Content style guidesPractical, invaluable and stylish
There are some excellent editorial style guides out there that you can decide to adopt. We’ve reviewed our favourite examples of content style guides.
But for the ultimate in stylishness, it’s hard to beat having your own style guide.
A good content style guide also saves time and money, allowing different teams, agencies and freelancers to function smoothly together and create great user experiences across your website, email and social media (and beyond).
Elements of style
Style guides mean different things to different people. Developers see them as a source of code; to designers they’re about visual identity; editors think of them as defining rules about capitalisation and spelling.
We think that the best style guides combine strands of work to become a invaluable tool for anyone creating or working with content.
Everyone’s style is different, but in our content style guides we like to include:
Voice and tone
Voice defines how the brand is expressed in words and pictures, and tone describes how the content flexes in different contexts, without losing its sense of identity.
We create examples of different aspects of an organisation’s personality that put the voice and tone into practice.
Foundational beliefs about content and how it’s produced keep everyone rowing together in efficient and effective harmony.
How you write as an organisation – how you use punctuation, how you capitalise – should be consistent and intrinsically connected to who you are.
Carefully chiselled building blocks of content can be especially useful for describing an organisation and its work.
How we make content style guides
We prefer to build style guides that live and breathe on the web, rather than PDFs that tend to get filed away and gather digital dust.
We use a static site generator to create online style guides that are:
- easily accessible on any device,
- beautifully usable,
- lightning fast,
- easily editable and
- not a technical drain on resources.
We wrote a post about the technical tools we looked at (and then chose to use) to build online style guides for Greenpeace and ActionAid.
How we made a voice, tone and style guide for Greenpeace
Greenpeace UK were in the process of building a new website. They realised that how they expressed themselves as an organisation was buried in staff heads. The way they wrote was sometimes inconsistent as a result. The way that they described themselves, their work and their issues also needed some clarification. They came to us for help.