Web designers have a passion for making websites look beautiful and aesthetic. Their ultimate goal is to please the end user with stunning visuals and simple navigation. However, designing a website is a complex project. With the result, you must ensure the final product is cohesive, following the same visual language throughout.
Yet, so many elements come together to create a final design for a website. It can be easy to lose track of what you should incorporate. That’s where a web style guide comes into play. A web style guide is a simple solution many web designers use to visualize a website. Here is a simple guide for how to create one and the benefits you receive from it.
What Is a Web Style Guide?
A web style guide is a visual tool web designers use to maintain brand and design consistency across a website. By creating a cohesive look for your brand’s website, you create a professional first impression. The website has a structure in a way that’s easy to understand and navigate. Plus, your website becomes more memorable and easily recognizable to users when they get a first look.
Additionally, a web style guide gives your design team a reference. Everyone can look back at it to ensure they’re all communicating consistently. That way, their vision aligns with the design goals of the project.
For a website design, this means every page should adhere to the same style. Every piece of content should also reflect the tone and style of the brand.
Website style guides make it easier for collaborators to stay within the guidelines. It’s like an instruction sheet for your design team, so they can refer back to it as needed.
The Benefits of Using a Web Style Guide
When designing a website, a style guide is perfect for following the rules of the brand’s style. Incorporating one into your design process enables transparency, as it creates a standard for everyone across the board. Additionally, it keeps your elements organized, so you have all your components in one place when referring back to your style guide.
In website design, a finished project will typically require edits and various corrections. You may also need to add or subtract certain elements from the finalized design. Additionally, you may have other team members who are working on the same design as you. In this case, a web style guide makes it easy for other designers to pick up where you left off.
With the help of a style guide, team members immediately know what to work on, especially within a bigger design project and team. Therefore, decisions are much easier to make, streamlining the overall design process.
The Steps to Creating a Web Style Guide
You know what a web style guide is and the benefits of creating it. Now, let’s look further at the steps to creating one.
1. Know Your Client
Before you start deciding what to include in your style guide, it’s always essential to know your client first. This part of the process is crucial, as it sets the tone for the style your client is looking for on their website.
Start understanding who your client is by gathering information on the company’s operations, its clients, vision, mission and services or products it offers. It is especially crucial to understand the potential buyers the company serves. The goal of the website is to serve a purpose, so you want to be sure you offer a great experience for users.
When creating your style guide, keep in mind the client you’re serving and their customer base. Establishing a balance between the two will give you a good base for considering the client’s desires and the user experience.
Once you learn everything about your client, the next step is choosing colors to incorporate into your style guide. Begin by selecting the primary and secondary colors for your client’s brand. The primary colors are the main colors that define the client’s brand. Secondary colors represent those that you use for highlighting and contrast.
A typical color palette includes two to three colors within the set. Therefore, you can also choose tertiary or neutral colors to complete your color palette.
When placing colors on your style guide, remember that you should always test various combinations to ensure they are accessible. That way, everyone will see the site clearly, and you can guarantee a better user experience.
Your typography should be consistent across your website’s design and the brand’s materials. In a style guide, this will include the fonts you’ll use, the spacing and the typography hierarchy. A hierarchy will consist of website elements, such as h1, h2, h3 headings, body copy and links, playing a role in guiding the reader throughout the page.
Additionally, you should determine other things like the font size. Compare the body text to different sizes to see which offers the best readability. You should also keep in mind the line height, paragraphs and the color of the text.
Furthermore, the style guide should include how the brand uses bold lettering, italics and quotes. These outlines are crucial for ensuring they fit well across all screen sizes.
4. Graphics and Icons
Icons and graphics are another part of the style guide that requires a set of basic rules for usage. This will include how the icons will look. Will they have a color or be neutral? Should they be filled or lined?
Moreover, it’s essential to consider the types of hover effects they’ll have when a user moves their cursor on the element. Like fonts on a style guide, ensure you include the icon sizes you’ll use on the website. It may also be helpful to have rules or grids for how you’ll create the graphics.
With so many types of photos available, you’ll have to be careful about the styles you choose for your images. Pictures can have certain filters, backgrounds or a gradient look. They can even contain text. That’s why selecting a few examples of the types of photos you want for the website is important.
Additionally, you should have guidelines for the sizes of the images you want to use. Consider the height and width of your photo and ensure it maintains a balance alongside all other site components.
6. Layout and Spacing
Another important part of your style guide should incorporate rules for the layout and spacing. You can use a baseline grid to help you determine where to place the content. It’s an easy way to ensure your design maintains consistency throughout the project.
A grid is a structure used to formulate the placement of items on a website page. It utilizes various rows and columns for designers to make arrangements of the elements in a consistent manner.
To determine your website’s grid, you can use design tools like Figma or Sketch, which have built-in layouts of grids to customize. The screen size you choose for your grid will depend on the content you place on the website.
Create Your Own Web Style Guide
Web style guides are necessary for you and your design team. They help you keep track of the essential elements for your next project. Plus, they become a handy reference point when making design decisions and keeping everyone organized.
Remember, a style guide is just as it is — a visual tool that sets the standard designs for your website. However, certain elements may change throughout the process, so update your style guide if you encounter any changes.