RE: Purpose Statement for Style Guide

Subject: RE: Purpose Statement for Style Guide
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: techwr-l digest recipients <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 08 Jul 2000 12:41:57 -0700

Jeff Hanvey <jewahe -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

>The writers should - and most do follow some kind of
>guide, anyway.

Of course. But I've seen style guides that are so huge that it
would be almost impossible to follow every aspect of them. In
fact, that's often the case. To take an obvious example,
Microsoft products often ignore the Microsoft style guide.

Personally, when I've done style guides, I've tried to keep them
flexible and to include guidelines for making decisions about
what to do - not just to lay down the law.

>> - 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.

Design principles are constant, but how they are applied aren't.
And, as this list proves almost daily, people can get into holy
wars about the most petty grammatical details - often with very
little knowledge.

>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.

Interesting perspective; I admit that I hadn't thought of that.
However, a company's image can change so drastically that a style
guide can become obsolete.

For the record, I do find style guides useful, at least to a
point. But maybe the key to the orginal post is that the
management thinks that they are a "luxury." That implies that
they are a low priority. If the company is facing a development
deadline, that could be a reasonable position to take. Left to
myself, I'm a perfectionist, but "I don't want it good, I want it
Thursday" is very common in business. Much as I dislike this
attitude, I can't always do much about it.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com | Tel: 604.421.7189

"At the sick bed of Cuhullain,
We'll kneel and say a prayer,
When the ghosts are rattling at the door
And the devil's in the chair."
- The Pogues

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