Begin the Year With Style
January is a great month to start new projects, so perhaps you should consider adding the creation of a style guide to your to-do list. What’s a style guide? It addresses all the elements found in your written materials, including logo and color use as well as company-specific verbiage rules.
Most large companies have extensive style guides that are used as a resource by both employees and vendors. Their existence eliminates inconsistencies and cuts down on time-consuming questions about the “right way” to present copy and images in communications pieces.
Your style guide doesn’t have to be extensive, and it can certainly be informal. By providing some direction regarding your company’s written and artistic style to those involved in creative endeavors, you’ll streamline the production process while ensuring the end result is consistent with your brand.
Here are a few things to consider including in your style guide with respect to the written word:
- Heading style (initial caps, first word only, etc.)
- Use of contractions (yes or no)
- Spacing (after periods, between lines, etc.)
- Capitalization (for job titles, product names, etc.)
- Comma use (serial comma–red, white, and blue–or not)
- Font preference (Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, etc.)
- Voice and tone (active versus passive, first versus third person, etc.)
You may also want to include items that are specific to your company, e.g., a glossary of commonly used words and phrases, and even personal pet peeves, such as limiting the use of the word “that” and the phrase “in order” (two of mine). In addition, remember that your style guide should always be a work in progress, since you may find new rules to add all the time.
Feel free to contact me if you need some advice to get started. I’d be happy to help you kick off 2013 by defining your style.
Do you know businesses that could benefit from my writing or editing expertise, or book authors who need a talented editor? I’ll treat your referrals like gold and you’ll be viewed as a superstar for making the introduction.
adriennemoch.com • firstname.lastname@example.org • 619-291-4645