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10 Digital Style Guide Examples from Famous Companies such as Apple, Google & Starbucks



10 Digital Style Guide Examples from Famous Companies such as Apple, Google & Starbucks

If you’ve ever wondered how designers at Apple defined every little element in iOS as they were building it, then you’re in the right place.

As technology is constantly evolving, web design continues to become more formalized. Web designers and developers need to create code that can translate seamlessly from PC to mobile devices, make easy to understand site navigation, and innovate other site capabilities — these are all elements that companies standardize in digital style guides.

Digital style guides have become more useful to a brand’s overall image and memorability on the web because they set the expectations and standards for company web display. They’re especially important for websites and products that need to produce top-notch user experiences.

In this post, we’ll dive into what digital style guides are in detail and show you some impressive examples from famous companies that have done them well.

This type of style guide is to be treated as a manual that sets design standards for a company’s digital presence. Its key purpose is to create a universal design style for the brand and ensure consistency across all channels and mediums, where you establish your logo, color palette, typography, imagery guidelines, and so on.

Unlike brand style guides that encapsulate a company’s logo, mission statement, buyer personas and tone of voice, web design style guides are centered on digital presentation like UX/UI.

But, as a UX designer myself, I’ve always been curious, what can you find in the digital style guides of influential companies like Apple, Google, and Starbucks?

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Believe it or not, a lot of companies make this information publicly available — they just don’t make it very easy to find. So, every time that I stumble across one, I bookmark it. Here are some of the best ones that I’ve found so far.

Examples of Awesome Digital Style Guides

1. Apple iOS

Apple’s style guide is especially interesting because it details how to design an entire operating system. Monterey, one of the latest versions of Apple’s OS X, has a more simplified user interface than its predecessor, Yosemite. Apple demonstrates this subtle-yet-palpable distinction with really nice graphical comparisons and then goes on to talk about the rationale behind every single aspect of the operating system’s design. It gives you a window into the minds of the designers.

web style guide examples: Apple iOS

2. Google: Material Design

Google pioneered a design style called Material Design, which exists as a hybrid between Skeuomorphic Design (gradients, textures, light elements) and Flat Design (simple, colorful, geometrical.) In doing this, they combined the benefits associated with each design style, while avoiding the drawbacks.


Because Google has been practicing Material Design for a few years now, you’ve probably already interacted with it on a daily basis — Google Calendar app, anyone? This style guide details exactly what Material Design is and how Google uses it. And I have to say that it is, by far, one of the best style guides that I’ve ever come across.

web style guide examples: Google Material Design

3. Starbucks

This is one of the most minimalistic style guides that I’ve seen — and yet, it houses a ton of useful information. It places a heavy emphasis on code and you can tell that it was built by developers, for developers. It lacks brand-related elements, so it walks the line between a website style guide and code library.

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web style guide examples: starbucks

4. Atlassian

The product suite that Atlassian designs for is gigantic — so, naturally, they have a gigantic style guide. From foundational elements (like color palette and typography) to components (like tables and tooltips) to a full-blown pattern library, this guide has just about everything that you would expect from a product of this size.

Perhaps best of all, the rationale behind the entire style guide is summed up in three deceptively simple terms on the home page.

web style guide examples: atlassian

5. Mozilla

This digital style guide is primarily concerned with branding and communications. But with Mozilla taking a “privacy and open web” approach lately, it’s cool to see how they reflect this in their design.

Mozilla’s homepage also does a great job of outlining how its UX/UI is supposed to be accessible to people with visual impairments or disabilities — something inclusive and necessary as technology becomes more innovative.

web style guide examples: mozilla

6. Buffer

Buffer’s style guide is small and concise, going from grid through modals all in one place. It’s a friendly reminder that your digital style guide doesn’t have to be flashy if it communicates all the right points. Companies looking for somewhere to begin can take notes from Buffer’s simplistic style guide components and build their own from there.

web style guide examples: buffer

7. Yelp

If you’re looking for a solid example of a website style guide, Yelp’s got that covered. Not only is it thorough, but it explains its Atomic Design system as a cookbook, and divides site elements as ingredients contributing to a dish.


This thing has it all: typography, layout, forms, containers, navigation, and code snippets for each piece. They do a great job of explaining what each element is, where it should be used, and how it should be implemented.

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web style guide examples: yelp


England’s government services website has been widely heralded as a prime example of high-quality UX. Why? Because it boasts a simple and easy-to-use design that accommodates excessive amounts of information.

If you’re interested in what makes up a truly clean and effective design (hint: it usually starts with strong color usage, typography, and spacing), then GOV.UK’s style guide is worth taking a close look at. Much like the site, it’s very simple but very informative.

web style guide examples:

9. DeviantArt

The new DeviantArt style guide is unique because it’s more than just a guide — it’s an experience. It tells a story and leverages bold, full-width visuals to immerse the user in the emotional experience of the DeviantArt brand. That being said, it’s strictly a branding style guide, so only items like color and typography are covered.

web style guide examples: DeviantArt

10. Disqus

Color, icons, typography, and logo … Disqus keeps it short and sweet with this guide. But it’s all presented in a very nice, organized manner. This guide could be used as a great example for “where to start” when creating a style guide of your own, as it hits all of the fundamentals.

web style guide examples: disqus

Feeling Inspired to Make Your Own Guide?

Now it’s your turn. By leveraging a digital style guide in your company, you can communicate your brand’s design language to internal designers, agencies, advertising partners, and even customers.

Start with the basic foundational elements (color, typography, logo, imagery), add some usage guidelines (“do and don’t”), and even incorporate some web components if you need to (modules, templates, code snippets. Use examples from other companies to learn from the best. Your team will be cranking out consistent designs in no time.

examples of brilliant homepage, blog, and landing page design

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B2B customer journeys that begin at review sites are significantly shorter



B2B customer journeys that begin at review sites are significantly shorter

The B2B customer journey can be a long one, especially when the purchase of expensive software subscriptions is under consideration.

“The average B2B customer journey takes 192 days from anonymous first touch to won,” according to Dreamdata in their 2022 B2B Go-to-Market Benchmarks — a statistic described by co-founder and CMO Steffen Hedebrandt as “alarming.”

But the report also indicates that this journey can be significantly sped up — by as much as 63% — if accounts begin their research at software review sites, gathering information and opinions from their peers. Journeys that originate at a review site often lead to deals of higher value too.

Fragmented data on the customer journey. Dreamdata is a B2B go-to-market platform. In any B2B company, explained Hedebrandt, there are typically 10 or even 20 data silos that contain fragments of the customer journey. Website visits, white paper downloads, social media interactions, webinar or meeting attendance, demos, and of course intent data from review site visits — this data doesn’t typically sit in one place within an organization.

“We built an account-based data model because we believe that there’s such a thing as an account journey and not an individual journey,” said Hedebrandt. “So if there are two, three or five people representing an account, which is typically what you see in B2B, all of these touches get mapped into the same timeline.”

Among those many touches is the intent data sourced from software review site G2. Dreamdata has an integration with G2 and a G2 dashboard allowing visualization of G2-generated intent data. This includes filtering prospects who are early in their journey, who have not yet discovered the customer’s product, or who have discovered it but are still searching. This creates a basis for attributing pipelines, conversions and revenue to the activity.

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“Strategically, our ideal customer profile is a B2B software-as-a-service company,” said Hedenbrandt. “B2B SaaS companies are particularly ripe for understanding this digital customer journey; their main investment is in digital marketing, they have a salesforce that use software tools to do this inside sales model; and they also deliver their product digitally as well.” What’s more, it takes twice as long to close SaaS deal as it does to close deals with B2B commercial and professional services companies.


Read next: A look at the tech review space

The Benchmarks findings. The conclusions of the 2022 Benchmarks report is based on aggregated, anonymized data from more than 400 Dreamdata user accounts. Focusing on first-touch attribution (from their multi-touch model), Dreamdata found that customer journeys where a review site is the first touch are 63% shorter than the average. In contrast, where the first touch channel is social, the journey is much longer than average (217%); it’s the same when paid media is the first touch (155%).

As the Benchmarks report suggests, this may well mean that social is targeting prospects that are just not in-market. It makes sense that activity on a review site is a better predictor of intent.

Hedenbrandt underlines the importance of treating the specific figures with caution. “It’s not complete science what we’ve done,” he admits, “but it’s real data from 400 accounts, so it’s not going to be completely off. You can only spend your time once, and at least from what we can see here it’s better to spend your time collecting reviews than writing another Facebook update.”

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While Dreamdata highlights use of G2, Hedenbrandt readily concedes that competitor software review sites might reasonably be expected to show similar effects. “Definitely I would expect it to be similar.”

Why we care. It’s not news that B2B buyers researching software purchases use review sites and that those sites gather and trade in the intent data generated. Software vendors encourage users to post reviews. There has been a general assumption that a large number of hopefully positive reviews is a good thing to have.

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What Dreamdata’s findings indicate is that the effect of review sites on the buyer journey — especially as the first-touch channel — can be quantified and a value placed on it. “None of us questioned the value of reviews, but during this process you can actually map it into a customer journey where you can see the journey started from G2, then flowed into sales meetings, website visits, ads, etc. Then we can also join the deal value to the intent that started from G2.”

Likely, this is also another example of B2B learning from B2C. People looking at high consideration B2C purchases are now accustomed to seeking advice both from friends and from online reviews. The same goes for SaaS purchases, Hedenbrandt suggests: “More people are turning to sites like G2 to understand whether this is a trustworthy vendor or not. The more expensive it is, the more validation you want to see.”

About The Author


Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

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He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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