This post is Day 12 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge. Post about the challenge on social media with the hashtag: #THNblogchallenge. (You can view all of the challenge prompts here.)
If you think of the content of your blog as the cake, the design is the icing. (Yes, I really made that reference.) The way you present your brand to the world by means of logos, web design, graphics, etc. is equally as important when trying to grow your blog, which is why every blogger should have a style guide.
Creating a style guide for your brand is more than just having a professional design your logo though! It’s about creating a distinct style that is unique to you and that your audience will connect with. When you have a clear look for your blog and its content, it will be easy for your audience to recognize you on other platforms because you’ll have such a strong brand identity. Think about how many of your favorite websites have branding you can easily recognize when you’re scrolling through your Pinterest or Instagram feeds. That’s what you want for your website!
The Foundation of Your Brand’s Style Guide
Before you go selecting fonts and colors for your style guide, you should first consider your target market. Get clear on who your target market is so you can create a brand and a voice for your site that will appeal to them. If you’re trying to attract new moms to your website, they probably won’t be drawn to dark colors and bad language on your site. Instead, they’d like a site that featured bright colors and a warm, friendly vibe. If you’re just starting out and you haven’t built up your audience yet, think about your branding in terms of audience you want to have.
Be sure to ask yourself how you want your target market to feel when they visit your website. Use that information to cultivate the elements of your branding, which we will discuss below. The very design elements you use can determine whether or not someone is drawn to your site and whether or not they become repeat readers.
Elements of a Style Guide
- Colors. Your style guide should contain a selection of colors that you will use throughout all of your designs. You may notice that my logo contains a lovely pink color, which I also use in the graphics I design and in parts of my web design. Remember to consider how you want your target market to feel when they visit your website. Then, choose colors that appeal to you and will appeal to them and create that feeling. Do you want your brand to feel vibrant? Go for bold colors. If you’re looking for a more feminine vibe, choose lighter, softer colors. Choose up to five colors to add to your brand’s style guide.
- Fonts. When you’re creating graphics and other materials for your site, it can be pretty tempting to pick whichever font catches your eye. However, you want to have consistency when designing. Select two to three fonts that you’ll use across your website and your graphics. Make sure your fonts are legible and work well together. An easy way to find fonts that make great pairs is to check out Google Fonts for suggestions. Again, keep your audience in mind. A corporate website isn’t going to be using fonts that look fun and playful, but a mommy blogger might!
- Image template. Your style guide should also include a signature style for your images. If you’re like me and struggle with design, this may be a tricky task for you. But it’s important to just play around and have fun with it until you find a look that works for you and your brand. Also, make sure you consider the types of photos you use in your posts. Will you be taking the photos or only using stock photography? Keep in mind the vibe you want your site to have when selecting photos. Be sure to incorporate the colors and fonts of your style guide in your images.
Start working on a style guide for your brand if you don’t have one! First, review my post on knowing your target market if you haven’t already. Then, think about how you want your audience to feel when they visit your website. Come up with three words to describe that feeling. Keep this in mind when selecting colors and fonts for your brand.
If you find that creating a look for your brand is difficult, you may want to turn to a designer to help. That’s what I did! I had NO clue where to start with my branding, so I hired Kory Woodard to help. She designed my logos, selected my colors, and fonts. It made the process so much easier.