The Importance Of a Style Guide For Your Business
When we talk about the design process, how a website is made and ultimately how to benefit your business from a visual standpoint, it almost always (I mean, always!) starts with a style guide. But when the idea came to my head to do this post, I realized I haven’t really discussed what a style guide is exactly and why you need one.
I know you understand—making sure your brand is cohesive from signage (if you have a storefront) to business cards to your Instagram feed can feel intimidating, hard and downright difficult. So what if I told you all of those documents, emails and colors somewhere in your inbox that you keep forgetting about could be put into one “thing” that actually improves productivity for your brand and decreases communication (in a good way)? It’s called a…drum roll,. please…
We’ve talked about moodboards and branding before over here at the Busy Bee, but the message is really the same. The more you can visually show yourself, third parties you hire, or employees what your brand is about, the more cohesive everything will be. A style guide is literally the compilation of all of your branding essentials, such as fonts, colors, images, icons and patterns. It’s a document that you can share with employees and hired help (like, ahem, maybe your website designer 😉) that helps them understand your business and support you appropriately as you grow and establish yourself.
It’s important to note that you are not a failure as a business owner if you don’t have the perfect style guide. You’re still killin’ it out there, boo!
That said, if you’re ready to get started on one, it could truly decrease the work and communication you have between different parties and keep things cohesive without even touching the “comment” button on that Google doc. Having a style guide makes everything easier for anyone who is associating with your business, including your customers!
3 things to know before you create a style guide:
This document could range anywhere from 1 page to several.
The more pages you have in your style guide do not necessarily make a style guide better; sometimes a one-pager is more than enough. But, if you have several categories or subsets of your business, a more detailed guide will come in handy.
You can do it alone, but a designer may truly be a great investment in this process.
Even if you use free design software or do a lot of those Instagram quote templates yourself, someone who specializes in branding will make your life way easier in the long run. Invest in the guide now, and you can continue owning whatever you want going forward while cutting down on time.
This will literally benefit everyone who associates with your business.
Yes, even your accountant (okay, maybe not, but he will recognize your logo at the top of your documents!) Whether you’re a business owner, designer, social media manager, PR consultant, or a person handing out flyers on the street—keeping everything cohesive will elevate your business 10-fold.
My biggest piece of advice for a style guide is to not get too overwhelmed and know it will come in waves. It will take some upfront time to create it but it will benefit you over and over. Be patient, dig from within and communicate how you want to portray your brand and your designer will make magic happen!