Stand out with a good house style

A good house style makes it easier for your target audience to recognise your company. It shows what your company does and what you stand for. A carefully designed logo, clever use of colour, and a distinctive font will get you a long way. “Your house style does not have to be trendy, as long as it fits your company”, explains communication expert Sander van Eijk.

Your house style is an important part of your business identity and distinguishes you from the competition. For Sander van Eijk, owner of Opmerkzaam Communicatie, a company’s house style can be compared to your personal dress sense. “People tend to tailor their style and the clothes they wear to their personality, character, and personal tastes. You do the same with your business, but even more deliberately. After all, you cannot change your house style as quickly as you would change into a different outfit. You have to ask yourself: how do I want to present my company to the outside world?”

Getting serious

When is it time to create a house style? According to Van Eijk, the best time is when you are just getting serious about your business and want to show it to your target audience. "If you are able to invest the time and money, I recommend working on your house style during the start-up phase. During that time, you are still thinking about what kind of business you are and how you want to put your identity into practice.”

You could also work on your house style later on, when you have been in business for a while. “Some entrepreneurs have been in business for years without thinking about a house style. Instead, they wait until the company starts growing or until they want to cultivate a more professional image. Other entrepreneurs, on the other hand, start working on a house style right away as part of their business plan, even before their business idea is fully crystallised.”

Guide to creating a house style

The five steps below will help you create a house style and carve out a clear position in the market.

Step 1: Define your identity and image

Define who you are as a business and entrepreneur (your identity) and how you want your target audience to see you (your image). Look at your personal branding: what makes you unique as a business and entrepreneur?

Your identity is about how you and your employees see your company. Describe what language you speak to each other and what your company culture is like. Is your business informal and do people wear jeans and trainers to the office? Or is your style more formal and does everyone wear a suit? Check that your identity matches the core values of your business.

Your image is about how you want your target audience to see you or how they already see you, if your business has been around for a while. Analyse this and put the results on paper.

Step 2: Choose a logo and typography

The next step is to visualise your identity and image through your logo and typography.


A logo is a visual image that represents your company. It can be a logo, word mark, or a combination of both. A logo is a symbol or image and a word mark is your company's name.

For Van Eijk, logos need not be flashy or trendy: “Even simple logos or word marks can be powerful. Just look at big brands like Coca Cola or Heineken. They are simple and still convey a powerful message. Above all, the style of the logo should fit your business.”

“Your logo should also be timeless”, Van Eijk continues. “Investing all that time in your house style only to find out two years later that it no longer fits your business would be a big waste." Van Eijk recommends using a vector for your logo, a graphic image that can be infinitely enlarged or reduced in size. “Vectors never look blurry. You can use paid programmes like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw or free programmes like Inkscape or Canva.”


The typography aspect of your house style is about how your texts look: the font and the font size. “The typography you choose should match the image of your business and your industry. Do you want your texts to look formal or informal, creative or businesslike? Creative fonts are not a good match for lawyers, who are expected to be professional and reliable. For creative professions, however, such as graphic designers, a creative style is a better fit.”

You can have a designer create a font specifically for your business. Van Eijk recommends using a single font to maximise brand recognition. If you do choose two different fonts, make sure that they fit well together.

Step 3: Choose your colours

Customers associate colours with your core values, Van Eijk explains. “Research into the psychological effects of colours have shown that they evoke feelings or emotions. It has been proven that certain colours work better in certain industries and are therefore used more often. You can pick an alternative colour, but then it will take more work for you to back it up visually through strong typography or style. Above all, make sure the colour fits your business and your target audience. Accountants want to appear reliable. Blue exudes reliability and loyalty, making it a good choice. For a hairdresser specialising in creative haircuts, a striking colour like yellow is a better fit.”

Van Eijk points out that you do not necessarily have to limit yourself to one colour. “Picking a palette of complementary colours lets you create multiple combinations. You can use tools like Adobe Illustrator and Material design to help decide on a colour palette.”

Step 4: Pick your visuals

The next step is picking photos, infographics, and icons that match your chosen colours. “This creates a more coherent style and boosts brand recognition”, says Van Eijk. “Create an image bank with images meant for different channels and assets. You can either hire a professional photographer or purchase stock photos.”

There are rules on using stock photos. “You can find free stock photos in databases like Pexels or Canva, but you can also buy them from Shutterstock and iStock. Infographics and icons, on the other hand, can be made with paid programmes like Photoshop or Illustrator. Alternatively, you can buy ready-made infographics and icons from Vectorstock or download them for free at”

Step 5: update your communication assets

Finally, update all your communication assets in your new house style. Van Eijk stresses the importance of creating uniformity between all communication assets. “From business cards and stationery to your website, newsletters, and social media posts. Updating everything at once will help you create a uniform, recognisable identity.”

Van Eijk has another important tip: “Write everything down in a house style manual. It does not have to be a weighty tome. All you need are a few pages of guidelines at first. This will protect your house style and help you stay in control.”

Legal aspects

When developing your house style, there are some important legal aspects to keep in mind. Designs are subject to copyright. Copyright is free, provided the work is original and bears the creator's stamp. You do not have to register designs in order to copyright them. If you have your house style designed by a graphic designer, they own the copyright of your logo, for instance, unless you agreed otherwise.
Want to protect your brand? Apply for a trademark registration at the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP).