Tips for creating a visual style guide for your business (or your clients)

This blog post is part of our Lessons from SMSS15 series. Legendary Social Media is taking part in Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Success Summit, which is the world’s largest online social media marketing conference. This blog series covers the points and ideas we’ve taken from the course that we’ve deemed to be eye-opening and highly useful for other marketers and for small- and medium-sized businesses. To discuss any of the ideas in these blogs or other ideas about social marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

It’s a well-established fact that online, visual is king. But it’s also a crucial element that you can royally screw up with something as simple as inconsistency. Here’s why.

Think about a major brand, maybe Nike. I’d bet that you could identify a Nike ad, even if it didn’t have the swoosh on it. It would be someone doing a physical activity, with tons of contrast to make the image look really intense. When the swoosh appears, it’s probably in the bottom right corner, or huge and centered on the image.

Consistency is key to defining your brand, and customers may trust your brand more if they can identify it easily. So whether you’re a small, medium or large business, or a marketing professional like myself who’s responsible for creating visuals for your clients, sticking to these fantastic tips that came out of the Social Media Success Summit 2015 talk by Peg Fitzpatrick can go a long way toward increasing your brand awareness and even its performance online.

You’ve already started creating visuals for your brand, and noticed inconsistency with them? Don’t worry – there’s no erasing the past. But right now is the absolute best time to start on a track toward consistent branding that speaks to your message, every time.

The first step is creating a brand vision board. Fitzpatrick recommends doing so on Pinterest, and it’s a great idea! Search for things that suit your style and pin them to an inspiration board. Look for common themes like colours and fonts that keep popping up.

From that practice, you can pick out the four main elements of your brand’s style:

  1. Logo
  2. Colour Palette
  3. Style/Mood
  4. Fonts

Now, when you’re designing your own graphics for social media, for print, or anything else that isn’t too heavy duty, use this same elements in all of your designs.

Like Fitzpatrick, I totally recommend using Canva. It’s insanely easy to use and with Canva for Work, you can save all your fonts, colours and even photo filters so that you don’t have to do all the styling every time.

Got questions about styling, creating graphics for your business, or social media management? Get in touch today!

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