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A web design style guide is similar to a branding style guide, but instead of your brand's logo and other elements, a style guide for websites contains information about your site's design.

The designer puts together a website style guide for websites while they're designing your site. It includes the primary colors of your site, font types and sizes, buttons and hover effects, etc.

Why is a web design style guide critical? You can follow a consistent color and design scheme whenever you need to redesign your site or add new web pages. Consistent website design is essential for your brand to look professional and credible.

Numerous complicated steps go into creating style guides for web design. But you don’t have to worry because below we’ve explained all the steps to design a style guide for websites in simple terms.

Benefits of a Web Design Style Guide

A style guide for websites benefits the brand and graphic designers by increasing their efficiency and reducing tedious tasks. Since a web design style guide has every rule defined, your graphic designer will save time finding the exact color or styles when making a few modifications to your site.

Publicly available web design style guides with downloadable information can be helpful for your clients or affiliates. They can also benefit the press when they want to publish information about your company.

Moreover, a web design style guide can enhance your tech team's performance by keeping everyone on the same page about your site's style.

Getting Started with the Web Design Style Guide

A web design style guide contains branding element information in the beginning, such as logos, slogans, logo lockups, etc.

Before creating the style guide, ensure you've studied your brand and target audience in and out. Aim to learn your brand's values and personality, then deliver it through the visual elements of your website.

Once done with your research, follow these steps to create a web design style guide.

1. Define Rules for the Logo

This part of your website will require you to consult a brand or graphic designer on the team. You can ask them if they have any specific rules for the logo.

Here you will include information about your logo's colors, font (size and style), spacing and placement of elements, grid, the appearance of details on different backgrounds, etc. Remember to include usage regulations for affiliates (what they can and cannot do).

2. Determine the Color Palette

heaven shakes homepage

Image taken from Strikingly’s user’s website

The color palette is one of the most vital elements of your website. If you get the color palette wrong, it can result in losing visitors. If you've ever been to a website that displays poor color combinations, you would already know what your audience will think of your brand if your color palette isn't up to the mark.

Moreover, wrong color choices for your site's design make your site look unprofessional and unethical.

Your website's color palette will introduce your brand's personality and purpose to the audience. Every color reflects meaning and serves a purpose. It tells the audience your brand's niche. For example, green means nature.

For your website's color palette, you would want to choose colors that match your brand's personality and already existing elements, such as the logo.

A color palette consists of primary, secondary, tertiary, and neutral colors. Note that you can choose a maximum of three primary colors.

When choosing colors for your buttons, wallpapers, etc., bring in color psychology. Humans are visual beings, and by selecting colors following color psychology, you can decide how they react to some aspects of your website.

Another tip to ensure you end up with the right color combo is to create a contrast of light and dark colors.

Once you're done choosing text and background colors, ensure to match them with each other to see whether your text will be easily readable.

Lastly, include your chosen colors' visual appearance and technical values in your color palette. For instance, when including red, you must mention its RGB and hex codes. This step is essential because when other designers want to use the same color, they can simply select using the hex code instead of going through the tedious matching process.

3. Define Typography Rules

smuk's about use page

Image taken from Strikingly’s user’s website

Typography rules are an essential part of a style guide for websites because they determine the visual hierarchy of your website's content. Visual hierarchy refers to design elements in a way that they only get as much attention as they should. For instance, text sized 100px will attract the user's attention before text sized 20px.

Start by determining the font sizes and families for your headings from H1 to H6. However, it's unnecessary to include all the titles until H6 on your website. It depends upon you and your website's text.

Next, determine your body text, alert messages, and forms' font families and sizes. You must define font sizes in pixels (px).

When choosing font families and sizes, consider readability as the critical factor. Less important text can have a font family with low readability, but the crucial text must get the font family with the highest readability.

Now, you would want to determine line and character spacing, what your anchor text will look like, paragraphs, emphasized parts of the text, etc.

4. Set the Grid

In the style guides for web design, a grid determines the spacing and organization of your website's elements, such as images, videos, text, and more. Grids protect your website from inconsistent and lousy layouts, which might drive your audience away.

To make adding new pages to your website more accessible in the future, you create templates for your site's primary layout.

5. Define Rules for Icons

Here is a list of some things you will include about icons in your style guide for websites:

  • Will you be using an already-created icon library or a custom one?
  • Will the icons be colored or monochromatic?
  • Will your icons be color-filled or outlined?
  • What should be the size of your icons?
  • If using custom-made icons, ensure you define the rules about creating them (spacing, placement, etc.).

6. Do's and Don’ts for Custom Illustrations and Images

image gallery from Whitfield Six

Image taken from Strikingly’s user’s website

If you're convinced to curate some illustrations for your website to give it a sense of uniqueness, you must include rules for it in your web design style guide. You will be including the color preferences and what kinds of illustrations to include (three-dimensional, two-dimensional, outline, pencil sketch, watercolors, etc.).

For images, you will be including the guidelines for brightness, contrast, sharpness, filters, etc. You can also set rules for what kind of images should be used. For instance, you can prohibit stock photos or determine the regulations to decide which ones can be used and which cannot. We recommend avoiding using stock images because they steal that element of uniqueness from your website's appearance. And almost everyone can spot a stock photo when they see one.

Another thing to include is the tone of your images. For example, should the photos be candid, posed for, heavily edited, etc.?

7. Outline the Rules for Buttons and Other Components' Designs

Lastly, your web design style guide will contain the rules buttons, form fields, navigation menus, and other additional elements.

For buttons, you must include colors, sizes, and states, for example, hover, active, regular, focused, etc.

Next come the form elements. Define the style for each form element, like checkboxes, radio buttons, sliders, and more.

Design and Create Your Website Without Any Hassle

When you have zero coding experience, join hands with a website builder to build your website. We know you can get it done without moving a finger by hiring a developer. But they cost a lot. And specifically for the companies that just started trading, spending that much money seems complicated.

strikingly landing page

Image taken from Strikingly

If you're convinced to use a website builder, which one should you go for? Strikingly. Why? It is ridiculously easy to use and offers 24/7 customer support through live chat and emails, so you don't have to stop your website-building process when stuck in a problem.

Strikingly offers its users more than 200 modifiable free website templates. All you need to do is edit them in the intuitive site editor according to your brand's requirements, and your website will be ready to be published.

Strikingly puts forward extensive customization options, from changing background images and the layout of a section to creating personalized sections and incorporating custom elements.

Your website's design represents your brand's personality visually. Therefore, ensuring it aligns with your brand's components is essential.

Remember to keep your style guide updated. With technologies and trends evolving rapidly, your brand might make a few modifications to its components in the future. Ensure you align your site's design with the latest elements of your brand and update your web design style guide accordingly.

Now that you've learned how to create a web design style guide, start with your process today. And whenever in doubt about your web design style guide missing essential components, you can refer to Alibaba's Ant Design or Google's Material Design.