Branding is the most important subject on design blogs these days. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of posts about it, though it’s not very clear what it means. Branding for bloggers is more than just a pretty logo, it’s the whole image of your blog, all those things that make it stand out. In order to establish a brand and keep it consistent, you might want to create a style guide for your blog.
A style guide dictates the overall look and feel of your blog and helps you maintain a consistent voice and imagery. By using it, you will create a recognizable and more professional online presence.
Whether you are designing your blog or work with a professional, follow these tips for a cohesive brand:
Do a little bit of research
Collect everything you like. This is the first thing I ask my clients to do and it’s a great way of finding out what you like. The easiest way to do it is to create a Pinterest board and start pinning. Add all the things you find interesting, it doesn’t matter if they are logos or nature images.
Organize your board. When you get tired of pinning (does that ever happen?), start deleting images that don’t match. You will notice that a lot of images go well together, probably because they have similar colors or styles.
Make a moodboard. Pick your final images and use them to make a moodboard or add them to a document. This helps you keep a consistent image.
Creating a style guide
Set the tone. As I said before, your blog’s brand is more than just the image, you also have to decide how you will present yourself to your readers. Decide on a tone (playful, serious, authoritative, etc.) and compare it to your image board. Do they match?
Pick your fonts. Choose 2-3 fonts for your logo, titles, headings, sidebar, and other places you might use them. Stick with specific font size and weight throughout your blog. Make sure you read the license before using a certain font for your logo.
Choose the colors. Use your moodboard to help you create a color palette. Remember that 3-5 colors are usually enough. If you have a colorful design, try not to use too many colors inside your posts, though a black and white design will benefit from the use of colors.
Set standards for images. You will need to create images for posts, pages, sidebars, and social media. Once you establish your style, create image templates in Photoshop (or other graphic editors). It’s easier to drag an image into a template, than creating new images every time you write a new post.
Decide post formatting. There are a lot of formatting decisions you have to make when you create a new post. The way your links look, the fonts and colors used in the body and headings, and even the way your quotes look go into the stylesheet so make sure you discuss this with your designer. Also, decide on how you will organize the content, where and how many headings will you use, how will you use bold and italics, or how many links will you add.
Be consistent. Write down all of this and keep it close. Use the same imagery on your social media accounts, newsletters, and everywhere else so your readers will recognize you.
That’s it! You can use this guide to re-brand or make your brand stronger and more professional.
Your style and preferences might change over time, but don’t be afraid to experiment every now and then.
Do you have a style guide? What other elements are important to include in your blog’s style guide?