PricingHow It WorksReviewsExamples
December 2, 2023

How to Create a Brand Style Guide for Social Media

A style guide is a great way to keep your social media accounts looking cohesive, get everyone on the same page, and send a clear message about your brand. You'll be able to help your followers identify your brand, as well as stay on track with your branding goals. 

“Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” – Paul Rand, American art director, and graphic designer.

As a consumer, there is no doubt that you’ve experienced the impact of strong branding. When you think of Apple, you think of minimalism, simplicity, and clarity. When you think of IKEA, you associate qualities like sustainability, practicality, and quality. As soon as someone mentions Coca-Cola, the famous red fills your head.  

Today, globally renowned brands aren't the only ones benefitting from strong branding. Businesses of all sizes should pay attention to their visual brand identity as a way to stand out and reach their customers.

Creating a Brand Style Guide is your chance to decide how you wish the world to see and perceive your brand. Once you understand your brand and your target audience, it’s loads of fun too!

What is included in a Brand Style Guide?

A Brand Style Guide is a document (it could be a one-sided PDF file or a short PowerPoint) with all the visual elements of your brand and instructions on how to use these brand style elements and a note on brand voice and tone.

These visual elements include:

  • Brand logo
  • Any alternative logos
  • Brand fonts (for title, headings, paragraphs)
  • Brand color palette, with HEX codes
  • Any graphic elements (patterns, lines, symbols used for the brand)
  • Optional mood board photos that inspire the brand’s style

Examples of Brand Style Guides


Spotify brand guide.png

In this section of Spotify’s Brand Style Guide they explain their logo and how to use their different icons in different colors and which background colors are suitable to pair with their icon. This is something you could include in your Brand Style Guide as well.

Love to Ride

Love to ride brand guide.png

In 2014, Love to Ride, a cycling company, underwent a complete rebranding. On this page of their Brand Style Guide, they share their color palette. Notice how they have creatively displayed their colors on left hand side.

Being deliberate and on-brand with the presentation of your Brand Style Guide itself can also be a way to help your reader understand the style of your brand by showing instead of telling. 

I Love New York

I love new york brand guide.png

Here is an example of how the popular I Love NY company has displayed one of three fonts they use in their branding.

Notice how they share the different variations of the font American Typewriter on the left-hand side – American Typewriter Light, Medium, and Bold.

On the right-hand side, they have decided to use some placeholder text to give you a sense of how the font looks like as a title, headline, or in a paragraph, and in different font sizes as well. 

Now that you know what a Brand Style Guide consists of, are you ready to get started with the first step?

Step 1: Define Your Brand

Your brand is your identity as a business. It is the message and image you wish to convey to your customers and is gleaned through every outward-facing material your customers encounter, from your logo to the words you use in your messaging, your font, or colors.

To define your brand it is helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your company/business about?
  • What products/services do you provide?
  • What is your business mission/goal?
  • Who is your ideal customer/client?

(Tell us their age, income, gender, marital status, industry, values, beliefs, lifestyle, hobbies, interests, etc.)

  • What are their needs and what are you solutions?
  • What emotions do you want your brand to exude?

(ex. joyful, expensive, calm, loud etc.) 

  • What overall look, feel, and style does your brand to reflect?
  • What colors tell the story of your brand? 
  • Are there any symbols, motifs, or images that inspire your brand and/or that you would like to associate with your brand?

(For example, a yoga studio company may want to be associated with a lotus flower, as it is in their logo too)

  • What is the inspiration behind your company/brand?

(This question invites you to also look at other brands, websites, or images that inspire your own brand)

Answering these questions provides you with a Creative Brief that helps you understand exactly how you wish your brand to be perceived and how you wish to define your brand. It serves as a springboard from which you can begin working on your Brand Style Guide. 

Your brand should align with your ideal customers’ expectations

Do not forget to consider how your brand responds to your ideal clients’ expectations. After listing out the traits that make up your ideal customer in the questions above, put yourself in their shoes and try to understand what kind of brand they wish to engage with. Let your brand style respond to these expectations. 

Step 2: Choose a Color Palette

Your Brand Style Guide’s color palette can be made up of as many colors as you want, but it is best to stick to fewer so that your brand stays cohesive and recognizable. A rule of thumb would be for your palette to have 5 colors, maximum. If you wish to go for more, you will have to choose which ones become secondary colors, and which few make up your primary colors.

Earlier on we asked you, “What colors tell the story of your brand?”. What did you say? Don’t worry if you were drawing a blank, as we’ll help you choose your color palette, starting with a mood board. 

A moodboard is a collection of images and colors that convey their own feeling, color palette, and emotion. A moodboard can help you gather your ideas and inspiration for color, as well as the overall look of your brand. 

One of our favorite ways of creating a moodboard is through Pinterest, where you can create your own board, and begin “pinning” images that inspire the tone, style, and color scheme of your brand to that board.

Once you have browsed through Pinterest and saved up a collection, have a look for similarities across your board. Select a few images that you feel best represent the whole batch and lay them out in a grid. This could be a multi-step process that you return to, refining until you are happy with it.

Ultimately, you’d like to have five or so images that give you a sense of your brand style and feel, and the mix of colors that represent your brand.

If you have the impression your chosen colors are off-brand or don’t seem to align with the tone of your brand or the expectations of your customers, try drawing on the basics of color psychology.

The Psychology of Color

Specific colors convey bring out different emotions and feelings in us, and some may be better suited to both your brand and your customer than others. 

  • Earthy colors such as brown, amber, gold, yellow, green convey a sense of being grounded, reliable, wholesome, abundant, joyful, soothing, and calm.
  • Mauves, purples, greys, taupe, black, and white can give off a sense of drama, richness, introspection, being classical, timeless, neutral, organic, powerful, stylist, clean, and even corporate.
  • Reds, pinks, and oranges convey energy, passionate, playfulness, softness, friendliness, and warmth. 
  • Brighter greens and all the blues tell us something is fresh, lively, lush, young, tasteful, perhaps calming, peaceful, and credible. 

Each color has specific feelings associated with it that you may want to look into in more detail.

If you are looking for different tones or nuances of color to select for your color palette, head over to or Design Seeds for inspiration. There you can find fantastic color tools for design inspiration and for your brand. 

Through whichever route you have chosen, save your 5 selected colors as HEX codes for your Brand Style Guide. You can do this through Photoshop, Canva, or by using the color eyedropper tool. You will need to add these codes beneath each color so that anyone who wants to use that color will have the exact code to it (and aren’t just guessing by eye).

See the image below for an example of how you could display your brand colors in your Brand Style Guide.

Brand style guide.png

Note that in this example, RGB and CYMK color codes are included. If your Brand Style Guide is for social media (digital purposes only), just including the HEX codes is enough. 

Step 3: Select Fonts

It’s time to determine the typography of your brand! There are plenty of free and available fonts you can use for your brand from Google Fonts or through Canva. To select a font or multiple fonts for your brand, we suggest you do the following:

1-Make sure the fonts reflect the brand feel

Most fonts can be categorized as serif or sans serif fonts. Serif means fonts have little feet at the bottoms of their letters, such as Times New Roman, Georgia, or Baskerville.

Sans serif fonts don’t have the little feet, and you will more likely see them being used in online content, such as blog posts, because they can be easier on the eye and give off a modern feeling.

Choosing which kind of font works for your brand is a personal choice, but typically you will find serif fonts are more decorative and evoke a sense of tradition, elegance, and trustworthiness.

On the other hand, sans serif fonts are more modern, clean, approachable, and even youthful. Some well-known sans serif fonts include Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma and Open Sans.

Check out Canva’s Ultimate Guide to Font Pairings for inspiration. 

2- Select a font family that has several weight options

A font family or “type family” describes a range of font designs that are all variations of one basic typeface. For example, Open Sans has a font family of Light, Regular, Semi-Bold, Bold, and Extra-Bold versions of the Open Sans typeface.

Choosing a font that has different variations gives you more flexibility in design, a unified brand look, and can help you create hierarchy in your messaging. 

3- Go for fonts that are very easy to read

Keep in mind that all designs you share for your brand on social media will most likely be viewed through a mobile device. So, it is more important than ever that your Brand Style Guide for social media include fonts that are legible and clear, especially when displayed small. The last thing you want is for a viewer not to be able to read what is written.

Have a look at different fonts on Canva or Google Fonts, and play around with typing out some copy and seeing how they look for your brand! This is the time for you to get creative and explore your options. When in doubt, return to your moodboard and your brand identity. 

Tip: You can modify the letter spacing between fonts and lines, or also choose to display a particular heading in a font with all capital letters to give a font a bit of a makeover. 

Display your fonts in your Brand Style Guide as what they should be used for. See the example:

Fonts for brand style guide.png

Step 4: Create Graphics

Go back to the responses you gave to the questions under Step 1. Were there any symbols or motifs that align with your brand identity? Perhaps you feel your brand is associated with water, or with circular and wavy forms, or sharp lines and squares… or something more specific. 

Perhaps your moodboard shares an image of something, or even a pattern or texture that you’d like to emphasize in your Brand Style Guide and carry through future branding materials.

This is the time to either have a go at creating them yourself (draw them out and digitize them, illustrate them on Adobe Illustrator, or hire a graphic designer to do this for you), or select some pre-made graphic elements or graphic templates to use for your branding (you can find plenty of graphic elements such as hand-drawn flowers, wavy lines, shapes, or borders on Canva). 

Once again, have fun with creating your graphics, and make sure they are saved in a way so that they can be accessed, used, and edited again! 

Tip: Save any logos and graphic elements as a vector file so you can resize them in the future, and always save a version that has no background (transparent background) so that they can be placed atop other images or backgrounds.

Step 5: Determine Your Voice and Tone

Your voice and tone, just like your colors and graphics, will be rooted in your brand personality, and should resonate with your ideal customers. How do they wish to be spoken to, and what kind of language and tone would attract them to your brand?

Between these options, where does your brand fall?

  • Funny vs. serious
  • Formal vs. casual
  • Respectful vs. irreverent
  • Enthusiastic vs. practical
  • Confident vs. humble
  • Elegant vs. silly

Understanding your place among these different qualities will help you find your brand voice and tone. Your brand voice and tone should also be reflective of your values as a brand.

Something else that can help, especially for your Brand Style Guide, is to include any taglines or phrases that go with your brand, or to highlight specific keywords you’d like to emphasize or use regularly in any customer-facing material. 

Take the example of the brand of the yoga studio company again; they may choose to spotlight the following keywords or phrases: “sanctuary”, “peaceful”, “home away from home”, and “freedom”. 

In your Brand Style Guide, describe the tone of voice you are going for, and include any brand taglines or powerful keywords you’ve selected.

 Let’s wrap up!

Follow all of these steps and include the final design elements and decisions in a document to make your Brand Style Guide.

Creating a Style Guide for your brand is going to help your marketing and communications team be on the same page when it comes to branding. As you continue to use it for future designs, posts, and overall content on social media, it will also ensure your branding is consistent across all digital channels, and will ultimately be the backbone of a strong and cohesive brand presence.

By following the steps above, you can create a guide that will help you to achieve your branding goals. It is your chance to not only better understand your brand by thinking creatively and strategically about how you wish to present your brand to the world, but it will allow you to reach more customers, give your whole team a sense of belonging and visual identity, and give your business or company the attention it deserves!

Read more posts like this.