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How to Assess Your Brand Style Guide in 2019

Brand consistency is what lets you spot your favorite brand whether you’re shopping in Tucson, in Philadelphia, or online. 

Brand style

The brands you love “stick” in your brain partly because they solve a problem of yours to your satisfaction, but also because of the consistent use of logo, fonts, colors, images, and overall style. Brands make this happen partly through the use of a brand style guide, a branding “rulebook” that ensures designers, marketers, content creators, web designers, and product packaging professionals are all on the same page, creating a unified vision of the brand and presenting it to the public.

That said, consumers change, and brand styles change. Therefore, brand style guides need to be updated regularly. That doesn’t mean they need to be completely overhauled regularly, however. While major brand makeovers do happen, updating the brand style guide is about keeping your brand both consistent and fresh for its fans. Here are some ways to assess your brand style guide in 2019.

Do You Still Know Your Buyer Persona as Well as You Think You Do?

People are constantly changing, and since it is people who choose your brand, it’s important to know them well. In the space of only a couple of years, your buyer persona may undergo notable changes, and it’s important that your brand’s style elements keep up. 

Particularly if your brand has become popular among a new demographic in the past year, you should revisit your buyer personas to make sure your brand speaks to that demographic as well as other persona demographics. In other words, who you think is buying your brand may not match up with who is actually buying your brand. Gaps between perception and reality can dampen your brand’s success. 

Does Your Editorial Style Guide Still Work for You?

Editorial style tends to remain fairly constant. However, for new brands, there is often some degree of trial and error involved in hitting just the right note with consumers. Therefore, assessing, and if necessary, updating your editorial style guide should be done periodically. This is especially helpful if you employ contractors or freelancers. You don’t want to assign content to a freelancer based on an editorial style guide that isn’t up to date. 

Brand style

Do Your Imaging Guidelines Need a Refresh?

Likewise, while things like logo and brand color palettes tend to remain constant, some visual guidelines may need to be refreshed. While it’s not wise to completely change the type of imagery you use in marketing collateral, evolution often makes sense. Maybe a photo editing filter you used to use all the time is getting stale. Or maybe the imagery prescribed by an older brand style guide doesn’t include a new, important consumer demographic you’re courting. Even with stock images, imagery guidelines (complete with “Do” and “Don’t” examples) help today’s branding professionals give you their best work.

Is Your Typography Still Doing Its Job Well?

Sudden, significant changes to typography can be jarring for consumers, and some brands use fonts that have long been associated with the brand (like the iconic Dunkin Donuts font). Still, evolutionary changes in typography can refresh branding without confusing consumers. If you’re considering altering typography, it’s well worth your time to consult with an expert, both to get the best results and to know what to expect in terms of initial consumer reaction, how much consumer push-back is normal, and how long it takes for consumers to assimilate new typography into their perception of your brand.

Brand style guides provide constancy and consistency, which is good. Yet, they sometimes need to be fine-tuned to work best with current consumer sentiment. Re-evaluate your customer persona, editorial style, imagery characteristics, and typography, and with the help of experts modify them if necessary. That way you’ll retain your critical brand persona while demonstrating to consumers that you’re responsive to their changing lives. PKG Brand Design is always on the forefront of new CPG branding and packaging initiatives; please subscribe to our blog for the latest package design industry news!

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