Free download! Visual style guide for documents and web pages

visual style guide for documents and web pages

Tax dollars at work! The U.S. government has published draft visual style guidelines for web sites. You can download their font files and color swatches. The guide is intended for government web sites, but you can apply the same advice and resources to your brochures, and white papers.

Aside from the free downloads, the online guide shows you how to pair fonts and colors for attractive, readable and accessible designs. Assemble the pieces you like to create your visual style guide for documents and web pages.

For ideas about how to apply these fonts and colors to page layouts, check out the NASA Graphics Standards.

This visual guide recommends the fonts Source Sans Pro and Merriweather for typography. These are open-source fonts that anyone can use, and available in the download. (These fonts are intended specifically for online use, unlike the Microsoft Office fonts that I recommend for printed documents.)

Design Documents and Web Sites for Accessibility

These design elements conform to section 508 for accessibility. The government requires that information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies be accessible by users with disabilities. You may not need to adhere to section 508 in your work, but it doesn’t hurt if you get it for free.

Beyond the visual style guide, these guidelines contain a bunch more stuff about web page design. Most of this information you likely won’t need. But if you’re making a web site or blog with free tools like WordPress (used for this site) then you might find the additional guidance useful.

Using a consistent visual style increases the strength of your brand and your marketing impact. Consistency also simplifies your design process.

(NASA Graphics Standards and other books mentioned in this blog are available in the bookstore.)

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