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So what will be the format of your style guide? Will it be a custom book or brochure, will it be on the web as a micro site, will the pages be laser printed and put into a binder, or will it be a screen PDF, possibly an interactive PDF? In the case of the Roux Academy guidelines, I've opted for a simple interactive PDF. This has the following benefits.
It's accessible, it's cheap, and it's flexible. Revisions can easily be made. I'm going to point out a few aspects of its design. The document was created in Adobe InDesign. Since the document is to be viewed onscreen, I've chosen a landscape orientation. Our monitors are wide rather than tall, so this makes the most efficient use of space. I've chosen the page size of U.S. Letter so that if the user wants to print the document they can do so easily.
The table of contents not only provides an overview of the structure of the document, but it's conveniently hyperlinked to the different sections, for easy navigation. All pages have a link back to the Contents page. Because the style guide is intended to be viewed onscreen, I've chosen the typeface designed for screen, Myriad Web Pro, and I've made the size and leading larger than would be necessary for print.
The folio is entered on the master page. As part of the folio I have included a text variable, which will update with the file modification date and time. A style guide is an evolving document subject to revision. Including a Last Modified text variable removes any ambiguity that may arise from there being different versions of the document in circulation. So that the style guide can be distributed as an interactive PDF document, I've included basic navigation controls.
Again, these have been placed on the master page. I have a next button, a last page button, previous page, and a first page button. There is also a link back to the Contents page. Hyperlinks connect to files that are available for download, like the logo and the color palettes. To take advantage of the nature of the interactive PDF, I have set the initial view of the document to Full Screen.
This is an option in your interactive PDF Export settings. This option is also available in Acrobat Professional. Those then are just some of the design choices to consider when making a style guide in the interactive PDF format. For more information about creating interactive PDFs using InDesign, I highly recommend you check out Mike Rankin's InDesign CS6: Interactive Documents in the lynda.com online training library.
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