What is a Style Guide?
I’ve mentioned Style Guides briefly in “Things to ask a designer when getting your logo designed” but I thought I would go into a bit more depth about them.
So, what is a style guide?
Basically, it’s a cheat sheet about your branding, with an overall rundown of your logo, logo variants, fonts used, brand colours and any other design elements you may have received.
It will have copies of all the logo variants that have been designed for you. These may include:
- With tagline
This enables you to see which orientation/design is best for the space you need to use your logo. For example, a long skinny space down the side of a page may not suit your horizontal logo; or a tiny social media profile image may look better with an icon than your horizontal logo. Or the use of a white logo on a dark background, so that your logo doesn’t blend into the background, as you can see below.
There may also be information about the minimum size your logo can be reproduced or even the white space around it. To ensure that it is always recognisable as your logo.
The fonts listed on your style guide may be those used in your logo, it may also include alternate fonts to use for headings or body copy (aka paragraphs of text). The reason that alternatives are suggested is that your logo may have been designed using a custom or premium paid font. Or your designer may have felt that the contrast in fonts works well for you brand voice.
Whatever is listed you want to be consistent in your font use across all materials you make for your brand, If you don’t like or have access to the fonts listed in your style guide ask your designer to suggest an alternative that you are able to access, so that you can be consistent with the font use across your materials.
These are the colours that help define your brand. Consistent use of colours will enhance your brand recognition.
There are businesses that I know where I can recognise their social posts at a quick glance from the colour/style before I see who posted them.
Generally, colours will be limited to 2-3 and will be listed with CMYK, HEX codes and RGB values; this makes it easy to be consistent with your colours across both printed and digital platforms. To learn more about these colour formats see the blog post ‘Colour Formats’ which explains them for you.
Depending on your logo or branding package there may be other design elements included in your style guide, like illustrations or graphics, textures, patterns etc. They will be listed in this section, with details of how and when to use them. This section may also discuss photo styles or overlay elements for use on imagery that is being created for your business.
Overall a Style Guide helps with brand consistency. Print it out and keep it in a handy spot so you can easily reference it when working on materials for your business. It also helps if you use another designer in the future as they know what your brand fonts and colours are without having to ask.
Basically, a style guide is your brand bible, everything you create for your business should meet the design style included in it.
Do you have a style guide for your brand?
No, chat to me and we can create one for your brand in a visual brand review.
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With quotes to make you think and 'Design Talk' snippets of graphic design tips and tricks as well as stories behind the designs for both branding and surface pattern projects.