A New Way to Build a Brand Style Guide

Use the Identity Prism for a Distinctive and Simple Brand

Danielle Spinks Earl
6 min readOct 12, 2020


I love branding. But it's not all about design. As the kid of a clinical psychologist, I appreciate it on another level. It is both highly valuable and almost completely psychological.

Let’s pull back.

What is a Brand?

In essence, a brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.

The power of a brand is the collection of perceptions that those identifiers unlock in the mind.

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Simplicity is Key to Brand Success

The world’s successful companies all say the same thing. The biggest asset is the brand. Some brands seem clear and obvious. Apple. Ikea. Krispy Kreme. The best brands are strong and distinctive, as well as simple and clear.

If you look at the Interbrand top 20 global brands, all of them are clear, strongly defined, and use simple stories that people understand. In fact, anyone can understand them. Even children. That’s the power of simplicity.

But if you’re small and a service provider, you can deploy the same tactics.

Screenshot from Interbrand

What is a Style Guide

A Style Guide is a document that contains the writing, formatting, and design rules for your materials.

Be Succinct and Distinct

Some brand manuals are enormous, like encyclopaedias. You be the judge. Cover what you need to cover. My advice is to start small and include only the fundamentals.

The Style Guide is an evolving document so it will change over time. Convey the essence as succinctly and distinctly as possible in each facet of the prism.

Where to start



Danielle Spinks Earl

Creative and professional writer. Runs My Virtual Marketing Manager. Living the best life with multiple sclerosis since 1998.