You would want your patterns to be as clean, consistent, and recognizable as possible, right? To help you achieve this goal, I’ve gathered here guidelines for complying a style guide or style sheet for yourself. A style guide or style sheet – dear child has many names – is a document that includes detailed instructions for writing your knitting patterns.
Knitting patterns in magazines or other pattern publications usually follow a set, uniform style characteristic for that particular publication. The aforementioned style of pattern writing contains technical details like terminology, abbreviations, fonts and font sizes, structure of the pattern, style of schematics and photos, how things are phrased etc. In other words, all these details make up the style of a pattern and set a standard of what to expect in the eyes of a pattern buyer.
When it comes to magazines and other pattern collections, a situation where the style of presenting technical details and writing patterns would vary drastically from one pattern to another, is almost impossible. At least, a nonuniform style would make the publication look very unprofessional. Do you already have a favorite publication in which all information is presented in a very user-friendly way, written instructions are exceptionally clear, or you love the styling of the knits?
A uniform style of pattern writing is achieved and retained by the use of a style guide that includes all relevant instructions for writing the patterns for the brand in question. Therefore, pattern publishers usually create very detailed style guides for themselves and ask the designers to follow the given instructions. In the end, it is a job of a tech editor to make sure this will happen.
However, one doesn’t have to be a big, shiny brand to have a style guide. That is to say, any self-publishing designer will benefit from complying guidelines for their patterns. You as a designer can achieve this by determining your style, making choices, and gathering all details in one document. Here you can find some advantages a style guide could give you:
A style guide
1. helps you in creating and retaining your personal style as a designer,
2. works as a valuable checklist for yourself and the tech editor who checks your patterns, and
3. helps you in creating a personal and recognizable designer brand.
Next up, I’m phrasing some guidelines on how to to comply a style guide for yourself. Your personalized style guide could be as general or as detailed as you like, the style is free. However, it should include everything you think is relevant for how you want your patterns to be. To help you start making a style guide, I’ve gathered here a list of things to consider while making one, and you can make up more details as you go. So, go through these elements step by step and define, how you want everything to be.
Structure of the pattern
Naming of the sizes
List of abbreviations
Instructions for phrasing things
Instructions for finishing the work
Your contact details
To sum up, there are no set rules for making a style guide as long as it is accurate enough for your needs, up to date, and works for you. In addition, the layout can be anything you like. Here’s a pretty neat example by Kephren Knitting Studio.
In conclusion, I do recommend considering a style guide as an ever-evolving collection of instructions for yourself and your tech editor. Therefore, keep updating it whenever you come up with improvements or additions for your patterns. Moreover, if you come up any further details to include in a style guide, loved to hear in the comments!
Further reading: Is technical editing worth investing?
If you need support in creating a style guide or style sheet, I’m more than happy to help!
Are you looking for a tech editor? Don’t hesitate to contact me!