A Style Guide is where you keep all your branding information organize and ready for you to share with whomever works on your communication, website, social media, stationary etc. It is your visual inspiration + your tone + your brand color... it is your Style Guide! It will change as your branding evolve and will always be a big part of any photographer workflow.
How to use the Style Guide template
I've always could help others with their branding + style guide. When it comes to my own company, it is another story. I am working on some tools to help you guys. But to start, here is a sample Style Guide for you to customize.
Some notes to help you navigate the template.
First- this was created using Adobe Photoshop 2020 (for Mac) should be compatible with Photoshop CC. The only element that you can lose on older versions, is some fonts. And since you are to change my fonts for your brand fonts, this won't be a problem. All assets will be your own, this is only a place to keep them all ready for use.
1. Download the ZIP folder. The template is a PSD file. I also included a JPG for faster review. I also included a PDF with all the steps so you don't have to refer to this post. You're welcome.
2. Double click on the PSD file. It will open in Photoshop and you are ready to customize. *Save it with your studio name so you can customize and go back to the original if needed.
3. Make sure your layers’ window is open (window / layers / check layers – F7)
Now it is time to customize your new Style Guide!
Let me give you my label color system to help you find the right elements faster. Those are how I color code my layers.
Grey – for Titles
Purple – for Groups
Red – for Graphic
Yellow – for Backgrounds(BG)
Blue – for Text elements
4. Start by Inserting Your Studio name in header and footer to make it your own. Little reminder, keep saving often to make sure you don’t lose anything. (Command + S) and use (Command + Z) for going back. You can find all Photoshop Shortcuts here. I am mentioning this since it is a big part of my workflow and hope it helps you too.
5. Next, open the Logo layer group. Remove the placeholder logo and insert your own. For this you need to open your logo in Photoshop (JPG or PNG format), copy and paste it to the right layer. For logo, I normally have a type style one and a little icon style one. I use the Primary one on my stationary, cards and website. I keep the Secondary one for social media. But to be honest, I don’t use the Secondary one that often. Regardless of the style, decide which one will be your most often use (Primary) and which one will be Secondary. You can also only have 1 logo and that is perfectly fine. Simply delete the group and center the Primary group to take the whole space.
* I want to make clear that this is YOUR Style Guide and you should make it feel like you. I simply gave you the starting elements. Delete, add layers, move them around, have fun with it!
6. Now add your colors. I use circle shapes, but you can use square or any shapes you prefer. Simply click the shape layer and change the color for your color. Next, type the name of that color on the text layer and the color # below. You should use the HEX #color (for web) AND Pantone #color (for print). I did not include Pantone for this template. You can find the color number here. Since the idea of a Style Guide is to have your branding all organize and sync for all assets, it is best to have the colors for both.
7. Next- The Typeface. For this section, I like to show the uppercase and the lowercase version. I simply type the full alphabet and number 0-9 in the actual font. For this to work, you will need to make sure the actual font is install in your Photoshop.
8. For the Guiding Principles, you want to use the text layer and type what are the principles by which you want to run your company. How what values matter to you and make sure it is communicated to your team. I kept is simple but you can add quote or books that inspired those principles.
9. Next, we have the Text Rules. This is where you write all the style rule for your text, on your website, word doc, email communications etc.… This section is often missing from companies’ style guide but I found it very important. Since I refer to this guide for all that I do for Mirabelle Photography, this section ensure that I keep consistent all around.
10. Finally, you have the Photography Asset + Textures / Patterns. I personally do not use this section. But most creatives find this section to be the heart of any Style Guide. Go to the image layer and copy one of your image. Select the frame layer and create a clipping mask. (Control / frame layer or right-click frame layer). The layer with the Frame number is only to help you. Remove it once all your assets are ready. The image layer is smart object layer. Simply click on it and it will open a new window. This is where you paste your own image. Once you close the window, it will be replaced on the Style Guide PSD.
*Some version of Photoshop might be different for the clipping mask.
** It is also a good idea to add the filters/ actions that you use while editing. To ensure that your galleries can be on brand even if you are not the one doing the editing. It is not included in this version, but will be added for the 2.0 version.
This pretty much conclude the whole step by step tutorial. Enjoy the Custom Style Guide, make it your own. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me.
Download the file: