A Style Guide is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization or field. The implementation of a style guide provides uniformity in style and formatting within a document and across multiple documents.

A Style Guide can be an integral part of branding – for a solopreneur to big businesses.  Any big box retailer that you can think of definitely has a style guide.  Do you think the people who design the signage and packaging and ads at Target get to do whatever inspires them?  Certainly not.  They work within the guidelines of the brand and the vision for the company as a whole.

Style Guides also exist in the art licensing field.  I once got to see the style guidelines set forth by the Garfield® brand – licensees couldn’t take any liberties with color or layout or packaging.  The brand and it’s presentation are tightly monitored.

Laura Kelly's Me & My Peeps - self portraitLaura Kelly, doodler extraordinaire and creator of Me and My Peeps®, let me know about her blog post about how she uses a Style Guide in her work.  She has a very successful art licensing business and uses her guide to create a consistent look and feel for her work and it works!  I always know a Laura Kelly product when I see it.  You can read more about what she does and why on her blog post: Building and Branding Using a Style Guide

I am fascinated and impressed with how organized and well thought out Laura Kelly’s Style Guide process is.

Now since I am writing about style guides, you might wonder if I have one… the answer is “not like that!”  I asked myself the same question when I read Laura’s post – “SHOULD I have such a guide for my art and business?  Would it help me stay focused and grow in different way?”

The conclusion I came to was that I have a style guide – in my head – for my brand as a whole, but not one for my art.  There are certain colors and images and fonts that I use consistently in my advertising, marketing, website and more.

I don’t, however, have such a style guide for the art that I create.  My business and process is different from what Laura does.  I do more themed collections that stand alone – they don’t all relate to each other and build on each other the way Laura’s do.  I also work in a variety of styles which would be very hard to do if I had a more structured style guide for my art.

What I’ve decided to do is commit my brand style guide to paper – make sure it is well thought out and use it as a tool to build my brand – Tara Reed Designs.  I will continue to create my art collections in the way I have – I suppose they each could have a style guide of their own! 🙂

Thank you Laura for making me think about this process and letting me “share it with the group”!  I’m looking forward to seeing you and your Peeps in a few days at SURTEX!

This is great food for thought for anyone reading this post.  I encourage you to read Laura’s blog post and then think about how style guides might fit into and help YOUR business.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Learn more about Laura Kelly at www.LauraKellyDesigns.com