Do you have style?

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A style guide offers consistency of message.
A style guide offers consistency of message.

Maintaining a style guide for your brand can give it a distinctive look, clear up uncertainty, and provide you with quick access to information when you need it most.

Your brand is unique and intricate, and it needs to be treated as such. Having an instruction manual right at your fingertips can help you make sure that your brand has a cohesive style and a distinctive look—and even help you keep sane when deadlines begin mounting up.

When you need to look something up quickly, you'll find that a style guide is more useful than white-out. Hey, having one around might even reduce your need for the stuff.

Style guides come in all varieties. The simplest among them list color, font and logo information; the more encompassing ones include information about clinical trials, word preference and the inevitable exceptions to the rules.

So, what exactly can you gain from a style guide?

Consistency.

There are hundreds, thousands, millions of brands in the world today. The ones you remember are those you see over and over—and in the same way. Having a brand style guide that allows you to outline fonts, colors, and rules saves you from compromised or distorted execution.

And if you happen to be collaborating with other agencies for your biotech or device brand, you may discover that having a style guide as a reference can help you maintain a consistent approach in the work. Refer to your brand guidelines with every new project.

Identity.

You have a style guide because you have a brand identity to uphold. Of course, as the keeper of a brand, you know how things are supposed to look and read. A style guide is invaluable when it comes to working with outside vendors and freelancers.

Make sure you remember to give them the current guidelines. You'll save them from asking a lot of questions—and save yourself from having to answer them.

Consensus.

When you are getting ready for MLR meetings, your style guide can be a great help. You can reference trademarks, logos, generics, and clinical information (depending on the depth of the guide) quickly and from one source.

Taking the time to document these essential pieces of information can save you hours and reduce your stress before taking your materials in for review. Get everyone on the same page initially—your boss, your MLR team, your production team—to make the whole process run smoothly.

Resolution.

Are you noticing office disputes about the PMS color of a particular turquoise, or the use of the serial comma? Put an end to the disagreements. Your brand style guide will be a quick go-to for answering these questions. 

Accuracy.

The best part about a brand style guide? It's always accurate. That is, of course, if you're keeping it up-to-date. Create an electronic style guide and make it a priority to update it as needed. Establish a schedule of monthly, quarterly, or yearly updates to maximize accuracy.

Adhering to a style guide won't make you the kind of person who is preoccupied with rules. Instead, it will free you up to concentrate on the exciting creative work that your agency is putting in front of you—a place where you want your focus to be.

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