The recognition value and a homogeneous presentation are practically the alpha and omega when it comes to creating a web page. In most cases, this is not a problem while a person works alone on a project. However, in the case of larger web projects, such as the development and editing of a company’s website, several teams are responsible for the design and maintenance of the website. The solution to this in such work environments is presented in the form of a style guide. However, what is behind this concept? How can a style manual be created quickly and easily and what should be thermalized in this regard?
What is a style guide?
The style guides, also known as style books, make reference in the field of online marketing to manuals for the uniform design of web pages. Here, in addition to the web pages themselves, accounts are also included in social networks and applications. A style guide is closely related to both the corporate design as with the corporate identity of the companies and ensures that the visual identity of the company in question can also be recognized immediately on the network. In this regard, web style guides are necessary to present companies as a unit in all the communication channels in which it appears, either on social networks, through emails, on the page itself web or in other publications. This type of manual provides guidelines for all workers on how to represent the company both visually and textually so those (potential) customers can classify it right away.
Therefore, a digital style guide for web pages encompasses much more than information for the logo and the business label: this determines, in addition to the type of letter and colors, the design of the images or the presentation of the elements and includes data relating to the tone of the text. If the style book is used, the website gets a uniform appearance, even if there are several website designers in London involved in the development of each of the areas of the website.
Why are style guides so important?
The managers of the companies are faced sooner or later with the question of what is the best way for the website to reflect the essence of the company and how visitors can evaluate it correctly and immediately. The answers to these questions lead to the style guide, as it groups the results obtained and creates the foundations for the development of the website. Style manuals are important because only with their help can the web page be configured in a unified manner and adapted to the target audience. In this way, it is possible to quickly recognize the brand on the Internet. A properly designed website is therefore responsible for visitors to identify themselves more easily with the brand and even for them to recommend it, while at the same time transmitting professionalism and seriousness so that customers or users feel attracted by it and stay longer on the page.
How to create the ideal style manual?
To develop a good style guide it is essential to take into account the target audience of the website. An example of this is that a financial services provider would never patronize its clients. In the service sector, customers are usually treated in a formal and serious tone, which means that face-to-face communication is transmitted to the content of the website: if the company uses the form “you “, this must also be applied to the website and will be expressly warned in the style guide. If, on the other hand, you want to create a portal for teenagers, the “you” form will be too formal and, therefore, inadequate. This can scare the main audience because they do not feel identified, so they will leave the portal and look for another one.
Analyze the target audience and determine the business philosophy
When creating a web style guide, you must take into account both the business philosophy or corporate identity and the target audience to which it is addressed. To find out what it is, you need an extensive data collection, as well as an extensive analysis of them. In this case, age, gender, education, life circumstances and the interests of the audience come into play and these must be defined as accurately as possible. Only those who know their clients or readers will be able to create web pages aimed at a specific audience and with the appropriate contents. Also, the style guide should also make clear what is the business philosophy, its objectives or the terminology that has to be used. What does the company representative and what terms are essential to use on the website to convey their own ideas to customers and readers?
The style guide should also go into detail
The more exact the standards, the smaller the number of necessary corrections, which require a lot of time and many costs. In this sense, the company style book should establish the rules in the most detailed way possible: in the case of colors, for example, these have to be defined with hexadecimal codes, RGB values, and other attached graphics. Through a short description, you can quickly find out what effect the expected colors have on the audience. In addition, it is necessary to clarify what colors are destined to which elements. Therefore, the place where the icons, buttons, banners or logos and the colors they must contain must be set.
In this context, a graphical scheme can be more clarifying than a written explanation, and that is that a graph can also offer data about the column width and the height of the rows. In this way, designers can see directly the appearance that more or less can have the entire web page. Data regarding the size of the images, icons, and logo are also useful.
Maintenance and update
Once the style guide has been created, it has to be adapted to the updates and revisions of the web page. Only in this way can long-term unity be guaranteed in all communication channels. Uniformity is essential for branding, which does not mean that these manuals can never be modified. Rather, they have to be modified regularly to check, for example, if the designs are still current, the typefaces are up to date or if the logo can be updated. Mozilla’s example shows that logos can change over time and that, in fact, they have to change. Finally, the preferences of the target audience may also vary. Therefore, for web pages, it is important to remain faithful to the unit defined in the style guide, but also to keep the specifications updated and adapt to the passage of time.