What is a Style Guide and Why is it Important for Startups?
In a simple definition, a style guide is a set of standards for writing, formatting, and brand design. All of the crucial principles for your brand's identity and voice should be included in a style guide, in short, sometimes called a style sheet. It doesn’t matter if you have a startup, a small or large company, a thorough style guide is a must-have on the modern market.
- The Logo and Derivatives - Here you want to include Logo with its corresponding color formats for web and print, including instructions on how to work with the logo; minimum size, and size in relation to other assets on the site or app and elements. The goal is to maintain the integrity of a brand’s visual identity and not to damage it by distorting its image, consistency is the key.
- Web Styles - Mainly prepared for the developers in order to help them follow guidelines to keep consistency across multiple web pages or screens. These can be buttons, forms, grids, icons, and colors. A core color palette means a group of colors that are used throughout your branding, they can be split into primary colors, secondary or accent colors, and neutrals.
- Typefaces - A typeface or it should be “Typography” is usually a font style guide used in your brand’s logo and marketing materials. A font could have different sizes, weights, and unique curvatures, a typeface should also include any web-safe alternatives to it.
- Imagery - Optional - Types of imagery to correspond with your brand “feel. Example: LinkedIn in their style guide uses “photos capture real people in the real world of work.”
In the chapter “Examples of the Best Startup Style Guides from Around the World” below you will find the best examples. We strongly recommend opening each and familiarising yourself with what a good Style Guide looks like.
How to Create an Effective Style Guide for Your Company
Except for the more visual part of work on creating a Style Guide, we need to first rethink what’s “behind” your brand.
The elements that go into a style guide:
- Audience - Know your audience, who are they trying to engage with and why are they going to listen. The best is to use your business buyer personas and customer segmentation that you could have prepared with the Business Model Canva while thinking and preparing your business idea. If you don’t have it, here’s the part in which we need to prepare them.
- Mission and Values - What’s your business mission? What values do you want to broadcast to the world and your potential customers? State it, and ask why your business should follow those.
- Voice and Tone - How do you want to express your identity to your audience? In what way the communication should be kept and conducted on your site or in the marketing materials? Voice and its tone help convey your message both externally and internally.
- Competitors and Differentiators - One of the most important parts of your new brand identity and style guide. The need to know your competitors’ brands and their identities is essential at least on the baseline level. It helps you maintain your unique value proposition and differentiate your brand identity from competitors in order to share what makes your business unique.
Examples of the Best Startup Style Guides from Around the World
In this chapter we've selected the most popular and famous style guide examples from all over the web and market, most of them are startups that became global companies.
Conclusion: Start Building Your Own Style Guide - Brand Book
For your brand identity to remain consistent, recognizable, and ownable even when several individuals create material for it, you must have a style guide. It's crucial to take the time and invest the money necessary to get a style guide correct since it establishes the rules for sustaining a brand's identity. In the future, the style guide aids everyone engaged in the design process in maximizing productivity and reducing tiresome activities like locating "this precise color" or "that exact button type" to utilize for particular parts.
A style guide may also be used as a guide for choosing the best options for the next designs. You've already established the guidelines for how to utilize some features, so you won't need to think too hard about how to use them. This saves time and eases concern regarding the accuracy of the outcome. Also, making your style guide accessible to the general public might be a good strategy to raise brand recognition, as you saw in the examples above even the biggest follow that rule.
We can definitely help you with preparing your company style guide, check out our Product Brand Book service - https://www.atenbi.com/product-brand-book
Extra: If you are looking for more inspiration please see the link to find all the style guides in one place: http://styleguides.io/