style guide

Scan These 2 Style Guides & Harvest What's Relevant For Your OrgMy recent article on the what, why and how of style guides generated a huge response. Seems many of you have — eventually — developed style guides (a.k.a. brand book or identity guidelines) that help your organization avoid conflict, save time and deliver a consistent voice and image. What's clear is agreement that the most effective identity guides incorporate both editorial and visual identity guidelines.

Many of you shared your style guides with me. But I was dismayed to see that 85% of these guides feature visual/graphic identity guidelines only. When you neglect the messaging side of the branding equation, you make it harder for staff and other supporters to easily spread the right word.

Here are two strong style guide models (the article links to several more) submitted by readers for your review. Dive in, cherry-pick the elements relevant for your org, and customize as needed.

  1. Identity Guidelines, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University
  2. Brand Standards Manual, UMFS (Richmond, VA social services organization)

BTW, if you are using a style guide or brand book that keeps everyone on the same page,  please email me  (w/attachment or a link) so I can share it with other Getting Attention readers.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages, Nonprofit Communications, Recommended Resources | 0 comments
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Create a Style Guide to Ensure Audience Recognition & Boost Engagement There’s never enough time when you’re getting your nonprofit’s communications out the door. But when two different spellings of the same word (both correct) are used in a membership drive campaign, or the way your nonprofit is described varies from email to email or letter to letter within a fundraising campaign and your logo appears in different colors and different sizes in different places, your audiences will be confused. Promise.

That’s just not the kind of mistake you can afford to make, especially now when attention spans are harder to get than ever. So I urge you to  define editorial and visual identity standards and publish them in a style guide.

Style guides aren’t sexy, and they aren’t top of mind right now when you’re focused hard on what’s next in uncertain times. But a style guide is a straightforward way to make sure you get the most from your communications for no cost and not much time.

As a bonus, your organization’s style guide will cut confusion big-time among your content-creating colleagues, since all their questions are answered in a single, accessible document. Less waiting on answers, less frustration, double fun.

Here’s an outline of the core editorial and graphic elements to incorporate in your style guide. Digest these guidelines, and with that framework in mind, dive into the 10 nonprofit style guide models ( at bottom of this article).

I challenge you, my friends to dig into these models, harvest what makes sense and put together a guide for your nonprofit before the end of the year. It won’t take long, but will generate substantial return for your organization in 2009 and beyond.

P.S. Yes We Can! When a powerful tagline is joined to a compelling mission…nothing is impossible! Download the free Nonprofit Tagline Report for must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 1,000+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Social Media, Web 2.0 | 4 comments
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