This week at Lifeblue University, it was LB Design Savant Ben Tautfest's turn to teach us all something new. As one of our amazing designers, Ben knows the importance of resolution, color and other factors that keep a site looking consistent and high in quality. So in this week's LBU, Ben took the time to not only show us how to resize and alter logos and images to maintain quality and proper color, but also to stress the importance of such practices in producing top-notch sites, presentation materials and collateral.
Style guides, like the ones Lifeblue's designers user for websites they create, keep a site consistent in the color scheme, typography and general appearance. These guides assist designers in maintaining control over the design and can be handed over to the client post-production to ensure that any changes made stay in harmony with the site they have created. Following a style guide will not only make a website look better, but it also reinforces branding messages by making it instantly recognizable and correctly credited to its respective brand.
But style guides can transcend website design and be transposed to other marketing elements. Once a solid guide is in place, it can be applied to advertising and presentation materials, collateral, social media pages and any other messages put out by the company. This practice goes hand-in-hand establishing cohesive, consistent branding'an important point that we have stressed in posts before.
Companies often lease out different marketing needs to several different agencies; providing them with a style guide to refer these other agencies to will ensure that it is all branded properly. When given the specific hues, fonts and styles to be used, these other agencies'despite creative differences'will most likely produce materials that follow suit with the site and the company's brand image will be further solidified. I can't guarantee that the client will actually decide to enforce the guide, but at least as a designer you will have armed them with what they would need to create a beneficial branding standard for their marketing materials.
Not everyone is a designer who has a trained eye for developing the elements of a style guide. Making it a point to always use one and making it available and comprehensible allows others to forgo making erroneous design decisions themselves, and they will instead know exactly what to do. Create a simple and clear concept guideline, and you will save your client from potential doom. Be responsible and look out for them. Practice safe design. Use a concept. And always do it with style guides.