Thursday, September 10, 2009

What's in a Style Sheet

When we start with a new client the first thing we do before we start writing anything is to create a list of words, acronyms, and style use that will help us be consistent in all documents and with all authors. It also helps us create a working standard for our clients when they take over the documents. Here is a list of items we put into an Excel spreadsheet.

Alphabetized Spelling and Word Use Tab
For Example:
We had a client that insisted on having the 'TM' symbol on every instance of their product name. So in this list under C for the product name we listed...
  • Product NameTM
This told the writer how this word would be used. We also listed industry words (after we have confirmed spelling with industry associations or resources)...
  • electrocardiography
and writing standards for words...
  • double-click
  • log in (adj or n.)
  • login (verb)
Acronym Tab
We list all the industry and proprietary acronyms with their full spelling
  • ECG - electrocardiogram
Styles, Standards, and Marketing Tab
On a third tab we record all the clients current:
  • font styles (Body text - Arial 10pt, left align)
  • branded colours (RGB and HEX)
  • unit short forms (e.g. msec (millisecond)
  • Computer usage terms (describes how to write the name of application parts e.g. button names - bold)
  • Numbered standards (describes how to write words with numbers like package size e.g. 50-Pack)
  • Numbers (0.2V or I, II, V or 8th)
  • Writing standards (e.g. use serial commas)