Style Guide VS. Live Style Guide: Differences and Approaches

David Marques
by the way, Hi
Published in
4 min readMar 29, 2018


Using a Style Guide is an indispensable tool to ensure consistency in terms of code development. They become part of the strategy, because style guides can very well be the blueprint every organization needs. Digital platforms need guidance, and both Style Guides and Live Style Guides are of great assistance. What are the differences?


Style Guides are reference points that help set standards and rules for documents, websites, blog posts, apps etc. Any written document, supported by visual aides and that need graphic designing. These rules represent consistency within the brand, allowing the different authors who work with and on products for the brand to implement them.

This set of standards ends up setting the tone for the brand representation that every designer or developer should follow. It’s important to keep in mind that this guide is a resource, a way to answer questions, so it’s imperative that it must be clear and have a table of contents. Most people won’t spend much time going through it all, so keeping it as a reference point ensures its use.

The methodology of the work is set, the visual rules are set, but the developer still has to build the code elements. This is time consuming. This is where the Live Style Guide can help — the elements are developed, the work is solely in the implementation.

A set of colours, determined by a Style Guide.


A Live Style Guide is similar to a normal guide in the sense that it also sets a group of rules and it should also keep the brevity of a normal guide, but it has the advantage of including code elements already. This code efficiency and UI consistency are what sets these guides apart, helping the development team to focus on the building apps without having to code first.

It’s a more powerful tool in its efficiency and it helps reflecting the evolution of the work. This video defines it to its strategic point. Elements and documentation are a bit more intertwined and automated.

Our Front-End OutSystems team leader explains what a LSG is.


Choosing to use Live Style Guides seems obvious, just for the time saving and efficiency alone. But it goes further than that. Since they contain interface design patterns, they help in solving common design problems and represent standard reference points for the UI (User Interface) Designer. Using Live Style Guides allows development teams to work both faster and more efficiently. They allow direct work on the patterns previously developed so that projects can be aligned with business strategy.

The pattern of elements is “alive”, still following the visual rules of the style guide. This “living” characteristic not only saves time and effort, but also allows updating and redesigning interfaces with ease.

Other important benefits are:

  • Better visual quality;
  • Improved user experience;
  • Less need for front-end and expert skills;
  • Design consistency;
  • A future-friendly foundation that your organization can change, expand and evolve over time;
  • Elimination of most gaps between designers and developers.
Some aspects to be incorporated in the Style Guide and the Live Style Guide.


LSG follows some stages on the route to improve determined projects. It’s usually developed in 5 distinct phases: Requirement Analysis, UX Design, UI Design, Development and Delivery.

Such important tools for web development require some analysis. The needs and objectives pretended by the the client have to be identified and organized, to them find the best way to integrate the live style guide into the application architecture in its initial context and any future iterations.

The work of the UX and the UI teams come after. The User Experience team creates the necessary screens for the business process while using the knowledge of the best possible experience for the users. The UI team will design a theme focused on the application’s branding, along with other screens and patterns needed, providing the very important visual identities to the applications.

The development team puts to code the theme designed, develops patterns and customizes the reusable elements, or patterns, that accelerate the development process. Hi INTERACTIVE is dedicated to helping businesses around the world enjoy the freedom Live Style Guides give them. Why build Front-Ends from scratch when you don’t have to?

During the delivery phase, the developed work is presented, applying the live style guide and how it should be used. Clients will experience the application that benefits the implementation of the LSG, making note at how it can be implemented in different newly created apps.

The main goal of developers at Hi INTERACTIVE is to invest the project’s time in the logic of your business, rather than spending most of it in the technical complexity of Front-End Development. Those elements are set and ready to use.

One of the examples of the application of Live Style Guides is what we do on our Front-End OutSystems services. Learn more about it at our Front-End OutSystems page.



David Marques
by the way, Hi

OutSystems Front End Developer