Creating a style guide for your graphic design projects is an essential part of the creative process. A style guide will help to ensure that all of your designs are cohesive and on-brand, and it will also make it easier for other people to understand and use your designs.
In this article, we will discuss the basics of creating a style guide for your graphic design projects.
1. Define Your Brand
Developing a brand style guide can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by defining your brand. What is your brand’s mission? What are your core values? What does your target audience look like? Once you have answers to these questions, you can start to develop a visual identity for your brand.
This includes deciding on things like colors, fonts, and imagery. It’s also important to establish guidelines for the tone and voice you want to use in your communications. Once you have a set of guidelines, make sure to communicate them to everyone who is involved in creating or distributing content for your brand.
By taking the time to develop a brand style guide, you’ll ensure that your brand is consistently represented across all channels.
2. Choose a Color Palette
While every business is different, there are some general guidelines that can be followed when choosing a color palette for your brand.
First, it’s important to select a limited number of colors – 2 to 5 is usually a good range.
Too many colors can be overwhelming and make your brand look “busy”. Second, choose colors that work well together and support the message you want to communicate with your brand.
For example, if you’re trying to convey a feeling of trustworthiness and reliability, blue might be a good choice.
Third, keep in mind the psychological effects that different colors can have on people. Different colors can evoke different emotions, so it’s important to choose colors that are in line with the message you want to communicate.
Once you’ve selected a few potential color palettes, it’s important to test them out to see how they work together. One way to do this is to create mockups of your branding materials (e.g., business cards, website banners, etc.) using the different color combinations.
Another way is to ask people for their opinions on the different color combinations. soliciting feedback from others can help you get an idea of how well the colors work together and how they might be perceived by your target audience.
While there are no hard-and-fast rules for choosing a color palette for your brand, following these guidelines can help you create a cohesive and professional-looking visual identity for your business. Canva offers a neat tool for color palettes as well, and with Canva Pro, you can create a complete brand guide as well with all the templates & pro features. But Is Canva better than Canva Pro? We'll leave that to you to decide.
3. Develop a Typography Strategy
Your typography strategy should be designed to ensure that all of your written communications are consistent and on-brand.
When choosing fonts, make sure they are legible and easy to read. You should also consider how different fonts will work together on the same page or screen.
For example, you might pair a sans-serif font (like Arial) with a serif font (like Times New Roman) for headlines and body copy.
4. Create Visual Elements
In addition to text, your brand style guide should also include guidelines for other visual elements like logos, photos, and illustrations.
If you have an existing logo, make sure it is included in your style guide along with any approved variations (like different color versions).
If you don’t have a logo yet, now is the time to create one! Once you have a logo, you can start thinking about other visual elements like photos and illustrations. These should be used sparingly and only when they add value to your content; too many visuals can be overwhelming for people.
5. Write Brand Voice Guidelines
First, decide how you want people to feel when they interact with your brand. Do you want them to feel inspired? Motivated? Excited?
Make a list of adjectives that best describe the tone you want to set for your brand. Then, start writing guidelines for specific scenarios like social media posts, email subject lines, blog post titles, etc. Be as specific as possible in your guidelines. For example, if you want your brand to come across as friendly and approachable on social media, you might tell your team to use emojis in their posts and to avoid using industry jargon.
If you want your emails to sound more formal, you might tell your team to use complete sentences and avoid contractions. By being clear and concise in your brand voice guidelines, you can help ensure that your team is always on message.
Next, think about the specific channels where you’ll be communicating with your audience. Your brand voice should be consistent across all channels, so make sure that your guidelines take this into account.
For example, if you’re active on both Twitter and Instagram, you might want to have separate guidelines for each platform.
On Twitter, where posts are limited to 280 characters, you might tell your team to keep their posts short and sweet.
On Instagram, where posts can be up to 10 minutes long, you might give them more leeway to be creative with their content.
By tailoring your brand voice guidelines to each individual channel, you can help ensure that your message is always on point.
Finally, don’t forget to revisit your brand voice guidelines on a regular basis. As your business grows and evolves, so too will your brand voice.
By keeping your guidelines up-to-date, you can help ensure that your team is always communicating in a way that reflects your current identity.
While it may seem like a lot of work to write brand voice guidelines, the effort is well worth it. By taking the time to define how you want your brand to sound, you can help ensure that every interaction with your audience is a positive one.
In this article, we have discussed the basics of creating a style guide for your graphic design projects.
If you follow these tips, you can create a brand identity that accurately represents your business and resonates with your target audience.