The 6 components of a scalable style guide that you need for communicating your brand’s unique identity and business goals.
A style guide is often seen as little more than a reference tool designers or design teams use when creating assets. As a document, or set of documents, the guidelines and standards of visual design elements, such as typography, color, iconography, buttons, forms, and grid systems provide countless design efficiencies. That being said, people often overlook the key elements of a style guide that ensure scalability.
Over the years, we have found that our clients typically take one of two approaches to their style guides – the “document-as-you-go” method, and the “built-it-before-it-comes” method. Needless to say, one of those methods creates more problems than they solve. Here at Amp Agency, our approach is the latter of the two. This is because the challenge with creating style guidelines only when you are in need of elements is that it often overlooks other existing visual elements. This leaves designers and consumers of your brand unsure of the essence and consistency of your visual language. By taking the time to develop these guides, you decouple design decisions from real-time/urgent needs and obligations that often result in “good enough for now” solutions that cannot scale.
Another reason we feel that a well developed style guide is an invaluable tool to have in your marketing toolkit is that it provides a foundation for business growth. Modern rapid business growth strategy is completed through acquisitions, mergers, and partner affiliations. When integrating with other established entities, it is important to know the details of your organization's brand and brand values, in order to clearly identify the similarities and differences with your new partners. This provides the integrating groups common guidelines to communicate around and through, and they allow consumers to feel grounded when interacting with you afterwards.
The 6 Components of a Scalable Style Guide
Typography: The typography section of a style guide should include font families, font weights, and font sizes. It should also provide guidance on when and how to use each font family and weight. For example, a style guide might specify that headings should use a bold sans-serif font while body text should use a lighter serif font. The typography section should also include information on line height, letter spacing, and other typographic details.
Color: The color section of a style guide should include a color palette and guidance on when and how to use each color. It should also provide guidance on color combinations and contrast. The color palette should be selected to reflect the client's brand identity and should be consistent across all design elements.
Iconography: The iconography section of a style guide should include guidelines on when and how to use icons. It should also provide guidance on the visual style of the icons, such as their size, shape, and color. The icons should be consistent with the client's brand identity and should be used sparingly to avoid visual clutter.
Buttons: The buttons section of a style guide should include guidance on the visual style of buttons, such as their size, shape, and color. It should also provide guidance on when and how to use buttons in the design. For example, a style guide might specify that buttons should be used for primary calls to action, while links should be used for secondary calls to action.
Forms: The forms section of a style guide should include guidance on the visual style of forms, such as their size, shape, and color. It should also provide guidance on how to style form elements, such as input fields, checkboxes, and radio buttons. The forms should be consistent with the client's brand identity and should be designed to be easy to use and understand.
Grid Systems: The grid systems section of a style guide should include guidance on how to create layouts using a grid system. It should provide guidance on the number of columns, the width of each column, and the spacing between columns. The grid system should be designed to be flexible enough to accommodate a range of design elements while still maintaining consistency across all layouts.
Here at Amp Agency, we know your brand identity is unique and deserves a custom style guide that reflects your individuality. Comprehensive style guides provide your designers and design teams clear guidelines and standards for each design element to ensure consistency, and they preserve your brand's equity as you grow your business.
To learn more about Amp Agency’s UX Consulting & Design services, and optimize your brand’s equity, please reach out to us via our Contact Us form. Additionally, you can read about our entire suite of Experience Design and Website Development capabilities on our Services page.