[Template] Creating Your First Style Guide

Style guide template

Read Time: 3 Minutes   Action Time:15 Minutes

 

A style guide template, why would I need a style guide?

 

Style guides are normally reserved for large publications like newspapers, magazines and journalistic websites, right?.
Wrong, and that is why we have put together a style guide template for you to use.
I feel as bloggers we too should have a small style guide which we can reference in order to keep the consistency of our image, message and brand across all platforms.

 

That’s where our style guide template comes in handy, even just for keeping track of colours and fonts it can be a huge time saver.

 

A style guide (or manual of style) is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organisation, or field. (It is often called a style sheet, though that term has other meanings.) A style guide establishes and enforces style to improve communication.

(Source- Wikipedia)

 

Really what we bloggers want in a style guide template is a reference point for us to be able to check back on when we’re unsure as to colours, fonts, types of headings, subheadings, numbers’, numerals and so on.
A style guide doesn’t need to be a large body of work but is definitely something worth having.

Style Guide Template

 

Want to create your own “Style Guide” in minutes 

Leave your name and email address and we’ll send you our style guide template

 


So in the interest of getting you up and running with our style guide template or if you quickly want to start your own, here are the five main points we feel you should include in a style guide starting out.

 

Colours

 

Your style guide should contain your colour pallet. what I mean by this is, for the main colours of your site you should have the hex codes for those colours.

 

This way when it comes to creating graphics that you may wish to use elsewhere you can keep the colours consistent with your brand.

 

Font

 

Similar to the colour, you should decide on which fonts you were going to use on your website.

 

There are perhaps three main fonts that you will need to consider;

  • Your headline copy size and font
  • Your body copy size and font
  • Your sub-heading size and fonts

 

Once you have decided on these, documented it in your style guide, it becomes a lot easier to remain consistent.

Headlines

 

Here you will simply need to decide on a number of things;

 

Like are you going to capitalise every word in your headline?

 

When it comes to using numbers in your headline are you going to use words or numerals?

 

Will you be using bracketed clarification and if so which style of brackets will you be using?

 

Numbers

 

In the body copy of your articles, what way are you going to pen numbers?

 

Are you going to use words up to a certain value and numerals thereafter, for example;

 

“In the body copy of an article where the number is up to and including 10, the numerical value shall be written. Anything after 10, the numeral should be used. Eg. Eight, Nine, Ten, 11, 12, 13….”
You may also want to decide as to whether you wish to start a sentence with a numeral or whether regardless of the value that number should be expressed in its written form.

 

Headings/Sub-heads

 

Here are you may want to decide on how many large headings <H1> and how many subheadings <H2> or less are to be used.

 

For example:
“There should be only one <H2> per article, this will be used for S.E.O purposes to try and incorporate keywords.”
“All other headings shall be <H3>. If circumstance calls for it <H4> can be used, but only in circumstances where <bold> or <ul> will not clearly mark the heading and to use another <h3> would be too much.”

 

“There should be double line spacing after each heading and sub-head”

 

“Where possible the reader should not have to scroll down more than once to see another clearly marked sub-head. The aim is to make the sub-heads appealing, this is for those who scan articles.”

 

These would be the main five I recommend you start with, However, there are plenty of other considerations you could add to your style guide overtime.

 

These could include things like links, what colour the link should be, Whether it should open in a new window or not depending on the redirect location, whether every article should have a link to an internal article or page or whether every article should have a link to external sites or blogs.

 

Other things to consider are the use of ampersands, which dictionary you should use for spelling, for example, the Oxford English dictionary or the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

 

The location of mandatory images within posts, for example, will the feature image appear within the article itself?, the use of a call to actions (CTA’s), line spacing, justification and so on.

 

Action

 

Take 15 minutes a put together your own style guide to get you started. Over time there will be decisions that need to be made and these can be added, but for the moment concentrate on the following;

 

  • Headlines (eg.Only the first word and any name, title or company will be in capitals.)

  • Spacing (will single of double spacing be used)

  • Headings/Sub-heads (eg. Headings will be <H2>, SUB-HEADINGS WILL BE <H3>)

  • Numbers  (how will numbers be displayed? 5 or five?)

  • Images  (a standard size and placement, both featured and “in article” should be decided upon)
  • Dictionary (which dictionary shall you use to decide spelling)

 

As I’ve said, there will be other things that will come up as you continue on your blogging journey, but having somewhere to start and a set of rules to refer to will ensure consistency in your content.

 

Want to create your own “Style Guide” in minutes 

Leave your name and email address and we’ll send you our style guide template

 

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About the author, Phil

I am passionate about great content and some what of a perfectionist, but remember, you can't edit a blank page!