A responsive style guide reads like the autobiography of your site across multiple devices, enabling others to understand, interact, and extend your site. In one document, a style guide takes all of the knowledge and experience stored in one person (or a team) and lays it out in black and white. A style guide tells the story of a design system; explaining design thinking and enabling your current or future team, to take action.
A successful brand revolves around great copy and clear typography. When it comes to responsive design a style guide is pivotal in ensuring content is readable across multi-devices and creating a brand that sings with one unified voice.
A unified responsive style guides makes it easier to spot and test where design and development break. In one document designers can see how components adapt to different screen widths and visual breaks between multi-devices. On the other hand, a responsive style guide exposes code snippets that can be used for quick implementation while also giving a developer a platform to identify browser bugs, and media queries.
Don’t wait until you’re near the end of a project to get your style guide started. It should be something that is worked on throughout the agile process. Incorporating a style guide throughout this process enables any person on the project to see all of the elements of the site at a granular level. Carefully adding to your style guide as you progress by placing assets into the folder makes it easy for your team to find and work with fonts, logos, wireframes, universal grids, and photoshop mockups.
A side benefit of injecting the responsive style guide early into the design and development process is the ability to quickly change the visual look of an individual element. Using CSS principles ensures you start with the general, large picture items first, and then add more details as you move along.
Once you’ve successfully implemented one responsive style guide, it can be reused and tweaked to fit the needs of your next project. Sure the visual design of each element will change but the pattern should not have to. Also, include documentation in your photoshop mockups throughout layers and be sure that they are in sync with the CSS of your responsive style guide. This documentation will ensure easy team hand offs and simple friendly communication when the site needs to be updated in the future.
Ultimately a style guide belongs to the brand. Through clear documentation your responsive style guide can remain a tool that will be used to ensure continuity between team members and devices.