A style tile is a type of design deliverable that allows high-fidelity designers to visualize various visual directions for their ideas. It’s where a design’s or product’s visual language is defined. In addition, this visual tool supports the development of online and mobile applications by allowing for the exploration of new terrain. Consider it an opportunity for designers and clients to experiment with different design aspects before settling on one.
Why Do You Need a Style Tile?
A style tile’s biggest strength is that it immediately sets the foundation for building a system rather than one appealing page. Because a good website must be updated on a regular basis, we need a design approach that accommodates this.
When it comes to website design, it’s always a delicate balancing act between giving credit to specific, existing content and establishing a flexible framework for future content additions and changes. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the details of a mockup and lose sight of the overall picture. That assumption is turned on its head by a style tile.
Surprises are annoying—no one likes being caught off guard by anything unexpected. For example, imagine being given a bicycle when you were expecting a motorcycle. The vehicle is adequate for carrying you from point A to point B, but not in the manner in which you had hoped. Similarly, a style tile is an excellent way to perform a check to ensure that everything is on track and moving in the right direction.
The overall tone and appearance of a website are captured in style tiles. A short glance should immediately capture the sensation of “bright, joyful, and energetic” or “upscale and luxurious” for a client.
If it doesn’t, a designer can start fine-tuning the details to get a better fit right away. When viewed as a snapshot, minor modifications such as a typeface that doesn’t feel quite right or a color that’s too bold can be quickly noticed and modified. However, it can be difficult to notice these small adjustments when looking at a full-page mockup.
Early client involvement also guarantees that their ideas are acknowledged, and it establishes a collaborative working environment in which the final product may be shaped together. We can swiftly and simply course correct without waiting until we’ve gone too far off course by bridging the gap between a client’s “here’s what I’m looking for” and the designer’s “here it is!” As a result, the process runs considerably more smoothly for everyone.
It’s not so much about saving time as it is about optimizing it. Rather than wasting time on a website design that will be discarded, we can focus our efforts on higher-return, bigger-picture components like improving the layout to speed up a user’s checkout process or creating a memorable onboarding experience.
Style tiles also train a designer to think in terms of creating broad placeholders and then fine-tuning them as needed for specific content requirements. Again, this happens organically as you work through a single-page prototype. Still, if you’re not deliberately focusing on the broader picture, it’s easy to lose track of the common threads.
Any successful design is made up of several small features that have been put together in an artistic and intelligent manner. When work is invested upfront in developing such elements, the end product will have the same polish and thoughtfulness. There will still be some effort spent balancing style tile aspects to make them fit in the context of a full-page design, but it’s easier to refine rather than recreate. As the need for more pages and components develops, establishing a structure will make it easy to add extra pieces down the line.
The main goal of producing style tiles is to visually explore several aesthetics before plunging into creating a slew of high-fidelity models. They give designers the creative flexibility to try things on, which helps them make better judgments and ensures that the designs are in tune with the brand and product they’re working on. As a designer, implementing them will save you and your client time while also ensuring that you and all your stakeholders are on the same page.