title, and job challenges. For this reason, your buyer personality should also appear in your brand style guide. Your buyer personality is your target audience and therefore determines who your brand publishes content for.

Your buyer personality can guide you:

  • Blog content.
  • Ad copy.
  • Visual media.

Color palette

A color palette is a group of colors that a company uses to create its brand. She directs every visual content the brand creates. Your color palette can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, as long as your brand doesn’t deviate from the colors you want to include.

Multiple color palettes often dedicate specific colors to certain types of marketing content. For example, while the first two colors of your color palette will determine your logo, the next two colors may aid your website and blog design. Another two or three colors could be the basis of all your branded printed material.

Regardless of what colors you use for your color palette, make sure you identify their HEX or RGB color codes. These codes are made up of numbers and letters so you can remember exactly the hue, brightness, contrast, and hue you want to associate with your brand so that your colors don’t gradually deviate in appearance as you create new content. You can find color codes using most of the photo editing or design programs that come by default on your computer. For more information on how to find and set color codes, see this blog post.

Your color palette can guide you:

  • Logo.
  • Website design.
  • Printed advertising.
  • Event collateral.

Editorial style guide

Nowadays, an editorial style guide is the be-all and end-all of an authoritative brand. This component of your branding style guide can have a huge impact on your public relations team, as well as the people who write articles, scripts, blog posts, and website copies for your company.

The main job of an editorial style guide is to commit to an editorial style book (like the Associated Press or Chicago), such as specific products, topics that the brand may and may not write about, and even other companies that the brand may and may not mention are to be formulated. However, a brand’s editorial style guide can also go into much more detail about your buyer personality: what they like to read about, where they read it, how general they read, etc.

Your editorial style guide can help you:

  • Blog content.
  • Video scripts.
  • Website copy.
  • Landing page copy.
  • PR discussion points.
  • A knowledge base supported by your customer service team.
  • Paid / Sponsored Content.

typography

Typography is another visual element of your branding style guide, but not just the font that you use in your company logo. Typographic guidelines can aid your blog design – whatever font you publish articles in – the links and copies on your website, and even a slogan to match your company logo.

As you can see, the purpose of the branding style guide is to shape and maintain all of the various elements of a business that, when combined, represent the entire brand as it is recognized.

Fascinated? Check out 21 of the best we could find.

Style guide examples

  1. medium
  2. Wolf Circus jewelry
  3. Ollo
  4. Skype
  5. Barre & Soul
  6. Spotify
  7. Jamie Oliver
  8. Herban cuisine
  9. Urban Outfitters
  10. Love to ride
  11. Barbican
  12. I love new york
  13. Cisco
  14. Helsinki University of Arts
  15. NORTH
  16. Espacio Cultural
  17. Alienware
  18. Netflix
  19. Scrimshaw coffee
  20. NASA
  21. New York City Transit Authority

1. Medium

Medium emphasizes both typography and color in its branding style. The guide also provides details on the company’s “Purpose” and “Product Principles”.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Medium's brand style guide with a color palette in white, black and green.

Source: Behance

2. Wolf Circus jewelry

Wolf Circus Jewelry is all about looks. Of course, it’s also the company’s style guide. The brand’s style guide contains the corporate mission statement, product details, fonts, logo variations, a color palette and separate guidelines for advertising only.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Logo variations for Wolf Circus JewelryColor palette for Wolf Circus Jewelry with three different shades of purple.

Source: Issuu

3. Ollo

Ollo is so into color and typography that it turned its style guide into a game. Click the link below to see just how much you can manipulate the brand. This is the perfect way to show content creators how creative they can get, but also to adhere to Ollo’s specific font and color codes.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Brand Style Guide from Ollo with a color palette with four color codes

Source: Bibliothèque Design

4. Skype

Everyone’s favorite video chat platform also has a sparkling clean style guide for their brand. Skype, now owned by Microsoft, primarily focuses on product phrasing and logo placement.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Skype Brand Guidelines

Source: Microsoft

5. Barre & Soul

The Barre & Soul Branding Style Guide includes variations of the logo, logo spacing, secondary logos, supporting images, and a five-color color palette.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Color palette for Barre & Soul, whose brand inspiration includes Retro, Energetic and Edgy

Source: Issuu

6. Spotify

Spotify’s style guide may seem simple and green, but the brand offers more than just a bright green circle. Spotify’s color palette includes three color codes, while the company’s remaining branding guidelines focus heavily on logo variations and album art. The style guide even lets you download an icon version of the logo to simplify the way the company looks without having to recreate it manually.

You can find the full branding guide here.

spotify-brand-guidelines

Source: Spotify

7. Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver has an extremely thorough branding style guide that covers logo placement for all kitchen appliances. The company also offers a wide range of colors with each color sorted by the product it is intended to be displayed on.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Brand Style Guide for Jamie Oliver with red-tiled images showing restrictions on photographyTypography guidelines for Jamie Oliver

Source: Issuu

8. Herban cuisine

Herban Kitchen has both a color and texture palette in its style guide. These guidelines show not only what the brand’s logo will look like, but also what the company’s various storefronts will look like from the outside to potential customers.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Brand style guide for Herban Kitchen with eight logo variations and six color code tiles

Source: Issuu

9. Urban Outfitters

Photography, color, and even tone of voice appear in Urban Outfitters’ California-inspired branding guidelines. However, the company isn’t shy about including information about its ideal consumer and what the brand believes in.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Brand style guide for urban outfitters with black and white logo variations

Source: Issuu

10. Love to ride

At Love to Ride, a cycling company, its visually appealing style guide is all about color variety. The company’s branding guidelines include nine color codes and tons of details about the secondary logos and images.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Color palette for Love to Ride with nine cool colors in circular symbols Infographic guidelines for Love to Ride

Source: Issuu

11. Barbican

Barbican, an arts and learning center in the UK, has a loud but simple style guide that focuses heavily on the logo and supporting fonts.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Brand style guide for Barbican with black and white logo in circle and grid lines Typography guidelines in the style guide of the Barbican art and learning center

Source: Issuu

12. I love New York

Despite its well-known simple t-shirts, I Love New York has a brand style guide. The company begins its policy with a thorough explanation of its mission, vision, story, audience and tone of voice. Only then does the style guide deal with the positioning of the logo on various goods.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Branding Style Guide for I Love New York with Logo and Gridlines

Source: Issuu

13. Cisco

The Cisco Style Guide is not just a guide, but an interactive brand book. The company walks website visitors page-by-page through its brand’s vision, mission, strategy, and even promise before showing users their logo and allowing them to actually type “CiscoSans” with their proprietary font. Where is the Cisco color palette? The company has a separate website for this.

You can find the full branding guide here.

cisco-brand-book cisco-sans-typography

Source: Cisco

14. Helsinki University of Arts

Helsinki University of the Arts style guide is more of a creative branding album than a traditional marketing guide. It shows you dozens of contexts in which you would see this school’s provocative logo, including animation.

You can find the full branding guide here.

University of the Arts Helsinki brand style guide with black background and white sans font and X logo

Source: Behance

15. NORTH

NJORD’s minimalist style guide gives you everything you need to know to design for both web and print using the brand’s logo and color palette.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Brand Style Guide for NJORD with black and white logo and color palette

Source: Behance

16. Espacio Cultural

This cultural center in Argentina has a palette of colors as elaborate as the artistic workshops it hosts. Even so, the brand does a fantastic job of breaking down every final color code and logo placement you can find – from the building itself to the ads promoting it.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Brand Style Guide for Espacio Cultural with four fonts and a lively color palette

Source: Behance

17. Alienware

Video gamers know Alienware from its game-friendly computers, but the rest of the world knows it from the brand’s sleek aesthetic. The company breaks its branding style guide into four basic parts: voice, design, photography, and partner. The latter describes (and shows) how the brand interacts with partner brands like Star Wars.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Brand Style Guide and Color Palette for Alienware

Source: Issuu

18. Netflix

Netflix is ​​primarily focused on how its logo is handled when it comes to public brand assets. The company offers a simple set of rules for the size, spacing, and placement of its famous uppercase font, as well as a single color code for the classic red logo.

You can find the full branding guide here.

netflix-brand-assets-style-guide

Source: Netflix

19. Scrimshaw coffee

This “relaxed,” “friendly,” and “modern” brand has a five code color palette and a number of secondary logos used in different situations.

You can find the full branding guide here.

Source: Issuu

20. NASA

NASA’s Graphics Standards Manual is as official and complex as you think. On 220 pages the guide describes countless logo placements, color uses and supporting designs. And yes, NASA’s space shuttles have their own branding rules.

You can find the full branding guide here.

The white cover sheet of the NASA Graphics Standards Manual

Red color palette of the NASA brand style guide

Variations of the black NASA logo from big to small

Source: standardization manual

21. New York City Transit Authority

Like NASA, NYCTA has its own graphic standards handbook and includes some fascinating typography rules for the numbers, arrows, and symbols used in public transit that the average commuter takes for granted every day.

You can find the full branding guide here.

nycta-typography

nycta-brand guidelines

Source: standardization manual

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