There are so many good reasons for any team to build a living style guide, but one of the most obvious ones for me, given the movement of talent in the industry, is for onboarding new talent into projects. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen designers join a project and be expected to start rolling out designs straight away and more often than not, fail to meet any sprint deadline due to the huge learning curve and asset collating they go through.
I always try and think of what I would want when I join an agency and a living style guide is a perfect place to accumulate everything someone new will need. The most common elements are fonts, icons, PSD’s, style guides, pdf’s and so on. These can all be built into a living style guide, so not only can they download the files, but they can view how they are made up and work in the real scenario.
Hopefully, if the style guide is not an afterthought, it would be current, which is in the sorting of working files can be very confusing. Of course giving a designer a sketch file or access to a creative cloud library of colours, components etc that they can drag and drop into layouts, already speeds things up.
Designers shouldn’t be focussing too much time on designing pages, they should be working with these components and utilising what’s already been built and build on from that.
Onboarding is easy when you have all the working assets in one place, with a reference you can actually interact with which allows you to work in a modular manner and will help new designers get up to speed quickly, focussing on smaller tasks which will make getting into things, even faster. Another win for living style guides.