Style guides are crucial for brands. They tell their audience what they stand for and how they say it. And they tell their employees what they stand for and how they should go about saying it as an employee. Style guides are necessary for every brand. They are detailed and can seem monotonous, though the specifics are what make it so important.
Two recent style guides which show exemplary execution examples are the latest from Lyft and Uber. I thought it would be helpful to compare and contrast two style guides for a similar product just to see how each is showcasing their product and brand in effective but different ways.
Lyft’s brand is awesome in my opinion. It’s fun, clear, and reliable. Their color palette rivals for being my favorite as far as contemporary modern brand color palettes go. Instantly in the brand guide, Lyft reminds their audience that they are here for the user and to make getting around a lot easier. Their mission statement is simple and clear, the use of pink amongst a primarily white background is cool while playing with hierarchy effectively.
Next, Lyft introduces their design principles. It’s a bit of an expansion of their mission statement and solidifies their design decisions with real intent. This proves to the audience that all of their design decisions are made to improve the customer experience and enhance the product as an effective tool.
The last takeaway from Lyft’s style guide is a creative photographic example. This is one reason why I love Lyft’s color palette — their is so much opportunity to make something cool out of neon pink. This clever photo proves that it doesn’t take much to communicate your brand and product in simple imagery. A closeup of a tire skimming on concrete creating a cloud of pink smoke — yeah, it’s your Lyft, get in.
Uber’s take is much simpler. Uber has established itself as the transportation app of the generation on a simple black and white color scheme and simple visual system. The first takeaway with Uber’s style guide is their highlight of research and feedback that fed into their latest rebrand. They note three primary insights from users and their audience and creates the foundation of the main pieces of the rebrand itself. Like Lyft’s, it’s proving that they listen and care about what their user and customer is saying. Even if it has something to do with how it looks and feels.
The next takeaway is another example of creative photography. This example shows roads pictured in a way that mimics letters of “Uber”. This is another simple way to communicate the brand and product in an effective way, all it needed was some creativity. This images really could have come from Google Earth. They aren’t that special. But they are presented in a way that makes seem like a true, art project for Uber.
Another case study that stood out to me was for Dropbox. This case study/rebrand does a nice job of covering a somewhat dull product and making it attractive and lively. One of the section headings is titled, “Making the everyday more extraordinary”. To me, this seems to be the driving direction behind the rebrand and executes it successfully. It’s not distracting, but it showcases the product in a beautiful, modern way. Dropbox is something that can be used for any kind of work, so the ability to show it in use is broad. They chose to fill it with things mimicking a fashion magazine — it’s artistic. It works, it’s cool, and it shows a strong brand behind the variable uses of the product.
These brand guides prove that simple, creative ideas are often best when trying to communicate a brand and the way that it constructs itself. When communicating how you communicate, it can seem monotonous or boring, though the ways one goes about that proves the ability of a brand to remain relevant and attractive. These style guides prove why they are the app-transit and cloud storage leaders of today.