As you build your website and online presence, make sure your message and brand are consistent with the help of a style guide template.
Brand identity matters. When people see something created by your company, whether it’s your website, a flyer or a newsletter, they should be able to instantly connect it with your brand based on design elements in addition to your written voice and the presence of your logo.
A style guide template can help you achieve consistency across your marketing efforts that will protect your brand identity and ensure customers know who they are interacting with.
If your've never created a brand style guide, you may struggle with inconsistency. Setting up a style guide template can help you, other writers and team members ensure consistency.
Here’s everything you need to know about setting up a style guide template, along with some examples that will show how this works.
What is a Style Guide Template?
Before you can create one, you must understand what a style guide template is. A style guide template is a reference you provide your marketers and designers that outlines your color palette, typography, spacing, fonts, imagery and icons.
A style guide is usually a simple document that you can easily pass on to your design team. It highlights the most important components of your brand’s style and brand image.
Why Create a Style Guide?
When you’re building your online presence, you will have several people working on it. Writers, web designers, social media marketers and other professionals will all need to be on the same page to create consistent products that capture your brand perfectly.
With a style guide, you can help your team work more efficiently, because they know exactly what colors, fonts and styles your brand uses. This means finalizing the perfect design far more quickly.
Step-by-Step Guide to Create a Style Guide
Creating a style guide for your personal brand isn't difficult Here’s what you need to do:
1. Know Your Brand
Before you start, get to know your brand. Are you funny and whimsical, or serious and to-the-point? How does your brand identity translate into color and font choices?
To get to know your brand, consider evaluating your brand assets and brand values. Those features that make your organization unique should be part of your company’s own style guide or brand manual.
Organize your thoughts and ideas into a brand book that will guide the development of your style guide template.
2. Decide How Your Logo Works with Your Style Guide
You have a logo that you spent a long time creating. Your style guide will outline how it is used. This includes spacing, placement, font, colors, grid and even backgrounds.
Using your logo the same way across all of your marketing platforms is critical for brand consistency, so make this a key focus of your style guide.
Check out our guide to creating a personal logo.
3. Create a Color Palette
Work with design professionals who understand color theory to design a color palette. First, choose three or fewer primary colors. Then, add secondary, tertiary and neutral colors that complement them well.
Once you have the colors determined, label them with their technical values. Hex and RGB color numbers help designers land on the ideal hue, even if screens are calibrated differently.
A design app like Canva is great for this.
4. Define Your Fonts, Typography and Icon Rules
Font families play a role in not only how easy your website is to read, but also in protecting your brand identity. Define font families and sizes for all of your headings as well as your main text. Keep this consistent across your online platforms.
When setting font sizes, label them in pixels and keep them progressive so designers can easily find them. This means using the even-numbered sizes, such as 14px or 18px.
Similarly, set rules for icons, including sizes, potential icon fonts, colors and filling vs. outline only.
5. Establish Rules for Spacing and Layout
The structure of pages on your website can be part of your style guide template. By defining these things in your template, you can more easily add pages to your website at a later date and ensure they look consistent.
6. Lay out Rules for Images
Images make or break a website, and your images need to fit your brand image. You can label your preferences for everything from the color scheme to contrast and brightness to make sure that the images purchased or shot for your website are not confusing with the overall message of your brand.
When creating rules for images, make sure to touch on the tone of the images. For some brands, candid photographs are better, while other brands need professionally shot images.
7. Plan for Navigation and Layout
The navigation tabs and the overall layout of your website should be part of your branding guidelines. These design elements are critical parts of your graphic design, but they also contribute to the look and feel of your site. They make it user friendly while also fitting with your brand identity.
8. Define Your Brand Voice
Finally, define a voice for your brand. Are you friendly and approachable, serious and professional, or minimalist?
This definition will spur your copywriters and graphic design team to create content that matches your overarching style. With a clearly defined brand voice, you can be confident that every piece of content or messaging that goes out from your company remains consistent with your brand values.
Examples of Brand Style Guides
Sometimes, seeing examples makes it easier to define your goals and style. Some sites have done a very good job of branding across their web platforms because they have clear style guide templates. Here are some style guides worth looking closer at as you choose what will be part of yours:
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner outlines everything involved in its online presence in this clearly presented style guide.
- Uber – The ride-sharing giant uses its style guide to tell a story and clearly defines the elements of its style.
- Firefox – From brand colors to personality, Firefox outlines the details about its brand for all to see.
- Fisher-Price – The iconic font of Fisher-Price is easily identified by even the youngest consumers, and this brand style guide shows how it is used with a whimsical color palette to appeal to kids and parents.
The Final Word on a Style Guide Template
Your brand’s digital elements need to stay consistent with a brand identity. Having a clear brand style guide template you can give to all creatives that serve your organization makes that happen. While creating the guideline may take time and creativity, the end result is a guide that helps maintain consistency anywhere your brand’s image is on display.
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