Building a stylescape is one of the great first steps to any design project. A stylescape allows clients to ‘preview’ concepts prior to a designer investing time in full on mockups. For the designer, a stylescape helps them limit and focus their design view.
So where does a stylescape come along in the process?
Typically a client creative brief is already created. The designer has had the opportunity to interview the client and create some key visual words that they will use to create the stylescape (or stylescapes – it is often wise to create several options even if a few only differ slightly). Once a stylescape is created, the client can provide feedback. This neutral input allows the designer to hone and edit styles prior to creating mockups.
Building your stylescape
Your stylescape comes together with your research. That curation and collection of ideas is the fun part. One you have those pieces, you can begin to tell the design story. I like the 10.5″ x 56″ format that Chris Do shares in the video below, but play with what works with you. This post gives you some starter tips to create a correctly size document in Photoshop.
Adobe walks you through how to create a “brand guide,” which is similar to a style guide but often includes verbal as well as visuals and rules around use. Think of the brand guide as a how to manual and the stylescape as the inspiration piece.
Chris Do, the creative director of Blind, is a great teacher of design. In this video he and José Caballer go through their stylescape process.
A link to Blind – some other visuals on creating stylescapes.
I love finding inspiration on Behance. Here are some of my favorites:
This shows you two different aesthetics, which could offer an idea on how to narrowly tailor a design. I love that you really see audience intended and the marketing character profile here.
A great technique for a beginning or exploring designer is to revisit a popular brand for rebranding or try to capture a company brand.