Does your content have a lot of different contributors? If so, then you probably know the challenges of keeping the look of your brand’s image consistent. A Style Guide can be used to promote consistency throughout your organization. It is a reference document that outlines what your company’s brand elements are and how they should be used in your marketing materials. Having a Style Guide makes it easier for all your content contributors to be on the same page and to ensure the message delivered to your audience is consistent and recognizable as your brand.
While it can be a process to initially put together a style guide, it will save you a lot of time in the long run. It will be a valuable resource to answer questions about formatting and branding standards, which allows contributors to spend more time creating their content and less time formatting it.
What Should Be Included in Your Style Guide?
- Provide rules and guidelines for how and where your logo should be used.
- Versions of your logo should be provided in every possible file type (.png, .jpg, .ai, .svg, .psd, etc.).
- If your logo allows for different color variations, you should outline when these alternates may be used.
- Specify how much clear space is required around the logo and how it should be aligned.
- Pantone, HEX, CMYK, and RGB color codes need to be listed for each of your color values.
- Outline which colors should be used together, as well as which colors should be the main colors, and which colors should be the accent colors.
- Font names and sizes need to be provided for headers, paragraphs, as well as any other formatted text you will be using.
- Kerning, line height, and spacing of your typography also need to be outlined.
- Specify which fonts should be used for print, and which fonts should be used for web.
Define how elements should be positioned on the page in relation to each other – this should be outlined for both web and print. If you have any templates or UI kits that should be used, you will want to include them. Make sure you also include a protocol for file-naming, so that will stay consistent as well.
Icons and Imagery
If you have a preferred set of icons, or frequently used images, be sure to include these in your guide with a link to the assets. Even if you don’t have a set of frequently used images, you can give guidelines for the types images that may be used.
Creating an Effective Style Guide
When you think about items to be included in your style guide, be sure to include examples of how your documents should appear. Give examples of the good as well as the bad, so people will have a clear idea of what is acceptable and what is not. It may also be helpful to explain why something is done a certain way so users know the guidelines serve a purpose and aren’t just being nitpicky. You may also want to include a brief history of your brand and how it has evolved over time to give insight into the ideas behind its evolution. Your style guide should be updated regularly with any changes, and new items, as well as removing outdated materials.
MS Design Graphics can help you create a Style Guide that is clean, easy to navigate, and visually appealing. Remember, your Style Guide is a reflection of your product and brand and should be treated as such – particularly if your Style Guide is made accessible to the public.
See some great examples of Style Guides: