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An alternative view of style guides

Recently I was reading a long article about ‘style guides’ when it occurred to me that we can think of these (often maligned) documents in a more productive way.

There’s only one organisation I currently do any creative work for which has a style guide that they (rightly) insist third parties refer to at all times. However, one of the most useful aspects of this collection of resources is as a ‘template store’. So I can go back to this source for things like blank Powerpoint templates, rather than recreating a blank slide from the last presentation I compiled – one of my many bad habits.

I guess the takeaway here is that if we consider having a style guide to be a bit of an extravagance (which would be wrong), then perhaps we should think of it as being a ‘corporate image assets and blank documents library’. Then for anyone creating a slideshow, a white paper or even a one-off document, it can be presented not as a prescriptive guide, but somewhere where they can get some starter documents to save them time.

Start by creating a folder containing the corporate logo file (perhaps with some notes), and make it accessible to all. Then build from there.