How to Write an Effective Copy Style Guide

Last updated:
June 10, 2024
min read
Mollie Jackman
Abstract graphic showing different elements found in a common brand style guide.

How to Write an Effective Copy Style Guide (Downloadable Template)  

Nearly 1/3 of respondents to a recent Hubspot survey reported struggling to create engaging content. The good news? A brand copy style guide can help with that. A well-crafted copy style guide is your compass, ensuring consistency across all your communications. In this guide, we’ll show you how to develop a comprehensive style guide that reflects your brand's unique personality and values. (And how to implement them for various audiences and mediums.)  We're offering a free, downloadable style guide template you can use alongside this checklist to get started quickly. Just print or download this PDF style guide template and follow these steps:

Section 1: Who We Are

Introduction: Start with a brief description of your brand that gives readers a clear understanding of what your brand stands for.

Brand History: Outline critical milestones and a timeline of your brand's history. This can include significant events, achievements, and developments that have shaped your brand's journey.

Questions to Ask:

  • What is the origin story of our brand?
  • What are the pivotal moments in our brand's history?
  • How has our brand evolved over time?

Section 2: Our Story

Brand Narrative: Dive into the story behind your brand; explain the inspiration and journey that led to its establishment. This narrative should be engaging and relatable, helping to build an emotional connection with your audience.

Questions to Ask:

  • What inspired the creation of our brand?
  • What challenges did we face and overcome in our journey?
  • What makes our brand story unique and compelling?

Section 3: Our Mission

Mission Statement: Clearly define your brand's mission. This statement should encapsulate your brand's primary goals and purpose.

Questions to Ask:

  • What is the core purpose of our brand?
  • What are the long-term goals we aim to achieve?
  • How do we intend to make a difference in our industry or community?

Section 4: Core Values

List of Values: Identify the core values guiding your brand's actions and decisions. These values should reflect the principles that are most important to your brand.

Questions to Ask:

  • What principles do we uphold in our operations and interactions?
  • How do our values influence our brand culture and customer relationships?
  • Which values are non-negotiable for our brand?

Section 5: Our Audience

Understanding your audience is pivotal for effective communication. Describe the demographics and characteristics of your target audience in detail. This understanding will help you tailor your brand's communication to their needs and preferences.

Questions to Ask:

  • Who are the primary and secondary audiences for our brand?
  • What are their key characteristics and preferences?
  • How do we address their needs and interests?

Section 6: Brand Personality and Tone

Brand Personality: Define the adjectives that best describe your brand’s character. This helps maintain a consistent brand personality across all platforms.

Tone of Voice: Describe how your brand communicates. Is it professional, friendly, authoritative, or casual? The tone should align with your brand's personality and audience.

Questions to Ask:

  • What adjectives best describe our brand?
  • How do we want our audience to perceive us?
  • What tone of voice resonates best with our audience?

Section 7: Voice

Brand Voice: Outline how your brand sounds in various types of communication. This includes the overall style and specific language used in different contexts.

Questions to Ask:

  • How should our brand voice come across in written and spoken communications?
  • Are there any specific words or phrases we consistently use or avoid?
  • How does our brand voice differ across platforms and mediums?
Sample of branded style guide

Section 8: Style Elements

Logo Usage: Provide guidelines on how to use your logo correctly, including size, placement, and variations.

Color Palette: Define your brand's primary and secondary colors and provide usage instructions to maintain visual consistency.

Typography: Specify the fonts to be used and their application in various contexts.

Imagery Style: Describe the type of images, photography, and graphics that represent your brand.

Questions to Ask:

  • What are the correct and incorrect ways to use our logo?
  • What colors define our brand, and how should they be used?
  • What fonts best represent our brand, and where should they be applied?
  • What style of imagery aligns with our brand’s identity?

Section 9: Writing Guidelines

Grammar and Syntax: Establish grammar rules your brand follows to ensure consistency in written content.

Vocabulary: List words to use and words to avoid ,helping to maintain a consistent brand voice.

Formatting Preferences: Provide guidelines on how to format documents, blog posts, and other written materials.

Questions to Ask:

  • What grammar rules are essential for our communication?
  • Are there specific terms that should always or never be used?
  • How should our written content be formatted for clarity and consistency?

Section 10: Legal and Copyright

Copyright Information: Provide guidelines on copyright issues, usage rights, and how to protect your brand’s intellectual property.

Questions to Ask:

  • What legal considerations should we be aware of in our branding?
  • How do we ensure our content is protected and used correctly?
  • What are the procedures for handling copyright infringements?


FAQs: Address frequently asked questions about the style guide to help users navigate and implement it effectively.

Questions to Ask:

  • What terms need to be defined for clarity?
  • What common questions might users have about the style guide?
  • How can we provide additional support to ensure the style guide is used correctly?

Pro Tip: Use Examples Throughout

Good vs. Bad Examples: Illustrate effective and ineffective examples of brand communication to provide clear guidance on maintaining brand standards.

Questions to Ask:

  • What are examples of effective brand communication?
  • What are common pitfalls to avoid in our communications?
  • How can we learn from both good and bad examples to improve our consistency?

Back Cover

Contact Information: Provide details on contacting the brand team for further queries or support regarding the style guide.

By following these steps and asking the right questions, you can create a comprehensive and practical style guide that ensures consistency and clarity across all brand communications. Remember, a well-defined style guide is powerful in building a strong, recognizable brand.