What’s Your Style?

January 12, 2010

The clothes we wear communicate something about us. Whether we dress conservatively, stylishly, or avant-garde, we tell the world a little bit about who we are with our style.

Various types of business attireLook at the image to the left and then imagine a career for each person based on their clothes.

Your firm’s correspondence also tells a story about your firm, and if you haven’t thought about your company’s style, you’re missing the opportunity to tell the world a little bit about yourself without saying a word.

A style guide is the clothes your company wears. It defines the fonts, colors, logo formats, and other design elements that define your company. Using the same design elements across all of your communications reinforces your company’s image. Your style guide provides clear design direction for all of your marketing materials, advertising, online presence, and even your business letters and emails. Your style guide doesn’t need to be fancy, but you do need one.

Read more about developing your style guide:

Your style guide should start by defining the colors and fonts you will use in your day-to-day correspondence like letters and emails. Use at least one distinct color and one common but not-often-used font (like Georgia instead of Times New Roman or Tahoma instead of Arial). Make sure you use this font when you type all of your emails and letters, and use your color as an accent in your email signature or as the defined color for bullet points and highlighted, bolded, or italicized text. Use these colors and fonts in the master template for all of your PowerPoint presentations. Be sure this font and these colors appear in all of your online and print advertisements.

List your color in hexidecimal code (for anything Internet based), in CMYK format (for print), and in RGB format (for Microsoft Office products). There’s no good formula for converting RGB colors to CMYK, but a graphic design program like Adobe Photoshop or Quark XPress will show you CMYK, RGB, and hex values for your colors. This website will convert hex to RGB and RGB to hex: http://www.translatum.gr/converter/hexadecimal.htm

Your style guide should also include a color, black and white, and grayscale version of your company’s logo, along with height and width dimensions for the logo (preventing logo distortion if others reproduce your logo).

If you have a graphic designer or you use an outside marketing firm, ask him or her to create your style guide. If you have an employee who has graphic design skills, ask them to help you define your style.

Do you have a style guide? Why did you choose some of the elements (fonts, colors, etc.) when you developed your style guide? And if you don’t have one, email me at integratedmc@live.com to discuss developing one.

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