How to create a style guide for your blog or brand

How to Create a Style Guide for Your Blog or Brand


How to create a style guide for your blog or brand

In order to create and maintain a cohesive online and in-person presence that engages readers and clients, you may want to consider a style guide for your blog or brand. A style guide is a document (PDF/binder/digital file) you create to keep you consistent on important blog elements such as fonts, colors, and image styles, as well as brand elements such as tone, document styles, and more. To create a blog style guide or brand guide you will collect, organize, and create images and text that inspire you, and then you will compile your preferences into a document.

“But why, Regina? Why must I do more work?” you cry out in anguish.

A style guide will save you time (because you won’t have to wonder what your next Instagram image should look like or how you should design that invoice/flyer you need) and it will create a recognizable presence for you online (people make my day when they say they see images on Pinterest and automatically know it’s from my blog–it’s like a non-germy virtual kiss I tell ya).

I’m currently making a new style guide, so I wanted to share the process and benefits with you.

I can’t wait to show you all the new brand. Some of the most fun I’ve had is defining the consistent styles you’ll start to see. I think you’ll enjoy creating a thorough style guide as well (so I created this new post + template out of a previous post from my site). When you look at your style guide, you will immediately have a clear picture of how you should do something or how to create certain brand elements. Can you please just imagine that for one moment? Confusion = gone.

So. You know what’s next. WORK. Download the 3-page blog style guide template below, and follow the guidelines on the template and in the post below. (Note: I made the template a Google Doc that you can copy and it paste into your word processor of choice.)

Free Blog Style Guide Template or Brand Style Guide Template

How to Create a Style Guide

1. Collect everything you like.

Use a private board on Pinterest, a planning board on your wall, or a service like Dropmark to collect images, text, and other files you enjoy.

2. Organize everything into categories.

Narrow down and delete items/colors/styles that don’t seem to fit the natural theme that develops as you organize. Use the categories in the free template download above (or the list below) as a starting point. Depending on your brand, you may see fit to add or delete categories.

3. Pick your final elements and put them in a document.

You can use Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or Apple Pages to create a document (just copy + paste the download above) that will remind you of the key elements and styles you decide on, and keep you consistent as you write and select elements for your blog.

Sections of Your Blog Style Guide or Brand Style Guide


  • You’ll want to pick 2 – 4 colors to use consistently on your blog for text, titles, graphics, and image enhancements.
  • Use a site such as for color inspiration.
  • Make sure to record the hex code (the 6-digit color code, ex: #000000) of each color you intend to use. This way, when you use Canva, or edit with Pixlr, design in Photoshop, add items to your blog, or hire a designer for branding, you’ll know that the exact colors you originally selected are being used.

Blog Style Guide Colors


  • Decide on 2 – 3 fonts you will use on your blog for the logo, text, blog post titles, headings and sub-headings, sidebar, information highlights, and any other places text will occur.
  • Google Fonts and are great resources for selecting fonts. Google Fonts can be used in most blogs (either with built-in text selectors or a plugin), and most fonts can be used in logos, graphics, text you add to images, sidebar graphics, etc., through the use of Photoshop or Pixlr.
  • Make sure fonts you download from (or any similar service) can be used for your logo. Most font authors will specify if a font is only available for personal use.


    • Decide the image styles you (and/or your designer) will create for each of the following:
  • Main blog post images for each category (Will you use low-opacity text overlays, collages, etc.?–view the images below as examples)
  • Secondary post images
  • Images for static pages
  • Dividers
  • Instagram (Will you stick to just one filter? Will you put your logo or web address on some images as a watermark? Will you overlay text on all your recipe posts? Determine what each type of content will look like: blog post previews, food photos, quotes, regular images, etc.)
  • Pinterest (What will your different types of pins look like?)
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Twitter
  • Infographics
  • A note on SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTION: In addition to the image styles, decide on the 2 – 3 ways you will promote each type of post on each social network you use. For example on Google+ and Facebook you may decide to either include a large preview image + teaser text and a link, or use the built-in link function that automatically pulls a small preview image from your post; whereas on Twitter you may decide to use quotes with an image or quotes with a link.

Example blog image style Example blog image style


  • Decide on a consistent tone (playful, serious, sarcastic, authoritative, etc.) for your blog posts.
  • Include a list of words, phrases, and concepts that should and should not be used. This will come in handy for guest bloggers should you decide to allow guest posts.


  • Decide how you want to use links within your posts. Should each post have a minimum of two links to other related posts on your site (to help readers stay looped into your content)? Should you only link to one of your products or services per week (as to not overwhelm readers with sales pitches)?
  • Decide how often you will link to affiliates or sponsors within your posts. You might be able to link to an affiliate product on the Amazon or Target websites in every post without overwhelming your readers, but you might not be able to reference an affiliate’s new book in each post without seeming spammy. Judge your advertisement link use against what you think your audience will appreciate, use, and respect.
  • Include details on any specific plugins that you need to configure for each post. Examples of plugins: an SEO plugin, a related posts plugin, a Pinterest plugin, etc.
  • Record  any specific title rules you have. Do you plan to Google each title before you publish your post to see how much competition there is? Do you want to add industry keywords to each title? Do you want titles that shock and awe or create major curiosity? Write down your title guidelines so that you don’t stray from your rules.
  • List any image rules you have for each type of post. Should recipes include a minimum of five pictures? Do you want to include brand specific divider lines after each section? Include elements that will build your blog brand and establish consistency.
  • Write down your text, spacing, and formatting rules. Will each post be in size 14 font? Will the headings all be size 18 pt? How much space will you include between each line of text? Will you add a divider line before and after lists? Will you create a light gray box around all your side notes or quotes?
  • Do you want to add “Tweetable” phrases to each post? Do you want to add a signature line to each post? Do you need an author byline for each post? Write any of these repetitive elements down so you won’t forget them.


  • Decide on any elements that will be specific to your individual blog categories. For example, you may decide to include a link to an inspirational song on YouTube each time you post in your “Humpday Happiness” category, or you may want to include specific images in the sidebar of your “Interior Design Tips” category that differ from the images/links in your “Fabric Finds” category.
  • Determine the different graphics, plugins, tone, etc., that may be required for each category on your blog.


  • Determine any additional graphics or links that belong in your sidebar.
  • Set rules/guidelines for your footer and header content.
  • Create templates for sliders, banners, or advertisements that will be placed throughout your site.

So, that’s it. What other elements that are important to include in your blog style guide? Might you be thinking about making this a weekend project? I’ll bring the wine.

Got any questions for me? Leave them in the comments below.

  1. Great info as always! I’m torn between wanting to just dive right in and wanting to sit back, absorb and know everything (cuz that’s how I roll, I HAVE to know it all!) That tends to be overwhelming and that’s where I am now. So many decisions to make…a platform, a name, a logo, pics, content, who’s my audience, aaack! 🙂

    1. Thank you Regina. Question: what type of resource do you think would make all the decisions/information less overwhelming? A “getting started” guide? A class? A checklist? I’ve been thinking of putting something together but I want to make sure it’s as people-friendly as possible.

      1. You may already have all the info here. I’m sure I haven’t put a dent in your content. For me, I think a very basic check list would be good. For instance: 1. Do this first. 2. Do this next. There’s so many decisions and choices to make that perhaps I need to know what to decide on FIRST and so on. I think it’s a great idea for a class or maybe a video tutorial series. Thanks for being my sounding board!

        1. Thanks for the feedback. I some upcoming free resources planned + a class on it all so your thoughts are helping me as I put together the material. I appreciate it and I’ll let you know when some of it is available so you can see if it truly is helpful.

          Thank you for your time Regina!

        2. Yes I agree with this, your blog is really useful and it is helping me out A LOT but what would be really useful is some sort of check list as Regina L suggests because I sit down to do all of this and get out all of my notes ect and I spend way too much time just blank, looking very overwhelmed at it all and not knowing where to start – or worst, I do too many things at one time and don’t actually get anything done 🙁

          So a check list or a “start here” post would be really great – but again, EVERYTHING you’ve posted has been very very useful so thank you very much for your time in all of this.

          1. BTW: you may have already mentioned this somewhere…or maybe not..maybe you don’t want to say … but what platform are you using for your blog? Is it a wordpress blog or a site that you have created yourself?

      2. One thing that has me feeling overwhelmed is the thought of getting this all together in the beginning. It feels like such a huge undertaking (i.e. getting the images, texts, fonts, etc.).
        That is what also has me feeling overwhelmed with setting up a social media schedule. every talks about how time saving this all is, but no one speaks about the nitty gritty bare bones of the beginning process.
        okay, my head hurts now. ::::grabs teddy and lays in fetal position::::

  2. Handy + Helpful + Hands on!! You’re giving us the stuff that we’d have to otherwise opt in for, pay for or get frustrated with. I also find it interesting that so many people are suggesting that style guides are only for the “big blogs” but I like the idea that it should be started sooner than later to help represent the brand from the get go.

    Thanks! I’ve got my private Pinterest board started and now, my Blog Business Plan finished (woot!). Super productive weekend.

    1. Naomi, thank you for saying that. I’m actually about to revamp + republish this post with a bit more info. and hopefully a checklist to make it a more organized process for everyone.

      Yeah, it literally confuses the mess out of me to hear that style guides aren’t for just about every blogger that takes their blog seriously. No matter your blog’s size, you can benefit from a consistent brand and image.

      I opted for the private Pinterest board just like you and I love it. And wow! It’s amazing that you finished your blog business plan, that thing is a beast. You should celebrate–maybe buy yourself a great blogging book off of Amazon or something. I like Darren Rowse’s PROBLOGGER book, but there have been some other great publications since then as well.

      How does it feel to have the business plan done? Was it a revealing process, or more of an organization tool? I know you’ve been blogging for a while so I’d be interested to see what (if any) value you got from finishing that. Thanks.

      1. Totally was a value. I’ve gone through the process before, but never finished properly. The other tutorials or guides left me overwhelmed and just annoyed. It also may be because I wasn’t quite ready to be doing it previously? Who knows.

        It was more organizational for me since the last six months have been about really honing in on what my business plan IS versus just randomly typing my thoughts and hitting publish.

        I have been blogging for awhile (since 2006) but only for the last 6-12 months, has it been an intentional and thoughtful process, so the business plan was much needed. I DID however, find the process of the Ideal Reader very revealing. Until I did a survey, I had no idea even the average age of my readers!

        1. I see. Thanks for the feedback Naomi. I’m definitely going to try and think of more posts for people who have been blogging a while.

  3. Love this.
    Being a graphic designer and brand guru I think it is so important for your blog to have a style guide. AND every one can do it! I know I design for a living so this may be killing my business but… this checklist is such a great way for someone who is just starting or can’t afford to hire someone like me to get started. It will also be a HUGE time saver in the long run because you will know exactly how your posts, pages, fonts, etc should be laid out and look. This will create consistency ( which is key ) and all you have to do is plug in the stuff and go!

    1. Jon, I agree exactly. It’s so important to have styles + templates worked out for your brand pieces that you will develop repeatedly. Consistency allows you to develop brand recognition.

      Plus, the somewhat daunting task of creating content (blog posts, IG posts, FB statuses, etc.) is somewhat less daunting if you know the style and tone that you’re going for. I think brand owners will be able to regularly develop strong online and print pieces in less time with a great style guide in place.

      For those who don’t have substantial design experience, I think it’s important to hire a designer or consult with one for a style guide, le duh, as you know . . . I hired you.

  4. I’m starting your course next week and I’ve already started on rebranding my site. I have been working on creating all the stylistic elements for the new site and my social media accounts. When you type it out, it seems like SO MUCH!!! But, you stated everything I’ve been doing along with some things that I haven’t considered. I can’t wait to start the course on Monday and get your feedback on what I’ve been working on. Thanks for this post and for the outline!

    1. Keizra, thank you for the comment. My response is wayyyy late; sorry. But, I do love everything you’ve come up with for your style. Thanks for taking time to read the post.

  5. You totally nailed this topic like a boss. You always explain/share things so thoroughly. Thank you for being so generous, Regina! Aaaand back to topic, after reading this I realized that there’s so many things that I still need to do so I can get a better style guide for my blog. All this time I always thought it’s just about colour, font, image. Thank you for pointing out some points that I haven’t even thought.

    1. Aww, Yuni! Thank you so much. Sorry for my super late reply. Sheesh. I always appreciate when you stop by. Have you already created your own style guide? I love your design sense and tone, so I’m sure it’s amazing. Thanks for reading Yuni.

  6. As always, awesome post and awesome advice. I start thinking about this stuff but never go through it with the actual deliberate attention it needs. And these are the little details that totally make everything come together. The tone your style sets and its consistency are the unsung heroes of blogland. If you’re doing everything right, nobody really notices except to notice that your blog looks polished…but if they’re not done right, everyone notices because it looks disjointed!

    1. KC, please congratulate me on the longest response delay ever. Sheesh. Sorry about that. I’ve been working away on an eKit and some courses. Thank you for your comment; I always love to hear from you.

      I love your quote, “The tone your style sets and its consistency are the unsung heroes of blogland.” You should totally Instagram that. Thanks for taking some time to read this. I now need to stop by your blog and see what fun you’ve been up to.

  7. Wow. Great article with lots of specific information. And I just have to say – I saw your image for this topic on Google+ and it was what pushed me to read on, even though its not a pic of a blog or website. Well done. Love your style so I’m soaking up every word!

    1. Teresa, the header of your site is so attractive. Love it. Thank you for taking some time to read this piece, and to comment. I appreciate it so much (though my ultra-slow response time doesn’t reflect that–sorry). Thanks for the comment on the image too. You’re very encouraging.

  8. Thank You! I am in middle of re branding myself and right now a bit overwhelmed and tired of it. You just gave the last puzzle I needed to get me unstuck!

    Regina your awesome and it’s true I aalways recognise your pictures on pinterest!

    — yasmina

    1. Aww, Yasmina, thank you. That’s so meaningful to me. I appreciate that you took time to read and comment. Sorry for my super late reply. Also, it may just be my silly browser or something, but it’s not letting me pull up your site for some reason . . . and I really want to take a look. I wonder why. Boo to that.

      Thanks again for commenting.

    1. Colleen, I just love your beautiful site and great DIY projects. Just had the brilliant and totally original idea to follow you on Pinterest so I wouldn’t miss any of the action. Genius, I know.

      Thanks for taking some time to read and comment. Sorry for my two-years-later reply. I appreciate your time stopping by.

  9. Thanks so much – this is a great tool. I am just launching a redesign tomorrow. I’ve been really careful to use consistent hex colors (having them written in one place will certainly help) and fonts (I am concerned that I may need to change one because I am using one for my picture overlays that is like my headlines – but I dont know if anyone would notice there are two different fonts).

    I need to do more research on the blog business plan though. 🙂


    1. Stacy, thank you for your comment and I apologize for my extremely delayed response. Your site looks great. So fun. I’m loving the stamped kitchen towels.

      In regard to the blog business plan, this post might be a good starting point. Good luck Stacy.

  10. Hey Regina, this is super useful! Since rebranding my blog I have been trying to be more consistent with my style. Having the template you provided is fantastic! I’m going to write it all up and have it with me every time I blog. I’m actually putting together a little blogging manual (containing a few of your templates) that I can refer to – my own blogging bible! Thanks as always for your generosity. 🙂

    1. Leanne, thank you for this wonderful comment! Sorry to take forever and a day to reply; your comment and time are appreciated, so I truly apologize.

      I love the branding consistency on your blog. You have a very pleasant writing voice as well. Wishing you continued success with your blog–and your blogging bible idea is amazing.

      Thanks for taking time to read Leanne.

  11. Thanks for much for the helpful info – I’m going to get started on my style guide this weekend. I’ve already started to make a few changes so everything starts looking more consistent and it’s made such a difference! Looking forward to going back and reading a lot more of your posts!

    1. Elly, (1) Your name is epic. I love it. (2) Your site is adorable. I love it too. (3) You skate on quads?! Can we be friends because I love doing that and grew up as a competitive skater actually. (4) How are you so cool?

      I hope your style guide project went well. I apologize for my incredibly late reply. Good (continued) luck with your blog.

  12. This is by far one of my favorite posts from you. (<—-I actually have that thought everytime I read one of your posts.) When it comes to branding/blogging/being creative, you can have all the best ideas in the world, but this style guide will save your life. I've done a fraction of this, but you broke it ALL the way down. Thanks for getting all of lives together. And naturally, I've already shared this on Pinterest. Twice.

    1. Aww Mattie:

      You, your blog, and your outfits are all adorable. Sorry if that’s a childish word, but that’s how I feel. I love your whole presence.

      Thank you for your sweet comment. Thank you for sharing the post, and thanks for just even taking the time to read. I appreciate your time.

  13. yet another brilliant post! thanks for sharing these tips. i loved reading them now that i finally decided to go forward with re-designing my website 🙂

  14. I come from a business and marketing background so I knew once I started taking my blogging and creative entrepreneurship full-time that I would need brand guidelines of some sort. This is a quick and easy way to do that for your blog that doesn’t have to be as intensive as your traditional corporate brand guidelines. I love it!!!


  15. Amazing! Thank you so much for this helpful advice. It’s my first time in your blog and I loved it ♥! (I subscribed in Bloglovin’)
    Right now I’m working in changing the fonts and a little bit the watermark design. This info is very helpful! Thanks Regina 😀

  16. Wow, thanks for this. I’m trying really hard to get my blog going again and making it become something I’m proud of. I’m definitely going to incorporate this into my 2015 plan.

  17. Wow!! Great information. I’ve been all thru your tips. I’m still in design phase. Literally just bought the domain yesterday. Thank u thank u thank u for sharing!!!!

  18. Regina you’re such a #BlogBoss taking it ALL in. Honestly it never even occurred to me that my blog needed to be branded as well. DUHHH. You’d think after all that thought and care I put into my site I wouldn’t want to go messing it up with a janky blog. Thanks!

  19. Great Post!
    Consistency is very important point to keep in consideration while having a blog. although its blog Post or blog style consistency it make your blogging brand image in readers minds.

  20. Hi Regina,

    I become great fans of your blog. Not only you provide great content, but also an excellent style and not to mention with consistency. The more I read your post the more I am loving them.
    Content are real useful for a day to day life of a blogger.
    Your magazine style of blog post’s titles are amazing. I became big fan of yours.
    I wish I can just copy your style on my blog also lol.
    Actually recently I am started to use Pinterest that is how I found your blog by repinning your pins I think. Now all the time I have your blog open in one tab for reading and getting inspiration to move on Pinterest.
    Any how I am trying to put together a course based on Pinterest and Amazon business model. I love to get some help from you regarding branding and launching my course. If you have some time.

    With lot of respect
    Best Regards

  21. this so fabulous! and I love your designs, I am so not a designer but want to start offering more template freebies for my readers, I use canva and PS but I suck at design and need to learn how to make more icons and make it visually appealing any tips or a post? thanks so much.

  22. Hi Regina! Thanks you so much for sharing all these great Info’s! I just made a fashion article and I discovered your post a week too late, I wish I had browsed more in your blog sooner…! 🙂

  23. Just came across a post of yours in Pinterest, and started to rabbit trail many of your posts. I’m new at all this, a 40+ something wanna be crafty superstar. I probably missed it, but how can I be notified of blog posts? Your blog is super helpful, practical, easy to read and stylin! Love it! Really love the idea of a style guide.

    At the end of last year I purchased a domain w/ blue host and this year my goal is to launch a word press blog. I have so many questions, I don’t even know where to start! I started with a bloodspot blog but then read that wordpress has many more benefits, would you agree? Also- do I need a website and a blog? I am sort of confused about the difference. My 20 yr old daughter says I’m tech challenged, I want to prove her wrong. 😉

  24. A woman after my own heart! Seriously, this is AMAZING! I love when somebody gives me the nitty gritty breakdown process of something. Not that I’m incapable of doing it myself… But my husband says I am a “depth first search” thinker. Which pretty much means I get so wrapped up in the details that I get completely overwhelmed and then mentally shut down and reject the project before me. So THANK YOU!

  25. We are in the middle of updating our blog and will be applying many of your tips and sound advice as we move forward. Always super inspiring, plus I love how you give us the tools to work it out. On to success!

  26. This is EXACTLY what I needed to get my head around how to move forward.

    Your information is always of a superior quality. No fluff around here! I am continually impressed with your blog posts and products. I keep poking around other sites for blogging advice but inevitably come back here to get the “real deal” advice that I need.
    Thanks for all your hard work and being so generous with your insights!

  27. Hello There! I just want to say thanks for all the wonderful information you have been putting out into the blogosphere. I have been using your “How to write a blog business plan” post to create my plan and I have finished all sections except…. the style guide. I was like uhhh how am I supposed to put this thing together and then I saw this post and I am like hmmm why didn’t I see the link to this earlier haha.

    Anyways I want you to know you are appreciated and I am so grateful for you and how simple you break things down for anyone to understand. I am excited to launch my blog in the next couple weeks and using your Business Plan Guide has made me so much more organized and confident about becoming a blogger. Thanks so much!

  28. Hi Regina! I have been looking at all the advice I can find on starting a blog. I keep finding my way to your pages. You are awesome, inspirational and offer very good advice. I can’t wait to get started. I just wanted to let you know how I appreciate you and what you do.

  29. Ms. Regina,

    Please, if you are ever in the NJ/NY/PA area, let me buy you a drink! I am a brand-spankin’-new blogger and you have made this journey so much less painful for this newbie! 🙂 Thank you so much for all of your expertise and wonderful guides!


    1. Michelle, I will take you up on that offer, especially if the drink contains tequila or fermented grapes. Congratulations on starting your new fun blog, and thank you for your sweet comment.

  30. This. Is. AMAZING. I tend to get overwhelmed with figuring out my “style” – in part because I’m such a sucker for new shiny things (ooh, turquoise and gold!). It’s made my “look” all over the place. This is going to help me focus – thank you, Regina!

  31. This post has been so helpful for me! I’ve been using it as a major resource when I create style guides for clients and referring others here when they ask me about a style sheet for their blog.

    Oddly, it’s not that easy to explain a style sheet in simple terms so thank you for doing that for me 😉

    – Elle Ay Esse

  32. This was EXACTLY what I have been looking for. A style guide is a necessity for my blog right now, because things have become disorganized! Thank you for putting together such a perfect list and step by step. You’ve remembered every detail for me!

  33. So glad I found this post. I’m planning on starting a blog and this post was really helpful as well as some other posts I’ve discovered on your blog. Look forward to reading more so thank you!

  34. You’re info is seriously great! I found your blogs through Pinterest. I pinned one some time ago, and thought, “I will read this sooner or later.” It so should have been sooner! I have been “blogging” for some time, but not seriously. I am trying to take my blog to the next level and your posts have been so helpful! Thank you so much for sharing your information with us! I seriously need to update my logo, so that will be something I will work on in the near future! Thanks again!

  35. Thank you for the tips! I never realized before I started that you do almost as much work promoting your blog on social media than you do actually working on your blog! Picking a ‘style’ is a great suggestion!

  36. Thank you for this guide. I’ve been reading your blog for months now and I’ve just started implementing them religiously recently. One of your posts in #GoIndependent was a fill-in-the-blank of one thing we wanted to get done this weekend. I’m very proud to say that I finally finished my brand/blog style guide this past weekend. It was eating me up that it was just sitting in my docs for months unattended and I made the decision to do it.

    For my blog however, I decided to put the full brand identity design elements into one poster pdf (which a copy hangs on my wall); the tone, blog/post specifics, etc in another document as the writing style guide; the image inspiration, colors, fonts, and a link to my design templates on Canva were left in my brand guide for Designers. I turned this guide into 3 separate documents and it seems o work for me, plus it got done, so I’m very happy.

    Keep up the awesome work. Looking forward to more stuff.


    You are an effing SUPER HERO! Always Content Creating to the RESCUE!!!! Thank you thank you thank you for this post (and many other equitably as awesome/ helpful/ informative/ visually appealing pieces)! I understood the concept and need for a style guide, but the step by step visual guide and breakdown is saving me mucho horas!!!

  38. Your information is so helpful! I am starting a blog myself and you have made it so easy. I am doing your business plan. And holy cow it’s good. It has helped me a lot! There’s so much that goes into making a blog, that I never would have thought until I came across your blog. So helpful. Thank you so much!

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