Creating websites is becoming increasingly complex, and it is rarely a one-person job. It is critical to ensure that design is consistent and optimized to meet business objectives while providing enjoyable user experiences. Creating design documentation or a web design style guide is one way to ensure that the team is on the same page when designing separate parts of the website or saving designs from developers. Style guides for web design help create a consistent experience across multiple pages. It also helps to ensure that future development or third-party production adheres to brand guidelines and is perceived as an extension of the overall brand.
What is a Style Guide for Web Design?
Before we get into the specifics of how to create a web design style guide, let's first define what they are. A web design style guide is a page on your website that describes everything that goes into creating a new page or blog post on the rest of your site. Branded graphics, logos, fonts and font sizes, text and background colors, and anything else related to site updates and content creation are all included. This is especially important if multiple designers or developers are working on your website. This keeps everyone on the same page. Furthermore, it streamlines development because you can use this style guide to create new content faster and more efficiently.
How to Create a Web Design Style Guide?
We've already talked about style guides for web design and why you should have one for your website. Next, let's go over all of the steps you'll need to take when you design a style guide for website.
1. Research Your Brand
Image is taken from Strikingly user’s website
First, familiarize yourself with your brand and target audience. As a starting point, you could make a mood board. Your objective is to go over your core values and translate them into a visual language, collecting any assets and components that define it along the way.
It's a good idea to include your brand's values and mission in your style guide as a reference point.
2. Establish Your Logo Usage Guidelines
The following step when you design a style guide for website is to establish guidelines for using your logo in all of its variations. If your team includes a graphic or brand designer, you should consult about any relevant guidelines that may already exist. These may include your logo's grid, font, colors, proper spacing and placement, appearance on various backgrounds, and more. In addition, include dos and don'ts for third-party logo usage, such as affiliates.
3. Establish Your Color Scheme
Image is taken from Strikingly user’s website
Color influences how your website and brand are perceived and remembered. As a result, make sure to define your essential primary colors, which should be a maximum of three. You'll also need secondary, tertiary, and neutral colors to round out your color palette. Furthermore, you must present these colors in your web design style guide using their visual appearance and technical values. For example, when you add 'blue,' you'll also include its RGB and Hex number equivalents. A lot goes into selecting the right color palette for your brand. To be successful in this field, you'll need to become acquainted with the key terms and learn more about Color Theory.
4. Create Typography Rules
Typography, like color, is an essential component for web design style guide. Create a typography hierarchy in your style guide to ensure yours is appealing and consistent throughout your website. First, include the font families and sizes for your main headings, H1-H6: In addition to headings, you should include styles for running (body) text, forms, alert messages, and other elements. Font families (groups of fonts like Roboto, Lato, or Montserrat) and sizes will be included in these styles. Font sizes should be specified in pixels (px) and consistent across elements. You'll also want to please your developers by sticking to progressive sizes like 14px, 16px, 18px, or 20px and avoiding intermediate sizes like 15px.
5. Set Layout and Spacing Rules
The layout, grid, and spacing rules are also important components of a web design style guide, and the majority of them can be implemented using HTML and CSS. These will determine how your pages are organized. To begin, create some basic templates for your main layouts. This will make future expansions and additions to your website much easier.
6. Think About Icon Style
Iconography is another important stylistic choice when you design a style guide for website and you should establish some ground rules for its use. This includes deciding whether to use a ready-made icon library like Font Awesome or your own custom icons and the style of the icons — colored vs. monochromatic, filled vs. outline, etc. You'll also want to include the main icon sizes that should be used, just like you did with your fonts. Keep in mind that certain icon grids or rules about how to create the graphics may be required when creating custom icons.
7. Establish Illustration and Imagery Guidelines
You may be tempted to create custom illustrations to add uniqueness to your site and its branding. This can give your website a distinct appearance and voice. You should include style and color references for the illustrations you use. You may also need to establish some strict rules and guidelines for the types of images used on your website. You could, for example, include some dos and don'ts for incorporating stock photos. In addition, to ensure that the images on your website are visually consistent, you could include photo editing preferences for backgrounds, filters, brightness, contrast, and other factors. It's also essential to specify the overall tone and message that the images should convey. For example, your personal taste may lean toward candid photography rather than overly-edited images. Perhaps you prefer specific backgrounds over others. Throughout this process, keep your target audience's preferences in mind.
8. Outline Stylistic Considerations for the Primary Website Components
Once you've established your basic style definitions, it's time to incorporate your main website components into your web design style guide. These include the appearance, sizes, and states of buttons, form fields, form elements, navigation menus, notifications and alerts, cards, modals, and other elements. You could go a step further for each button type by including its various states, such as regular, hover, active, or focused. Styles for form elements such as radio buttons and checkboxes should also be defined.
9. Create Your Brand's Tone of Voice
Image is taken from Strikingly user’s website
An effective web design style guide addresses the appearance of your site and its messaging and voice. You may need to consult with marketers and copywriters to create guidelines for your website and other content to put these into writing. After all, the tone and voice of your website's copy are how you address visitors and potential clients, so it's critical to get it right.
10. Include specific Dos and Don'ts
The concepts in your web design style guide may be difficult to explain with text alone at times. This is why it's often preferable to use concrete examples – such as visual dos and don'ts – to demonstrate how the rules defined in the document are actually implemented. Clear examples effectively communicate how the style guide should be used in practice.
11. Don't Forget About Downloadable Assets!
Aside from the rules in your style guide, it may be necessary to include some downloadable assets on occasion. This could include:
- Your logo in all formats suitable for web and print
- A press kit containing all necessary brand materials
- A brief representation of your brand book
- A PDF version of the style guide for website
These resources can be used for a variety of purposes, such as collaborating with affiliates, converting leads, onboarding new team members, and more. While a web design style guide is necessary for internal purposes, it is also critical for brand recognition among users, clients, affiliates, the press, and the general public. If you believe your brand will be represented outside of your website, such as in press publications, make sure brand assets are easy to request and obtain.
Create a Website with Strikingly
Image is taken from Strikingly
Strikingly's website builder has everything you need to create a professional website that can compete with the overwhelming competition of web designs. You can use our predesigned templates, but you can also start from scratch and apply what you've learned here. Our website editor includes a drag-and-drop feature that allows you to easily move items around on your website. You can either upload your images from your computer or browse for the file you want to link. You don't need to know anything about website design to use Strikingly; simply click and edit your site. Finally, in a matter of minutes, you'll be able to publish it. Consider managing and promoting your company's website using our mobile app features and responding to customer inquiries via a chatbox. Of course, we have many beautifully designed websites created by our users. Right now, visit our landing page, and our expert team will welcome you home.
The web design style guide and living style guides have aided in the organization and focus of the workflow. They assist in identifying interface inconsistencies and remind me that interfaces are flexible design systems during the design phase. They aid in reducing errors and speeding up the handover during the transition from design to development. A web design style guide can be seamlessly integrated into HTML and CSS during the development phase because they share major principles with front-end guidelines and component-based CSS structures. Updates and redesigns are made as simple and manageable as possible using living style guides. Hopefully, a style guide workflow can help you, but there are a thousand ways to approach a project in web and design. If you've discovered a workflow that works for you, stick with it!