Design your brand: how to create a style guide

5 min

Need help creating a cohesive brand image? Want to create elegant yet eye-catching designs that don’t overwhelm your users? Creating a style guide, or a one-page document with all the colors, fonts, and elements you will use for branding purposes. This will help streamline your design process and engage users. Here are a few quick steps to making your own style guide:

1. Pick your adjectives

To start off, how would you describe your brand identity? How do you want users to feel when they see your interface, social media pages, etc.? Pick three adjectives that represent the value you bring as a company. Here are some great examples:

adventurous, beautiful, brave, calm

challenged, comfortable, classy

determined, engaged, expensive

friendly, genuine, innovative, inspired

intrigued, light, loved, natural, silly

timeless, whole, youthful

Notice how specific these words are. Everyone wants their users to feel “happy”, but do you want them to feel “silly” happy or “genuine” happy? The more specific you can be, the easier the rest of the process will be. 

2. Pick your colors

Taking your three adjectives, think about a matching color palette. Most people will start with white as the background and a black font, but you can customize this to your liking. Next, you want to pick two to three additional colors with a similar tone. We recommend including one accent color. Don’t know where to get started? Go to Pinterest and look up “color palette” with one of your three adjectives. For example, search “natural color palette”. You’ll most likely get results with an earthy tone that evokes a natural feeling. Scroll through the different palettes and save the ones that catch your eye. This is a great way to start piecing together your vision. 

3. Pick your fonts

Now it’s time for fonts. There are six basic families of fonts: serif, sans-serif, slab serif, decorative, handwritten, and script. According to Canva, each family is associated with different feelings:

Serif - classic, traditional, trustworthy

Sans serif - modern, minimal, clean

Slab serif - bold, quirky, confident

Decorative - stylized, dramatic, distinctive

Handwritten - informal, artistic

Script - elegant, unique

Looking back at your three brand adjectives, what type of font fits the best? For example, if you had picked “timeless”, the best choice would be a serif font. According to UX Planet, one or two fonts is plenty for your interface. If you want to use two, pick a bolder font for headers/titles and a simpler font for body text. 

4. Pick your elements

With consistent colors and fonts that help portray the three core adjectives used to describe your brand identity, you’re almost there. The last step is designing some graphic elements that will liven up your platforms. Be creative! You can use shapes, lines, objects, etc. Want to showcase your company’s simplicity? Choose not to use any elements. It’s all customizable to you and your brand. 

5. Make your style guide

You made it! Now your brand has a defined identity. To easily distribute this information to employees and refer back to yourself, create a style guide. Include the HEX codes of the specific colors you picked, the names and sizes of fonts for headings, the body, etc. If you created any elements, include downloadable images. Add in any specific "do's" and "don'ts" to help maintain consistency. Don’t forget to add your company logo! Want to see an example? Check out the style guide for Netflix here. 

Need help with your brand design? Contact Pixoul today.