team collaborating on a brand style guide

A Guide to Brand Style Guides

By | Catalog Design Blogs, Graphic Design Blogs, Packaging Design Blogs, Product Photography Blogs, Web Site Design | No Comments

Your coworker, Karen, always comes to the office looking ultra-professional, stylish, and put together. She always keeps her finger on the latest trends, and her wardrobe is enviable.

One day, someone walks by your desk, and you do a double-take. You almost didn’t recognize that person as Karen! She’s wearing sweatpants and sneakers, her hair is disheveled, and you could have sworn that was a coffee stain on the front of her T-shirt. 

If this were to actually happen, you’d probably be concerned for Karen. You might think something is seriously going on with her, and you might reach out to ask if she’s ok. 

The same situation can occur in the world of branding. Brands that deviate from their established brand identity, or those who have trouble establishing an identity in the first place, run the risk of confusing their followers and damaging their reputation. That’s why it’s important to have a clear protocol in place for the written and visual elements that represent your brand. Enter the brand style guide.

What Is a Brand Style Guide?

A brand style guide is a document that establishes rules and best practices for the presentation of your brand in visual communication mediums. In essence, it shows how to use a brand’s logo, tag lines, typography, colors, and other related design elements in a way that is consistent with the brand’s identity.

After you’ve worked to establish a clear message, mission, and voice behind your brand, the next step is to make sure your brand communicates those elements with clarity and consistency. 

brand style guide example

Binding the Brand

Lack of a brand style guide may cause your content to be incorrect or inconsistent. Just as Karen’s unkempt appearance deviates from her usual, polished self, a mixed marketing message confuses and alienates customers and followers. 

In many cases, several different entities touch your brand’s content before the public sees it. The unifying principles that exist within a brand style guide make sure each individual or department adheres to the same standards when creating or revising content. The result is a brand that looks, feels, and sounds the same all the time, regardless of who created the communications.

Your brand identity is your organization’s personality, and even the smallest branding details, like an email signature, play a part in translating it. A brand style guide brings all the details together to form one harmonious system.

Essential Elements of Every Guide

Brand style guides vary in scope and content depending on the business they represent. That being said, there are a few components that are essential for every brand to be clear on.

essential elements of every brand style guide

Brand Story

Your brand story is exactly what it sounds like. It is a story that introduces your brand and communicates the vision behind it to customers. This is an opportunity to give people insight into what your brand stands for. Also, a clear brand story allows people who work for you to better represent your brand when they go to work on a project.

Logo

A brand style guide will provide specifications such as size, space, and color for the use of your logo in different settings, from print to online. It should include examples of appropriate logo use in various formats with explanations of use cases for each version.

It’s also important to detail rules around the placement and appearance of taglines in relation to the logo.

Color Palette

You never want to leave anyone working on your brand guessing about which colors to use. As one of the most noticeable characteristics of your brand identity, color needs to be precise and consistent. 

Brand style guides provide color details using PANTONE name and number for color matching, CMYK codes for print color, as well as RGB and HEX codes for digital color. It might also present recommended color combinations along with primary and secondary color palettes to differentiate between main and accent colors.

Typography

Typography is another visual element that is crucial to get right. While a typeface may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about communicating your brand’s message, it actually heavily contributes to setting the tone of a brand’s personality. Type comes into play in headings, sub-headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, citations, labels, form headers, or any other formatted text. A brand style guide creates a protocol for them all. 

A comprehensive style guide brings together font families, font sizes, line spacing, kerning, and colors for different types of content. That way, no one is left to their own devices when creating any written material associated with your brand.

Imagery

What types of images will you use to support your brand identity? Are the people in your images representative of your target demographic? Are they doing something your audience can identify with? Sometimes a certain style of image is preferred. For example, 2D illustrations may be preferable over realistic photography. Or, minimalism with lots of white space around simple black and white photos may be your identity. 

A brand style guide includes examples of images that positively contribute to your brand’s overall aesthetic. It also provides details about how images should be edited or filtered so every image accurately represents the look and feel of your brand.

Messaging

Finally, your brand needs a clearly defined voice. The style with which you communicate your brand’s message affects public perception and helps to define your brand’s personality. Your style guide might include adjectives to describe the writing style people should use when publishing content for your brand. It may also include examples of messaging that works along with others that miss the mark.

A ton of work goes into the creation of every element of your brand. A style guide acts as protection for your brand as it grows and begins to house more content. 

At Deal Design, not only are we capable of helping communicate your brand’s message, but we are also able to help you set up a cohesive brand identity that will stand the test of time. We understand the difficulty of juggling all the aspects of your brand, and we’re here to help manage the details.

 

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what's in a name: the importance of brand naming

What’s in a Name: The Importance of Brand Naming

By | Catalog Design Blogs, Graphic Design Blogs, Packaging Design Blogs, Product Photography Blogs, Web Site Design | No Comments

When you call to mind the name of a friend, you probably start to feel something. Perhaps you remember the last conversation you had with that person, or you experience certain emotions. Your brain has created associations between this name and particular memories or feelings.

The same phenomenon happens when you hear or see a brand name. Whatever positive or negative associations that brand has formed inside your head bubble to the surface. 

So many different components go into the creation of a brand: use of color, a website, a social media presence, packaging design, company values, and effective communication of those values. At a certain point, all of these facets gather under a single umbrella, and that umbrella has to be called something. It has to have a name.

In grade school, some librarian probably told you not to judge a book by its cover. The problem is, we are now bombarded with so much data every day that heeding this advice is next to impossible. Our minds need a way to filter out information that is irrelevant to us. 

Catching and keeping people’s attention is difficult. Would you rather have an interesting, cool name that helps tell your brand’s story? Or will it blend in with the rest and just be another piece of information people ignore?

Just like with actual story titles, brand naming involves striking a careful balance between describing what you represent without oversharing. You (hopefully!) wouldn’t spill the details of your entire life story on a first date. Similarly, your brand name’s job is to pique people’s interest without overwhelming them with specifics. It needs to intrigue people and give them a reason to care. 

You may land on what seems to be the perfect name, but there are some technical considerations that follow: is your brand name available within your product category? Will you be able to trademark the name? Is a matching URL available for your website? After investing time, effort, and money into building your brand, you’ll need to protect your ownership of its assets. 

Putting a name on your business idea may seem like a daunting step. At Deal Design, we’re here to break through the hesitations and help you tell your story. The importance of your brand name cannot be understated, but we can help you get it just right. 

In a short time, your brand name could be on the lips of many satisfied customers. 

From brand naming to digital marketing, find out more about how Deal Design can accelerate your brand.

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an interview with terra deal, graphic designer and photographer

An Interview with Terra Deal

By | Catalog Design Blogs, Graphic Design Blogs, Packaging Design Blogs, Product Photography Blogs, Web Site Design | No Comments

Deal Design is a family-owned agency. Our principals, David and Nancy Deal, welcomed their daughter, Terra, to the business as a Graphic Designer. Since then, she has grown into her role and developed a deeper understanding of what it takes to help the agency thrive. In this interview, Terra discusses the power of creativity in her life and the role her parents have played in shaping her career.


What attracted you to the world of graphic design?

I had an interesting relationship with creativity growing up because I was surrounded by creative people. Both of my parents are creatives, my uncles are creative, and I was very much encouraged to pursue something that stimulated me creatively. I grew up as a ballet dancer and got my Bachelor of Fine Arts from UC Irvine. While doing that, I also was pursuing photography on the side, and I think all roads led me to pursue something creative as a career. 

What is it like working alongside your parents?

Honestly, I couldn’t have imagined a better scenario for my relationship with them. I’ve always looked up to them. I definitely have a newfound appreciation for what they do from working together. 

Even as a child, going into the office and watching David paint on his breaks or seeing both of them on business calls, debating the direction of a new brand design — that was normal to me. We’re very close. We have a deep relationship, and I feel like they’ve always accepted me for the kind of creative person I am. There is a mutual respect there. Now that I’m a working professional, I do feel like I’m treated as someone who can bring something new to the table. Even just my age brings a new light to Deal Design and the vision of the brand.

What are some of the most memorable projects you’ve worked on at Deal Design?

I think my biggest project right out the gate was learning the ins and outs of Reef, one of the most recognizable brands in sandals, and work with them to create their seasonal catalogs. With that came a lot of project management. I learned to coordinate between our agency, the photography studio, Reef Marketing and Product Management. Many people don’t realize how much project management time goes into the creative process. Sometimes, project management takes as much time as design.

One of my favorite things to do, though, is to work on logo development for startups. I have the opportunity to create wildly different logos to present to a company and waiting to see which route they want to take. I like being able to do that for startups. 

One of my first logo projects was for Spawn Fitness, and this was one of the first entry-level graphic designer jobs I was given. They ended up loving my first draft of a specific logo, and that was really cool because now they use the work that I got to produce. Being able to create something that other people like is really validating. 

Along with graphic design, you also do a lot of product photography for our clients. How did you get started taking photos professionally?

If it weren’t for David’s DSLR that he passed off to me when I was 15 or 16, I feel like I would’ve eventually found my way to photography, but that was really my kickstart. 

In high school, I took my first photography class, but I honestly didn’t learn much in it. I was watching lots of videos online and was very much self-taught. I loved taking photos of friends, and that turned into me taking people’s senior photos in high school. That carried into college — freshman year I was taking senior grad photos and headshots for people in the dance department. Now I’m our agency’s chief photographer, working with models, product stylists, and emerging brands. It is very fulfilling.

Where do you tend to draw creative inspiration from?

I actually draw a lot of creative inspiration from fashion and music. 

I spend a lot of time listening to music, which I feel like a lot of creative people do. This probably comes from my dance background — I have time that I put aside to intentionally listen to music with my eyes closed. I see music in color and movement, and I think that’s something that benefits me when it comes to working on a creative project. I’m able to visualize how instruments would work together — it’s like making ideas flow and work together. 

With fashion, I really love being able to pick up on trends that are coming back from different decades. Like right now, a lot of 90s style is coming back, and you can see that in graphic design as well. I like to see the parallel between fashion statements that are in trend and how graphic design mimics that in a way.

Who are your greatest role models?

Well, to be frank, David and Nancy Deal. I’m genuinely not just saying that because they have given me so much opportunity and taught me so much.

When I was pursuing dance professionally, I felt like I didn’t really have any role models. I had some teachers that had an impact on my life, but no one has really believed in me as much as my parents have, and that’s something I do not take for granted. I love them and cherish their guidance deeply. 

quote no one has really believed in me as much as my parents have, and that is something I do not take for granted.

What is the most exciting or fulfilling aspect of your role at Deal Design?

I would say it’s being able to feel like I’m carrying on a vision that my parents set for themselves — wanting to create a full-service branding agency. They wanted to be able to art-direct and to make an impact on the area they were living in. I feel like I have seen where they started and I’ve seen the business flourish and grow. Now, being a part of it, it’s very humbling for me. 

I have memories of coming into the design studio as a young girl and seeing all the interns that were my age now or younger. Now, in the position of being a full-time employee, I’m kind of in that role. Recently, we had an old employee come to visit, and we all sat down and were talking to him. Deal Design launched his career in the direction it’s currently in, and he has a family. It’s so sweet because everyone who’s thankful for my parents’ guidance always references where it all started, which was Deal Design at its very beginning. 

It’s really cool to see how much the business has grown, and it makes me excited for the future.

 

Partnering with qualified leaders and creative minds could be the next step in transforming your idea into a reality. Contact us to find out how Deal Design can help create and market your unique brand.

If you’re interested in following Deal Design’s journey, connect with us on Facebook.

chatbots: the new ai in digital marketing

Chatbots: The New AI In Digital Marketing

By | Catalog Design Blogs, Graphic Design Blogs, Packaging Design Blogs, Product Photography Blogs, Web Site Design | No Comments

While the term “artificial intelligence” may seem like it belongs in engineering circles, AI is increasingly permeating the lives of all kinds of people — especially those who use online messaging services. You may have come across one such instance of this technology while shopping for shoes online or checking out a business’s Facebook page.

It’s automated. It’s conversational. It’s a Chatbot.

What is a Chatbot?

Chatbots are programs that automatically engage with received messages. They can live in any major chat product, such as SMS text, website chat windows, or social messaging services like Facebook or Twitter.

The purpose of a Chatbot is to identify a user’s intent, then provide relevant information or perform a certain follow-up action in real time.

Chatbots for Marketing

Utilizing Chatbots for marketing purposes makes a lot of sense. Facebook recently released data that shows why:

ChatBot Statistics

People are now using messaging apps more than they are using social media networks. When you’re building a business, it makes the most sense to build it where your customers are. And because the Chatbot trend is still relatively young, utilizing it for marketing is a great way to make your business stand out.

Well-constructed Chatbots can be a form of behavior-based marketing. This means your Chatbot can provide product recommendations or pertinent information for users based on the data it gathers from them. In a sense, they can act like retail assistants, mirroring the types of interactions you would have in a physical store.

The Value of Chatbots

It’s easy to see why Chatbots are growing in popularity, but what are the potential benefits for your specific business?

bar graph showing predicted use cases for chatbots

Drift’s State of Chatbots Report illustrates the most common reasons customers interact with a Chatbot. In these scenarios, your business benefits, and so does your customer. Each task your Chatbot automates is a task taken off an employee’s to-do list, and users are met with immediate solutions to their problems.

Increase Customer Engagement

There are several different points at which customers interact with and get to know your brand. Messaging platforms are one of these points of interaction. A well-designed Chatbot engages your clients and allows you to get to know more about them — how they found you, what they are looking for, and how you can be of service. Being in contact with your customers is critical for the advancement of your business, ccm software can help you keep on top of what your customers want and how it can impact your business.

chatbot conversation with customer

Interaction with our Deal Design Chatbot

Provide Support Outside of Business Hours

With today’s messaging services, people can contact your business at any hour of the day or night. You can’t realistically expect to respond to every inquiry immediately, especially as your business grows.

Chatbots reply instantly to users, giving them the information they need right when they ask for it. Meeting the communication standards of today’s customers creates a positive impression of your brand. A fast response time demonstrates you care about your clients’ needs, and Chatbots make it easy.

Generate New Leads

Users navigate to your site or social page for a variety of reasons. Some of those users have a real interest in purchasing your products or requesting your services. Chatbots can provide them with information and incentives for pulling the trigger on a purchase decision.

Certain bots even have functionality that allows people to subscribe to your bot in the same way they subscribe to your emails. You can then follow up with chat blasts or targeted messaging that speaks directly to their desires.

Chatbots streamline interactions with your business. Every brand is unique and requires different types of messaging. Chatbots are a versatile solution that speaks to the current generation of consumers and makes your message stand out.

Deal Design has the experience and expertise to design a Chatbot for your brand that engages consumers at the right time and helps convert prospects into customers.

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