The basics of your brand can seem daunting when you're walking into it completely blind. Follow these steps and you can create your branding basics with just a few key decisions.
This first step seems pretty simple until you get down to the nitty gritty. Once you make the realization that there are millions of tiny differences in colors it can just about drive you insane trying to find the perfect combination. When I came into NCG I sat down and dug into the overall look of all the branded materials. When I asked Natalie Nardone what pieces of the brand she was married to her only stipulation was that she wanted teal in the color palette, because it carries a special meaning in her life. This is a great place to start for anyone trying to choose their business colors. I wen tot work looking for a teal that I felt best personified the culture of the company, calm yet professional. From there I selected three shades that I felt could work well together, but also still read as NCG separately.
Some business stop there with one color and multiple distinct variations, some skip the shades and move on to just have two or more different colors, others call it a day after one color (I wouldn't suggest this option because it can be limiting in the future.) With NCG's branding the teal felt empty, it was too calm by itself. I went about selecting a gold to pack a punch beside the mellow blues. After finding some reference photos of the two color beside each other I was able to find a complimentary color that fell in line with NCG.
While this isn't everyone's process for choosing colors it has worked for me in the past. You can also use online resources such as Paletton, Sessions College, and Coolors. These are all great resources to find the right color group for you.
When placing your colors in a Style Sheet make sure to include the CMKY, RBG, HEX Code, and Pantone Swatch (if applicable).
Fonts can be nearly as tricky as colors because you have a lot a leeway and styles to choose from. When choosing a font consider these things...
- Is this font easy to read?
Don't take this piece too lightly. Just because you can read it doesn't mean everyone can. Have a couple friends/ colleges read samples of the type in different sizes. If you work with a good few people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia you may want to consider serif type faces and added letting between lines to help with the legibility for your audience.
- Does this font compliment my colors? Will it be visible in/on all colors?
Try out the fonts you're considering in the color combinations that may occur during your designs. This will help you determine how legible each font is in the colors available. If you notice a problem with one color on that font you can choose to proceed just noting not to use that combination.
- Will the font appeal to my target audience?
This is especially important when choosing font or color. Your choices will be entirely different for each target audience. If your target demographic is young professional men you're likely to choose more power colors such as red unlike if you're demographic were were young girls which may lean your towards lighter, brighter colors. The same can be said for fonts; you're not going to choose an elaborate script for a predominantly male group.
With the logo section you should place all versions of your logo that are acceptable to use. Usually that's going to be a full color, black, and white version. You should do the same for your brand mark/iconographic logo. This step is pretty simple because usually it's just dragging and dropping form the designer or person you had digitize your logo.
If you don't have a logo have no fear. There are plenty of amazing freelance artists who do great work on logo design. It can be a little pricy at first but you have to remember that you are paying for their time and for a logo you're going to be using for years. You want it to be good quality and have had plenty of time in production. Some awesome freelance designers who can offer these services are Eryn Speer, Brittany Lazeroff, and even myself.
I hope this could be helpful for you while creating your own style guide.