Lesson 4: Style Guides

Style guides ensure you present your brand in a consistent way, which then aids readability. They help to ensure that multiple authors use one tone. A style guide will also save time and resources by providing an instant answer when questions arise about preferred style. 

It will be your go-to reference for writing about your business across all different mediums. It outlines how to write the key documents in whatever arena it covers, touching on tone of voice, key terms, formatting and (sometimes) design.  

It provides consistency to your brand and will assist you to write clear, concise, confident documents that are understood, read and acted on. 


Why do I need a style guide? 

Consistency 

Consistency and brand communication can suffer if guidelines aren’t in place. This is why a content style guide is invaluable to all business – not matter how big or small. 

A style guide is about defining how you communicate, with your customers and your potential customers.  As much as it is a practical resource, a style guide is also a commitment to more considered content. Grammar, punctuation and formatting all contribute to the quality of your content, a style guide keeps all this in check. 

A style guide is going to continue to evolve as does your business. However essential elements to start with are: 

  • A written overview of the company it’s for 
  • A rationale for the work carried out 
  • Information about logos, font usage, colour palette and tone of voice 
  • Photographic guides 
  • Collateral information. 

Style guides are particularly great at coming to the rescue on any questions that don’t have an easy black-and-white, right-or-wrong answer. 

What to Include in a Style Sheet 

The following is a list of the style information that should be included in a style guide as a minimum: 

  • Punctuation 
  • Capitalisation 
  • Numbers 
  • Lists 
  • Referencing 
  • Dates and Times 
  • Measurement 
  • Abbreviations 
  • Spelling 
  • Fonts/Font Size 
  • Use of Logo 
  • Specific language 
  • Specific client terminology. 

Activity

Download my Tender Style Guide to present your business, your brand and you offering (from the Module 4 downloads lesson).

This template can be used for all different mediums and should be continually updated.