Overview – Style guide
A style guide, or style manual, is a set of standards for the organisation’s communications. Every organisation has its own style of communicating that reflects its internal brand: who it is and what it stands for. A style guide ensures this style is maintained over time. It provides relevant information for employees, and for external suppliers such as graphic designers and printers.
A style guide includes rules and guidelines for:
– Writing: communication style, grammar, punctuation, spelling, abbreviations, and use of capital letters.
– Graphic design: typography, use of logos, colour palettes, etc.
– Online: style and format.
Hard-copy formats of the style guide are useful for employees who may refer to it frequently. An online style guide enables ready reference as well as the capacity to download logos, templates, etc.
This tactic is useful for:
✓ Maintaining the organisation’s internal brand elements.
✓ Communicating consistently with clarity and precision.
✓ Establishing correct usage of non-discriminatory language.
✓ Facilitating a consistent style across collaborative writing projects.
Things to consider:
⇒ Determine the scope of your style guide. In addition to rules, guidelines and information regarding corporate identity, language usage, and preferred style, determine if it will also include reference material, such as a glossary, acronym buster, templates, and logos.
⇒ Conduct lunch-time information sessions on how to use the style guide to promote widespread application across the organisation.
⇒ Decide the format of your style guide. Will it be available in hard copy, as well as a digital copy on the intranet?
⇒ Promote availability of the style guide at induction sessions.
⇒ Update at least annually to accommodate changes in convention and usage.
Use the style guide for establishing the naming conventions within your organisation. For example, the term you use to refer to the people in your workforce establishes how they are perceived by the organisation. Those terms may include staff, employees, associates, team members, our people and many others.