Hey there! Whether you’re a blogger or an online business owner, I want to share with you the importance of having a style guide for your blog/website.
Aside from knowing how to work your Photoshop, you also need to really know the essence of your blog. What makes it unique and recognisable? Your logo/branding is one of the most important factors. But your logo means nothing if your entire site does not follow your branding’s style and colours. Am I right?
For example, take Mc Donald’s. We already recognise their signature red and yellow colours. Now, what if one day, without any change to the branding colours, Mc Donald’s decides to use cups that are blue, their burger wrappers are now pink and the Happy Meal boxes are all green? You would be thinking ‘what the heck’ right? The same theory applies to your blog. And this is especially important if you are not on the same level of popularity as Mc Donald’s. They can probably get away with it, but for you, chances are, it’s going to be very hard for readers/customers to connect with your brand at all. That could mean losses in potential readership & sales!
“A style guide brings out the personality of your brand, through your blog.”
It help keeps everything consistent and relatable, and it also tells everyone what your brand is about. A good example here (no more fast food referrals, I promise) is The Beauty Department by Lauren Conrad. The blog is all about beauty tips and inspiration for girls everywhere and their blog’s styling is on point!
The use of pastel pinks + mint green (when you highlight the top menu) and that lime-green box that labels the categories, they all match the blog’s personality, is consistent throughout the site, and also correlates with the logo. Notice how she also matches all the same font for all the menu categories, her Pinterest button, blog title and also on the feature image with the text ‘copper smoke’. She keeps the fonts consistent but mixes it up a little with some extra fonts (the handwriting type). Check out her blog and tell me if it makes sense to you, because it sure does for me!
Want to learn how you can create the perfect style guide for your blog? Read on!
YOUR AUDIENCE + COLOUR PALETTE
Who are you talking to? Who do you want to appeal to? Colours play an important role in appealing to your target audience. Mc Donald’s uses red & yellow because those colours are hot & fast – which defines their fast food business. Lauren Conrad uses pastel pinks and mint for her blog because she wants to appeal to girls to read her beauty tutorials. Find the value of what you want to give through your blog.
Here on Michelle Freelances, my style guide follows a simple, black, white & gold colour scheme, with marble as my visual aid. All of those represent quality and I want to do quality work for people who hire me, and to produce quality articles here for you to learn too. What about you? What’s your style of choice?
CHOOSING THE RIGHT COLOURS
As mentioned in the previous point, picking the right colour plays an important role. Not sure what colour to choose? Try this site which offers a lot of very pretty colour palettes, or make your own! Don’t forget to stick to these colours once you choose them, otherwise your site will look very inconsistent, if you keep changing colours. I’d suggest picking between 2-4 colours.
Just as important as colours, you should always have 3 MAIN fonts: a proper font for headings, subheadings and body text. Pick something simple and easy to read.
Once you have that, you can feel free to pick an additional font, like a cursive font or something more funky (depending on your target audience) to use alongside your main fonts. Of course, the main font can be the funky/cursive one too! Just remember to use them sparingly, and only when necessary.
Images play an important role because readers are more attracted to visual things online. Your blog’s images should all have a theme to it. Will it be bright, moody, faded out or high contrast? Decide based on your colour palette. Take Lauren Conrad’s site for example, her images are always bright and clean, with the hair/makeup models against a neutral background. Little touches like that makes a blog seem more professionally put together.
In fact, knowing and having the RIGHT Photoshop skills are crucial to this point. You ought to know how to do the right thing that best represents your brand.
YOUR WRITING TONE
Last but not least, content – the heart of your blog. Once you have captured the attention of your readers, it’s time to intrigue them with your content. Make sure it’s informative and engaging, and add your own flair of writing to it so that your personality shines through. Be sure that your personality matches the blog’s look & feel. For example, don’t create a black and grey blog palette if you’re say, a motivational blog, because that would just be really depressing and would give out the wrong signals to your readers.
And there you have it! Simple rules to create a functional design for your blog. Okay, freebie time! To help you guys out, I have created a little printable PDF worksheet to help you determine what suits your style! You will find my tools on how to help you take the first step to create your own style guide easily!
This freebie is available in my secret Creative Tools & Resources Library, find out how to get access here!