Art Deco of Sunset Style Guide

I've always been interested in style guides. All designers love popping the hood and looking in to the decisions and elemental building blocks behind the "how" and the "why" of beautiful designs. I've learned the more I ground my decisions on intentions and logic the more I feel comfortable publishing/releasing my work, and honestly I sleep better at night.

The Art Deco of Sunset is no exception. I started with a base 10 measurement scheme, I tried to keep all shapes, strokes, and border radiuses divisible by 10 and on occasion I'd use a 45 px shape or a 5 px stroke when necessary.

Detail of of home, 18 Ave between Kirkham and Lawton

Every opportunity to round down up or down to 10, I took it. Every time I could simplify where intersections met, I took it. As I started illustrating more complicated objects, I started seeing balanced and stable relationships between forms and depth.

When these elements grew to an unmanageable amount I made a style guide to have something to log my decision making with.

The next steps would have to be standardizing slightly more complicated forms like windows and building trim. My older pieces have one-off exceptions, some are necessary, others aren't.

Window details of past pieces

As a designer/artist, I need to decide when to judiciously differentiate shapes and when to unify them and that's what makes this project so fun. Going back and fixing work can be a hassle but the edits improve individual pieces and the series as a whole. 

I recently fell in love with Airbnb's blog post in late May about building their visual language. Keeping in mind how their UI building blocks actually get used in real UX practice, they took fundamental ui and put it around other elements. The example they use is an avatar and how it'll always be accompanied by a user name and caption. So why not formalize the way those elements look in as many possibilities as possible?

Instead of relying on individual atoms, we started considering our components as elements of a living organism. They have a function and personality, are defined by a set of properties, can co-exists with others and can evolve independently. A unified design language should not just be a set of static rules and individual atoms, but an evolving ecosystem.

Well put, Karri Saarinen.

The next step in the Art Deco of Sunset's style guide would be uniting how common elements interact like Airbnb's visual system. I have a few atoms to build compounds. Now I need to make to use those compounds to build living organisms.