Importance of creating a Style Guide

A design (style) guide is a very important document when you are working on a UI, web design, product design, apps and branding. It serves the purpose of a standard document that design and development team must follow.

A style guide is a design document that defines basic guidelines of a brand and ensures consistency of the brand, no matter who is working on it.

Why it is an important document?

Design do not just “occur”. There is a thinking, a process, a method behind it. It takes time to create a beautiful, well balanced and a consistent design.

A designer might have gone through different trials of colors, fonts and graphics before the final presentation of design. He/she is in the best position to tell what will look good and what will not. After the submission of design to the client, the process is no longer in designer’s hand.

So what should the client do if he/she needs an enhancement, a new page in their website, or a new colateral? If the client hires a second designer, they have to explain their brand all over again or the new designer would have to figure out everything themselves.

The Solution: Create a style guide and save time.

By including a style guide document during final submission shows your professionalism and helps your clients understand the process and methodology you’ve used behind your creative idea.

Twitter brand guidelines

What to include in the style guide?

A style guide does not need to be perfect and a long document. You have to include necessary and important information about your creative work that will help a third person use your design.

Following are some key elements that must be present in your style guide:

  1. Brand story (Vision, mission)
  2. Logo (Variations, placements, alignments)
  3. Color palettes (Pantone, CMYK, RGB, HEX codes)
  4. Typography (Typefaces, sizes, alignment, spacing)
  5. Iconography (Icon sizes, styles)
  6. Imagery (Brand images, how to use them)
  7. Voice (How brand speaks)
  8. Forms (Style, placements of form elements)
  9. Spacing (Standard spacing for consistency throughout the brand).

A style guide is a living document, it continues to evolve through a brand’s life span. You will continue to learn what works and what does not work with your brand and you will be needing to add this information to style guide.

It’s a good practice to keep versions of your style guide. In this way, new decisions and new examples can easily be tracked.

Do you think there should be more information added to style guide? What do you think?