A Complete Styling Guide For Startup


A style guide is a crucial part of any branding process related to a business. The style you choose for your organization conveys a lot about your organization, the value in which you hold your customers, the company’s mission, goals and much more. It is basically a summary of the things that you want your business to achieve.

However, once you have set on your mission you must keep it consistent so that your customers do not find it difficult to spot you. Styling is very important for an organization’s image. So much so that Airbnb went through a complete restyling process to retain the attention of their customers, and of course to attract new ones.  The company went all aboard to create their own font named Cereal!

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Needless to say that a lot of thoughts, work, and effort went into creating these simple alphabets for the font which will now be seen on Billboards, their personal website and of course on their other branding materials. Though the newly developed font looks all cheerful and fun loving a lot of work went into creating it, exactly two years! The ace designer completed the alphabets in this time frame and the results have been amazing!

Thus if you are planning to recreate a style for your business, here is something that might come in handy for you.

Step 1: Understanding what Styling Guide Does

Definition wise, a style guide is a list containing directions and images which aid people in the company and outside it understands what the brand truly represents, i.e, its value and identity.

The entire process makes your brand recognizable from anywhere and everywhere. As a company, it is important that you spend a certain amount of time determining your brand identity, the logo, the font, and the overall styling. Remember, visual quality plays a very important role in business and makes your customers seek out for you. In this context, a style guide helps managers, brand managers, make smart choices about how their brand appears worldwide. This is crucial for keeping the image of the brand consistent.

In that light, as a company, you don’t want your logo to be misrepresented. Though most of the times the misrepresentations are accidental, they, of course, erode the image of the brand to some extent. It is the work your style guide to stop such things from happening.

Step 2: Begin with Your Logo

It is always advisable, to begin with, your logo. The logo of your company is the pivot from which all other designs emerge. Once you decide on how much white space must be there around your logo, and what kind you want in terms of the shape and the size, move on to address the styling elements and template. You can create logo using Canva. However, it is not just one logo that you have to choose a, a brand actually makes use of multiple logos to be used in diverse context, and yes all of this must be recognizable by your customers.

At the least you will be needing the following:

A primary logo- This is the core logo design, and will serve as the inspiration for all the other logos.

A secondary logo: This is built on your primary logo, however, it is more flexible so that it can be used on multiple platforms and contexts. It can either be a vertical logo or a horizontal one. But it is important to stick to simple designs or the ones that suit all your social media handles.

There are multiple tools available over the internet which you can make use of to create your logo. There is no need to hire a designer to get all that done. Just spend some time looking over the internet and save yourself some money which can be used for other important things.

Step 3: Look Beyond, create your style guide ahead of time

Thinking ahead is always good and fruitful, and the same applies to design. It is important to create a style guide which is way ahead in the future, additionally, it is important to stick to the rules. If you are running a startup, it is possible that a lot of people might be having access to your designing files, and not just your designers. In that light, ensure that everyone who has access to these files knows how to use the designs. As mentioned earlier, a style guide helps a brand to communicate the designs via visuals, making the customers aware of the brand’s ideal, mission and vision. In that light, it is important to address which colors, backgrounds and themes that can be used in your design.

Do not be under the impression that your style guide is just for your designers, it is for anyone who goes on your website to see. It is for everyone who wants to make use of your brand on their website, in media, on blogs or vlogs. Since your style guide has a huge number of people to cater to, you can limit its access, setting a number for people who can actually see it, or teach everyone how to use the style guide.

In order to keep things simple, including a few “must-do” in your identity list might be a good idea. Things like, logo specifics, clear space and sizing, usage, improper usage, logo mark, social icon and such.

While developing your style guide, it is important for you to consider how you don’t want your logo to look like. Always remember that the first and most important work of your style guide is to direct people how to use visuals to represent the business.  While working with the designers to develop the visual look of your brand, be specific to mention how exactly you want the logo to look like, the kind of spacing and all. For large business houses and brands which are picking up speed, such details are of great importance. However, for small business houses such small details may not matter to a great extent.

Joel is an entrepreneur specialized in the international business development and project management. He graduated from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business with a degree in Finance and International Business. He is currently working on decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) along with TechRar.

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