You came up with the idea—now is your chance to write the rule book. A Quick Reference Guide ensures that your original design intent is maintained as the idea moves from conception through production and beyond. Since clarity is the goal, a good guide is essential. Everything pertinent to the design—style, form, composition, and conventions—is contained in one document that provides an orientation for those unfamiliar with the concept. Therefore, it must be easy to digest, yet thorough enough to convey necessary information to a wide variety of people.
Begin your Quick Reference Guide as early in the process as you can. This will offer you a chance to clearly articulate your team’s design rationale as soon as you begin making decisions. Then the document can evolve along with the project, eventually containing all of the information that defines the design. When completed the document should answer these questions: What is it? What are the elements? How does it work?