House style design

A good house style makes customers and suppliers want to do business with you, because they see, feel and experience your value.
And it makes your own staff proud of where they work.
Discover how we can make you proud too.

But what exactly is a house style?

The term ‘house style’ can be seen from various perspectives:

  • Correspondence set: here your house style consists of all business correspondence materials, such as stationery, business cards, envelopes, with-compliments slips, email signature, etc. This is the narrowest way to define a house style.
  • All brand touch points: here your house style consists of all internal and external physical and digital brand touch points. This definition fits in with our Brand Design model.
  • Corporate identity: here the house style consists of the organization’s total identity, including its behaviour, goals, norms and values and their design. This is the broadest way to define the term ‘house style’.
    At BTM, we use the middle definition: the total of all brand touch points.
Brand Design Model Ruud Boer ENG

House style design based on the Brand Design model

We work on the basis of the Brand Design model, for both corporate brands and product brands. This starts with thinking about the relevant mental brand identity, then designing the differentiating visual brand identity and developing it into credible brand touch points. Their orchestration – aligning the brand touch points – is also very important in this respect. Once we have designed the house style, the next step is to activate the business brand or product brand.

Handy check-lists for house style design

It’s hard to decide on designing or restyling your house style if you don’t have a complete picture of all parts of your house style, in other words all physical and digital brand touch points. Which is why we are happy to provide some handy check-lists with lots of brand touch points, neatly grouped into four categories:

 

  • A. The company: the business behind the brand (with the same or different name).
  • B. Internal communication: aligning the brand internally with attributes that create brand association.
  • C. External communication: making the brand known externally with attributes that create brand association.
  • D. Products and services: creating the actual brand offering.
360 graden Brand Design Model 2.0 - Hogeschool Zeeland

A. Check-list for house style design: the company

  • Letter paper, document paper and digital stationery formats (letter layout)
  • Various pre-printed envelopes with and without window
  • Address stickers for parcels and blank envelopes
  • Business cards (in the event of multiple languages: combination or separate cards)
  • With-compliments slips (pre-printed message optional)
  • Digital email signature (static or with variable add-ons like stock market data or news)
  • Proposal folders, presentation folders, PR folders, etc.
  • Access passes or badges for visitors
  • Name cards or badges for own staff
  • Pens, pencils, notepads, etc.
  • Business gifts such as ties, scarves, golf balls, umbrellas, bags, etc.
  • Coffee cups, plate service, glasses, etc.
  • Illuminated sign board or neon with logo on the building
  • The office building, e.g. with special form or design
  • Flags and banners outside the building
  • Interior design, such as floor covering and furniture in corporate colours
  • Office decoration, with photographs, art, information screens, etc.
  • Signage: direction signs (inside and outside), parking signs, etc.
  • Reception desk, waiting areas (often forgotten as useful parts of house style)
  • Lettering on company cars, vans, lorries, bicycles
  • Workwear for staff at reception desk, at trade fairs, in company shops, catering, etc.
  • Personal safety products, like helmets, jackets, gloves, etc.
  • Employee advertisements in printed media and digital media like LinkedIn
  • Financial annual report, environmental annual report and CSR annual report
  • Company film, company magazine or corporate brochure
  • Corporate PowerPoint or keynote presentation

B. Check-list for house style design: internal communication

  • Intranet with company news, diaries, forms and social contacts
  • Internal digital newsletter with company or product information
  • Staff journal or magazine with business and social news
  • Payslip, employment contract and staff manual (company rules)
  • Internal memos, e.g. on the notice board in the company restaurant
  • Display cases full of products, awards, historical materials, certificates, etc.
  • Working space decoration, with logo, pictures, TV screens, notice boards, etc.
  • Training materials, job instructions, internal diplomas, etc.
  • Brand manual, house style manual, etc.
  • Brand passport for optimal internal branding
360 graden Brand Design Model 2.0 - FNV

C. Check-list for house style design: external communication

  • Website and web shop
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) for the best scores for different search terms
  • Social media brand pages for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.
  • Offline advertising in newspapers, magazines, outdoor advertising, radio, TV, cinema, professional journals, free local papers, etc.
  • Online advertising with banners (display advertising), Google AdWords (SEA), etc.
  • Online videos on own website, YouTube channel, digital platforms, etc.
  • Narrow-casting in specific places, such as shops, waiting rooms, etc.
  • Vlogs and blogs by own employees, tutorials, webinars, etc.
  • Influencer marketing based on external bloggers and vloggers
  • Exhibition stand, exhibition materials, promotional materials and banners, etc.
  • Affiliate marketing: external partner websites promoting your product or service
  • Events, e.g. your own or taking part in the events of others
  • Shop materials, floor displays, counter displays, folder racks, shelf strips, etc.
  • Flagship stores, concept stores, shop-in-shop, etc.
  • Sales promotion, such as free products, contests, trade-in deals, extra warranty, etc.
  • Email marketing with digital newsletters, specific direct mail to customers or intermediaries, etc.
  • Computer games, virtual reality and augmented reality for extra experience of the brand or the products and services
  • Sponsorship with signs, flags, T-shirts, bags, jackets, etc.

D. House style design check-list: products and services

  • Product design, 3D design, branding, choice of materials, etc.
  • Service brand touch points, such as registration forms, policy conditions, etc.
  • Service design, such as additional services to optimize the customer journey
  • Packaging for products, such as boxes, bags, tins, blister packs, buckets, etc.
  • Apps for easier use of products or services or additional services
  • Directions for use, instructional DVDs, etc.
  • Certificates such as warranties, standardization documents, etc.
  • Leaflets and brochures with specific information and details about products or services
  • Promotional products such as glasses, plate service, spoons, coasters, drip catchers, etc.
  • Reports on results of services, with report covers and report layout (digital templates).

 

 

Please feel free to download these four house style check-lists in preparation for a possible house style design project.

 

360 graden Brand Design Model 2.0 - Nizo

Design Review as indication of whether the house style is still powerful

Strong brands have visual synergy: all brand touch points are in perfect harmony in their design and content. We’ve developed a clever tool to make this easier to see: Design Review. We use it during client workshops to assess whether all brand touch points fit in with their brand strategy and brand identity and whether they form a powerful whole. We place the brand touch points into four groups: excellent, good, mediocre and unsatisfactory. This gives you all the information you need to decide whether or not to redesign your house style.

 

Want to know more about our Design Review? We’d love to tell you more over a cup of coffee or tea.

What does it cost to design my house style?

A company’s house style has a life of about ten years. That makes the cost of designing and developing your house style actually more of an investment that can be written off over a longer period of time. Unfortunately, that goes against the accounting rules. The total cost can vary a lot, from say €10,000 for a small business to even €250,000 for a large and complex organization. It’s an investment that calls for a serious design agency with a lot of experience in designing, developing and managing house style design projects. Like BTM.

 

We’d be happy to work up an attractive tailor-made offer for you.

And to round it all off: three basic conditions for success

    At BTM, we have three basic conditions for making brands and organizations successful:

  • RELEVANT: AYou will never succeed if your brand and organization ‘don’t matter’ to your target group. JYou always need to appeal to what your customers really want. That’s the ticket.
  • DIFFERENTIATING: And even if you are relevant, but your brand and house style are not differentiating and you are not recognizable to your customers: you still won’t succeed.
  • CREDIBLE: And if you are relevant and differentiating, but your story doesn’t make sense, or you don’t tell it: you may succeed in the beginning, but it won’t last.

 

 

    Our aim is to make you relevant, differentiating and credible. If this information has been useful to you, please do us a favour and like us on Facebook and LinkedIn. That will make it easier for others to find us.
Huisstijl door BTM - Valent briefpapier

We’d be delighted to meet you to explain how we can make your brand and organization grow too.