How many times has this happened to you? You stumble upon a page on a website for a company that you know and don’t even realize that the page was a part of the site? Probably more than you think.
For the business, this can lead to missed cross- promotional opportunities, an appearance of disorganization and even redundancy across the site. A style guide forms a strong basis and foundation for a site refresh or a new site. It helps us put our best foot forward and present ourselves in a professional way.
You have your business brand. Isn’t that enough to keep everyone “in line” with the overall objectives when developing a website? You might thinks so, but let’s look at 4 reasons that a style guide is so important and should not be disregarded in the website development process.
Reason # 1 – It will allow for more consistency throughout your new website
This is your brand. A style guide is a tool for keeping these elements in line across the site.
Your web brand includes:
- Colors you use
- Logos and slogans
- Tone of writing
- Styles and fonts
- The way that various visuals and text are laid out
- Overall layout
- Other design elements
And consider the words of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, talking about developing a company brand when he said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” So your web brand also includes various programming instructions like:
- How Customers navigate through the site
- How Customers interface with the site
- Other coding elements.
All of these signal to potential customers that they are on your site. And as you know, every time a customer is on your site and knows it, this is an opportunity for sales conversion. If they don’t, you need to ask why.
Reason # 2 - It will help to get your team aligned with design expectations
There are usually multiple people involved in a site:
- Graphic Designers
- Content Writers, etc.
When multiple people are involved on a website redesign project, it makes it difficult for everyone to be on the same page. Having a style guide will help with this. Everyone should be working from the same playbook. Creativity is great, but it should be applied across the website and not just one designer getting creative with font sizes, colors and backgrounds.
Reason # 3 - It will keep your designer/ developer from "guessing"
In the absence of clear guidance, people will make lots of assumptions and there are just too many variables when developing a site.
Reason # 4 – It is good to reference in the future as ongoing changes are made to the site
You do not want to have to recreate the wheel when it’s time to update part, or all of, your site. A website refresh is a great time to revisit the plan and work to bring things back together according to that plan.
Ultimately, your website is part of your brand. Using a style guide will help you keep this brand consistent across your site to reach more customers and influence their perceptions about your business and their decision to buy your product or service.