Create a Style Guide for Your Brand

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Today, we’re going to be talking about STYLE GUIDES!

A style guide is exactly what it sounds like, a document that outlines the “rules” or guidelines the brand style should follow.

Before we get too deep into talking about style guides, I want to mention that I think there can be fluidity within your blog/brand/website style if it makes sense for your audience or goals and values.

For example, after the Supreme Court passed marriage equality, a ton of brands made their added a rainbow effect to their logos. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a style guide that includes this version of the logo.

The reason the brand can adapt their logo into that color scheme is because it has a strong, identifiable logo mark.

There’s also a website called identity designed that I will check out every once in a while

And one that stood out to me a couple years ago was Urban Outfitters and that they change their logo every season or every few months.

It’s an interesting project because - and I don’t keep up with every logo ever created - but they always have a quirky hand drawn feel. Because you know they’re so hipsterrrrrr.

But you’d probably never see a new design created using Didot. It goes to show you that the most important part of the brand is the core values and the spirit of the project and the design needs to reflect that.

Okay so what should you include in your style guide?

Well on some corporate style guides there will be loads of information, if you’re curious you could google a brand’s style guide and see what kinds of elements they include

Things like:

  • Keeping the logo on specific color backgrounds
  • Can your logo be displayed in different layouts

Now, if you’re doing this for your blog or a client, obviously you’ll want to tailor it for what works best for that project. I prefer not to overcomplicate this and keep it straightforward.

For example, here’s what a small business/blogger would be most interested in knowing about for their brand:

The basics:

  • logo
  • color palette
  • type used in the logo
  • type used on marketing materials - like website in print, etc.
  • photography - maybe all the images are in black and white or have a filter
  • elements - patterns, symbol sets, etc.
  • additional logo styles - like a watermark

What do you like to include in a style guide?