What Is a Style Guide?

 
 

Our definition: A visual blueprint of your brand’s look and feel

Official definition: “A style guide (or manual of style) is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization, or field” (Wikipedia).

Origins: Style manuals have been used for consumer publications (like The New York Times Manual) and academic writing (like the AP Stylebook) since the ’50s. A “style guide” can technically mean anything from a brief style sheet for a website to a 600-page style manual.

A style guide is not:

  • Born out of thin air. As part of the expression of your brand’s identity, the style guide needs to be developed in conjunction with a brand profile. Both should be based on a deep understanding of your business, target market, and competitors.

  • Set in stone. Style guides can be updated over the life of your brand, especially during a rebranding process. But make sure to reflect those changes across all your communications and materials.

  • A suggestion. Would you live in a house whose blueprints were tampered with? Make sure your style guide informs your design decisions, or your brand might start to resemble a demolition zone.