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How To Create a Web Design Style Guide



How To Create a Web Design Style Guide

Creating websites is getting more and more complex and is usually not a one person job. It is important to ensure that design is consistent and optimized to meet business objectives and create enjoyable experiences for users.

One of the ways to ensure that team is on the same page when designing separate parts of the website or saving designs from developers is to create design documentation or a web design style guide.

Whether you’re overseeing the marketing efforts in a large B2B organization or running a startup, a style guide should be an integral component of your marketing strategy.

What is a Style Guide?

A style guide is a document that provides guidelines for the way your brand should be presented from both a graphic and language perspective. The purpose of a style guide is to make sure that multiple contributors create in a clear and cohesive way that reflects the corporate style and ensures brand consistency with everything from design to writing.

Why Is It Important?

A key benefit of any style guide for your organization is that it creates cohesion among marketers in your business. If you were to leave up the visual representation of your organization open to individual interpretation, chances are you would get a very mixed bag of results. A guide will create cohesion, direction and clarity for all marketing decisions in your organization. A visual style guide will help the creation and upkeep of your website, look and voice of your social media accounts and much more from blogs to ads.

Website Style Guide Essentials

The following items are just a few examples of the various formats and information you can choose to include in your brand style guide.
Define and give examples of your logo. Show how your logo should be used in various formats including full color, black and white, transparent, or on different backgrounds. You should also provide logo files for users in .png, .jpg and vector-based formats. If you have a tagline, make sure there are rules around placement, font, color and size in relationship to the logo.

Color Palette
Provide HEX and RBG color values for each color in your palette. Include recommended color combinations. Many brands have primary and secondary color palettes to define the main colors to be used and accent colors.

Define the font families, sizes, kerning, line spacing, colors for various content types; header, sub-head, paragraph, cite, block quote, labels, form headers or any other formatted text that will be used.

Define where and how HTML and other elements are positioned on the page and how they relate to each other. Define margins, padding, gutters or grid patterns of the overall layout as well as any specific elements if different. If necessary, provide examples of the layout to show the differences in pages or layout templates, such as landing pages, product pages and email communications.
Links and Buttons
Define the colors and styles for all links and buttons that will be used. Show examples and hex values for content links, sidebar link styles, submit buttons, form buttons, info buttons or any other link or button.

Define the main and sub navigation styles as well as the interactivity of them. Define what happens when nested or parent/child navigation is used.
Visual Hierarchy

Define and show examples of how headers, images, titles, paragraphs and other elements relate to each other on the page. Provide examples that define the visual hierarchy you should achieve. You can even provide a rationale of why this hierarchy is important to the look and feel of the site.

Graphics and Icons
Define what type, sizes, file sizes, dimensions, and styles should be used for graphics and icons on your site. Do you have specific icon sets that need to be used? Show examples or have a library of graphics and icons prepared for usage. In a perfect world, your graphic designer can customize or design icons for you. That way you won’t have generic looking icons.

Imagery / Photography
Photography usage is one of the most prominent components of communications. So many brands are cheapened by the usage of mediocre or unsupportive stock art or inconsistent photo usage. Define the style for use of imagery. Would you want them to be all soft focus? Is it ok to show people’s faces? Real people or stock images? Black and white or color? What kinds of people represent your target demographic? What should these people be doing? Some companies even define the type of dogs to be used based on their market research. Build a photo library and make sure to have the usage rights to all the images you use.

If you need help building a style guide or with your marketing strategy, contact First Point Web Design today! Be sure to like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest marketing tips and trends.

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