What’s a Style Guide? Do I Need One?

by Yaritsa Arenas | Branding + Design

To truly create a professional and trustworthy brand, you need to be cohesive and consistent. Just imagine if you keep changing your logo, if your colors don’t match across social media and if your materials look completely different each time. For someone who doesn’t know you well enough, they might think they’re dealing with completely different companies. We definitely don’t want your clients getting confused!

That’s why I always include a guide with all my logo design projects. Simply put, a style guide is a set of standards you can follow for consistency.

What's a Style Guide? Do I Need One?

What should a logo style guide include?

Logo style guides vary from designer to designer, but these are some basic elements to include:

You’ll definitely have a master logo, but sometimes there are variations. You might have a logo with an icon and might have a version that’s stacked and another with a horizontal layout. Or you might have a simplified logo without the icon. Perhaps a black & white version. The number of variations your logo might have depends on how complex your logo is and how you intend to use your logo in the future.

Color Palette
You’ll want to have a list of the colors your logo includes and sometimes even additional complementary colors. I typically also include a breakdown of the colors for various uses (Hex color for web, CMYK breakdown for print, etc)

Font Usage
You’ll want a listing of the fonts used on your logo as well as any fonts that you can include on printed materials or your website.

Visual Elements
Visual elements can be anything from recommended image styles (photography vs. illustration) to parts of the logo itself that you can use as accents in your design.

So what does a logo style guide look like?

Below is one I created for my own logo so you can take a peek.


What’s the difference between a logo style guide, a web style guide and a brand style guide?

They’re all different sets of standards that you can follow.

A Logo Style Guide has specific info for your logo. As noted above, it includes the logo, variations, colors and fonts. Typically this is a one-page document.

A Web Style Guide has specific information for your website such as site colors, button styles, icon styles and typography. Some also include specifics on page layout, spacing and site architecture. This can be a one-page sheet or a multi-page document.

A Brand Style Guide is comprehensive and will include your logo usage, color and imagery, typography and the brand’s personality. Personality specifications can include the voice and tone for content (is it fun, sassy, polished, snarky…?), taglines, key phrases and for brands with packaging it can include details on package design and color scheme. This is typically a multi-page document.

So, why do I need a style guide?

You can use it for yourself, to ensure you’re being consistent. Yes, your logo is purple, but is it a warm purple or a cool purple? If you have the exact color breakdown, you can use the same purple across all media.

Are you working with a new designer or printer? You can give them your style guide to ensure they’re matching your colors and fonts appropriately.

In the end, a cohesive brand is key and having a style guide will keep your standards easily accessible in one easy-to-share document.

But I don’t have a style guide!

If you don’t already have a style guide for your logo and/or branding, no worries. You can create one yourself, it’s never too late. Follow the guidelines above to create a document in whatever software/application you’re comfortable working in. You can use mine as reference, or do a search on Pinterest for inspiration. Once you’ve created your style guide, try to stay consistent!

If you found this helpful or have any questions, please feel free to comment below!

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