RE: Purpose Statement for Style Guide

Subject: RE: Purpose Statement for Style Guide
From: Jeff Hanvey <jewahe -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 09:55:13 -0700 (PDT)


--- Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com> wrote:
> - no one follows style guides anyway.

The writers should - and most do follow some kind of
guide, anyway. As far as the rest of the corporation
goes, who cares if a memo has two spaces after a
period? The style guide isn't for EVERY piece of
writing, just the manuals and marketing materials.

> - most style guides are too hard to follow if you
> don't use them
> everyday.

True, but any writer should be writing something every
day (well, every other day - no wait, at least once a
week - okay, I'll get to it next week...)

> - so long as everything looks reasonably
> professional, who cares?

Agreed. For the not-so-important works or for
companies with a lone writer. But if there is more
than one writer, and they work on the same documents,
then they need a style guide to refer to.

> - only a few people need the information and they
> already know
> it.

Not always. My first "writing" job was producing
newsletters for a leading airline caterer. I had no
training in journalism, and wasn't really aware
(although, admittedly, I had been told long ago) that
they had different punctuation rules. The
communications director was insistent upon the rules,
so I had to learn them.

Similarly, if the position is filled with a succession
of contractors, then there is even more need for a
style guide, so that the "look" of the documents is
consistent.

> - the company frequently updates its look and image
> anyway.

But that won't really change good design principles,
will it? Sure, the colors and logo may change, but
that won't change how many spaces come after a period
or how E-mail is spelled.

In fact, a style guide is imporatant *because* the
corporate image may change. After all, the position of
that new logo should stay the same. What's more,
keeping the new documents looking pretty much the same
reassures the user.

> - there's too many other things to do right now.

Can't argue with that...so it's back to work, everyone!

=====
Jeff Hanvey
Memphis, TN

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