Style guides have taken off on the internet in the last few years as some big brands have decided to implement a standardised design ethos across their channels. Style guides are equally valuable for smaller businesses because a standardised design is easier to regulate. It avoids inadvertently undermining your design and branding. Also, it forces you to define your style and make it into a cohesive and consistent scheme. So, while a style guide may seem like an overly bureaucratic expense for a small business, it will help you to stand out from your competition and, over time, will save you time and money on design implementation in different media, regardless of the size of your business.
A style guide is a document, printed or online, that sets out, in detail, the various aspects of a firm’s brand identity and style. The style guide can cover every facet of the brand identity, including specific layouts, colour, logo usage, typography (fonts, sizes, measure, colour, etc.), images, icons, buttons, navigation, links, badges, and hierarchies of information. It can cover store layout, use of signage, POP displays, etc.
Likewise, a good style guide should cover the tone of voice and give guidance on copywriting.
Most style guides provide practical examples of how to use the various elements. These examples include when to use a component and when not to use it. They almost always have code examples (where applicable) and colour codes for correct colours.
Style guides allow a static design to live, grow and evolve. A style guide should provide a flexible guideline that you can use in many situations. It sets out the design principles, reasons and specifics of practical usage that enables you to apply the style to any new medium in the future.
By consistent application, you will benefit from reduced design costs and increased brand recognition over time.
If you are struggling to tame your business design, or you think you don’t need one because you’re a small company, give us a shout.