How much should a style guide cost

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When companies act consistently and consistently, they create trust. This also includes a uniform image to the outside world, which is reflected in a professional corporate design in many areas of everyday business life and in contact with customers. A professional set of rules is useful so that this external image really always meets the requirements of the company. It depends less on the size or whether it is a book or a PDF. It is important to have binding guidelines for as many design elements as possible, which the company agrees to adhere to.

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Guide reading time: 8 minutes
Author: Trixy, design expert

Create a comparison style guide: What is a style guide?

Photo: VisualGeneration / depositphotos The style guide is also known as the corporate design manual - and the latter word reveals its main meaning. It is a guide, a documentation of all issues relating to the design of the company: the corporate font, the colors in the context of the various means of communication, specifications for images and illustrations as well as the formats and proportions of all these individual areas.

The purpose of such a manual is to provide your own employees as well as commissioned design agencies with guidelines that support them in creating all elements of internal and external corporate communication. This offers security when reproducing, expanding and redesigning the office equipment.

Design a style guide as an investment in the future

Many small companies, but even medium-sized companies, often shy away from investing in extensive documentation of the design guidelines. A simple PDF with the most important information is sufficient at the beginning, and start-ups can and should already develop this. It is important that there is at least one base on which you can build and which can be expanded if necessary. Because even if your company is still small, it shouldn't stay that way. When the product range changes, new catalogs have to be printed, when the workforce increases: There are many situations in which you want to be sure that the communication and advertising materials look exactly as your customers know and expect.

So if you document from the beginning, you will save new employees and designers a lot of work, time and money for yourself. And thanks to the style guide, it won't be a problem in several years, for example if the logo changes, a new medium requires new design ideas or you want to change the agency. The manual helps to make the external image as credible and appropriate to the company as you and the design manager specify. Those who document the design process and its results from the start act with foresight and give employees and service providers the feeling that the company and its image are important to them.

Style guide design: The uniform design concept

In practice you will come across different types of corporate design manuals. How detailed they are, in what form they are available and which means of communication are exactly depicted in them vary widely and among other things depend on various factors such as the size of the company, the media used, the brands or products for which the style guide should apply. The possibilities include, for example

  • a general, cross-media corporate design manual,
  • specific style guides for individual media (e.g. for the web),
  • Brand guidelines for dealing with brands and their trademarks,
  • special specifications for the technical documentation (editorial guidelines).

Whether the style guide is bound as a permanent book, printed out as a brochure, offered as a PDF or recorded on a website is ultimately a matter of taste. If the guidelines are available online, they can of course be updated more easily. Either way, you should find a form that employees and service providers can easily access when needed.

Have a unique style guide created for your company.

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Content style guide: What should be in it

Look at the corporate design manual like a user manual for everyone who is involved with design in the company or as a service provider. Regardless of the medium to which the guidelines are to apply, the style guide includes specifications for

  • the font,
  • the color scheme,
  • the visual language (the visual concept),
  • all grids and layout specifications,
  • all design elements (also and especially for the logo),
  • the language and the language styles.

All elements should be described in as much detail as necessary, but also as flexibly as possible. The style guide clarifies questions that arise every day in connection with the design: What dimensions are permitted for the logo, in what context can the color design deviate from the standard? Which type area applies, which fonts are used when? How can the logo be combined with text?

Application examples are useful tools for any designer who picks up the manual for the first time. Negative examples also belong in a professional guideline: They show the context in which an element should under no circumstances appear, or which colors, fonts and layout combinations are better avoided.

In addition to a general manual that sets the basis for the design, specific guidelines are usually also required for individual media, because the information cannot always be easily transferred. At least for the website (s) there should therefore be a separate style guide, which is based on the general design guidelines, but finds suitable, media-friendly equivalents for them.

FAQ: Questions and answers about the Creation of style guides

In our FAQ we answer the most common questions and answers about style guides and give tips on creating professionally designed corporate design manuals.

What is the style guide?

A binding design guideline for the uniform appearance of a company, a guideline for communication, both internally and externally. The style guide documents the corporate design and can be in printed or digital form.

What use is a style guide to me?

A professional corporate design manual saves time and money in the long term because it gives employees and contracted service providers a binding set of rules on how to use the company's individual design elements. It improves the workflow because there are no queries - and many errors can be avoided.

What should be considered when developing style guides?

As little as necessary, as much as possible: The style guide should provide information on all design elements, but the individual regulations should not be too narrow in order to be able to react appropriately to changes in the future. And: The best design guidelines are of no use if they are not adhered to - in terms of a uniform appearance, there must be consensus in the company that the manual is the basis for all decisions relating to design.

Buying Guide: The Best Design Provider For Style guides in comparison

The style guide is a professional tool in everyday life, and it is not only worthwhile for large companies. On the contrary: If you want to grow, you should make sure that design processes are documented right from the start. Because that saves a lot of effort, time and money in the event of changes.

With the corporate design manual, ensure that your logo, your products and all communication elements are only used in the sense that corresponds to your philosophy and the self-image of your company. In this way you will gain the trust of your customers - and also of your employees, whom the style guide gives security.

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