In simple terms, a style guide is a document that is used to reference when designing for a company. Do you think designers just magically know the exact colors, font, and tone you use? NOPE. A style guide is the key to maintaining consistent self-presentation across all marketing materials through anyone. Whether it is your company’s designers (internal and external), a freelancer, contract workers, or outside vendors (printers), utililzation of a style guide will create consistency.
There are several fundamental elements that must be shared in a style guide, but there are no limits as to how in-depth a style guide should get. From addressing the photography style, incorporating logo rules and restrictions, to even communicating how certain materials should look in a real-world environment, it all comes down to how narrow and distinct you want your overall company image to look and feel.
Style Guides Deliver Consistency and Reference
When there is no style guide in place, the possibility for confusion and error arises amongst a company’s designers, freelancers, and even customers. Without consistency, there is the risk of your brand becoming hard to identify and everything starting to look out of place. It could also become harder to find what really fits the image of your company as time passes.
It’s best to put a style guide in place from the beginning to ensure consistency across all web and print elements for your brand. When you have that style guide finalized, it can be used as a reference for you and everyone else who comes in contact with your brand.
Components of a Style Guide
At the very minimum, your company should have a style guide simply for your logo(s). This is extremely useful for designers, web developers, and printers in maintaining how the logo should look across all mediums. Most companies change their logo over time to keep up with trends, and having a style guide can avoid any misuse of an old logo.
- Primary Logo (vertical and horizontal)
- Any secondary logos or monograms (Logo in white, black, etc.)
- Sizing (minimum size, size in relation to other elements)
- Examples showing how not to use the logos
Colors are also very important to outline within the guide. It should show any of the primary and secondary logos that your company uses, along with color formats in Pantone, CMYK (for print), RGB (for screens), and hex codes (for web).
- Primary/secondary/tertiary colors
Font usage is another indicator of consistency and defining the usage and type of fonts that should be used across different mediums is important for consistency. In some cases, typefaces you use in one medium may not be usable or ideal for legibility in another (such as print versus web). Listing out alternative web-safe fonts may be useful as well.
- Name of any primary/secondary typefaces used in the logo, marketing material, and on the web
- Examples showing the different weights used
- Descriptions of how elements, such as titles or body copy, should be styled (i.e. bold, all-caps for titles, regular weight and sentence-casing for body copy)
Here’s an example of a well defined style guide below:
If your company doesn’t have a style guide, or you’re interested in updating your logo, checking out our brand packages and let us know if we can help you!