A good style guide can take your organisation’s documents to the next level.
Companies and professional organisations often go to great effort and expense to develop a visual brand that reflects their values and creates a strong identity. However, many don’t give the same attention to the words that go alongside it.
A good style guide will improve the standard of your documents, making them professional, consistent, and easier to read.
A style guide doesn’t have to be long; two pages are more than enough to get the main points across.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
So you have a stunning logo and a striking colour palette that really reflects what your organisation stands for. But is it applied across all your documents and publications? Your style guide should make it clear that every document, from business cards to your annual report, must comply with your brand.
Decide on a style and have your IT department or designers set up an email signature for every employee that contains any contact details, disclaimers or logos you need to include. It looks great, and sets you apart from your competition.
Spelling, grammar and punctuation
Your style guide should include some pointers on grammar and punctuation. It should specify things like whether you use UK or US English, how capital letters should be used, and a style for paragraph headings and bullet lists. It’s all about being correct, and being consistent.
Numbers, dates and times
Decide on a style for writing dates, times, percentages, etc., and make sure everyone sticks to it!
Tables and figures
If you produce technical reports, or use graphics to represent information, then something as simple as making sure captions are consistent and a colour palette is adhered to can make a huge difference to how professional your finished product will look.
Photos and graphics
In the age of smartphones and tablets, we’re all photographers, but if you’re publishing an image, particularly in printed material, it needs to look good. Your style guide should specify that photos need to be high definition (at least 300dpi), reasonably large (1mb is good) and of publishable quality.
And don’t forget to include accurate captions!
At Think Media, we develop and apply style guides for our clients, and we’d be happy to work with you to develop the perfect style guide for your organisation. Taking the time to develop a style guide will add value to your publications, as well as saving everyone time and effort in the long run.