Posts Tagged ‘style guide’

Keeping Your Message Consistent with a Style Guide

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Let’s say that you work for a company that makes toothpicks. You’re a brand new hire. On your first day, you set up your email, and the IT guy tells you that everyone usually makes a simple email footer with their contact information and the company motto. You ask what the company motto is. “Our toothpicks are the best”, he says.

Later in the day, you get an email from someone else in the company. In their email footer, the motto is “Our toothpicks are really great”. Puzzled, you start noticing everyone’s email footer has a different motto. They are all similar, but slightly different. Soon, you start to notice that on brochures and advertisements, the motto changes slightly over and over as well.

Finally you make it to the people in charge and ask them what’s going on. You ask them: how will people remember our motto if it changes all the time? The answer you get is simply no one has gotten around to standardizing it.