The Importance of Style Guides

style guideWith over twenty different ministries on campus, one of the ways I help make sure we speak as “one voice” is the consistent use of a style guide. The key word here is “consistency.”

While I don’t expect Pastors to know and follow it,  I do our Ministry Assistants. It is their job to take information they get from a Pastor and format it BEFORE it gets to the Communications Department or before it goes out to the public, put on the web, sent in an email, etc.

This isn’t as fancy or detailed as some, but it takes care of most of the formatting discrepancies that I run across. Feel free to modify or adapt it as your own.

Trinity Church Style Guide

Phone
Correct: (909) 909-7909
Always include the area code
Wrong: 909-773-7333, 909.555.77854

Phone Extensions
Correct: , x118 i.e (909) 909-7909, x118 (comma space x extension)
When posting phone numbers on the website ALWAYS include the church phone number with the extension. Unlike a brochure where the phone number can be easily found, on the web someone would have to leave the page to find our phone number.
Wrong: ext. or x.

Times
Correct: 1:00-2:00 pm (bold and italicized)
Always include a start AND end times. Always include the o’clock :00
No space between the dashes. The am and pm should be in lower case
Replace 12:00 pm and 12:00 am with Noon and Midnight
Wrong: 1PM or 1am, 1-5pm, 1 a.m.

Dates
Correct: June 1, 2007 September 1-5 (Bold, no space between the dashes)
Spell out all date months (no abbreviations)
If a date is going into Connections Magazine it DOES NOT need the year
Wrong: Oct and Nov. October 5th – Nov 2nd
No “th” “nd” on date numbers…OK on 5th grade etc.

Website & Email
Correct: http://www.trinityonline.org (Always bold, remove the http and hyperlink formatting)
The website should go on EVERY piece we handout
Correct: bherwig@trintyonline.org (Always italic, remove the hyperlink formatting)
Wrong: http://www.trinityonline.org
bherwig@trinityonline.org
In print pieces, remove the underline with blue. If you are sending an e-mail or you are posting on the web, then you WANT it to show as a hyperlink. With print, you don’t.

Miscellaneous
1 space after periods NEVER two
$1 not $1.00 on dollar amounts (unless cents required)
Spell out all days of the week, i.e Monday, Tuesday Wednesday
Spell out all months, i.e January, February, March
Spell out all books of the Bible, i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus
Abbreviations for St, Rd etc have no periods
Watch for widows and orphans (a lone word hanging at the end of a page or paragraph)
Use “&” when you are referring to a couple, ie. Jack & Jill
Use – as a dash, not – (Microsoft Word automatically changes it to the wrong one. You’ll need to fix it manually)

Trinity Logo
Use a SOLID black logo over a light background or SOLID white logo over a light background. Never use the old two color logo.

Design Guidelines
Headings should not need underlines. Bold should be fine. (If you feel you need more
distinction, try a larger size, heavier font i.e. Arial Black or a different color.)
Headlines should never have a colon :
NO boarders…let the page breath
NO pixilated graphics
NO Clip Art
Design for tabloid size and shrink down
Never use all caps unless for EMPHASIS
Put our logo, or your ministry logo on all handouts (bottom of page)
Put our website on all handouts (under the logo)

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