Voice, tone, and style for the University of NottinghamExtending a new brand into content, creating a content style guide and training staff
The University of Nottingham had done lots of work on its brand proposition and visual identity. They were lacking a recognisable, consistent voice and flexible tones.
They had a brand website that was in need of some TLC and a limited editorial style guide in PDF form, which they wanted to upgrade to an online content style guide.
The many staff creating content needed clear voice, tone and style guidelines with tangible examples.
Research and design
We conceptualised and designed a brand and content style guide that balanced content design principles and accessibility best practice with clear guidance for producing inspiring, on-brand content.
We did internal research, analysing existing documentation and talking to a range of users in order to tease out, consolidate and prioritise a set of user stories. We also assessed and documented the strengths and weaknesses of other style guides.
We created an easy-to-understand content model in diagrammatic form to define what would live in the content style guide and what would be signposted to, and how different elements related to each other. We created an information architecture with clear, consistent navigation, labelling and tagging.
Engagement and creative
We turned all of this knowledge, insight and strategy into a content style guide; collaborating with staff to create a great product.
We ran workshops in order to boil down what makes the University of Nottingham unique and evolved the existing “tone of voice” into a flexible voice and tone toolkit.
We crafted real-world examples of the voice and tone attributes in practice, demonstrating how they can be applied.
We wrote, rewrote and edited guidelines, ensuring they effectively carried the intended message and exemplified all their own rules and conventions.
The University of Nottingham has a really useful, usable brand and content style guide that includes principles, voice and tone, messaging, and accessibility best practice, as well as editorial style, and visual identity. It’s easy to navigate and is full of examples.
You can see the final (unstyled) content for the brand and content style guide online.
Contentious just get it! And they’re really easy to work with.