Why a Style Book Matters

Style manuals outline standards for designing and writing for publications or organizations. Some focus on graphic design. Others focus on a publication's technical aspects, such as grammar and punctuation. The goal of any style manual is to ensure a consistent and attractive presentation to the public.

Why Consistency Matters

Consistency is a basic marketing concept that is often neglected. We are creatures of habit. Once accustomed to how something looks, humans tend to associate that look with a given product or service. As human beings, we respond to consistency. We all get thousands of messages every day, and our time is split between work, home and family. We want to understand quickly and move on to new topics. Our audiences don’t have time to stop; they’ll just move on to a message they understand and associate with a reliable source.

Consistency helps audiences know the materials are yours. In print, this means consistent color schemes and the same logo, typeface and basic design. Electronic and broadcast media use consistent audio (theme music), video (opening montages) and design.

Being a single entity within a group, such as a county center in a statewide network, can present a tug of war between consistency and customization. Creating your own ad formats and communications look is like starting at ground zero and building a brand from scratch.

Extension Templates and Common Language

Templates allow for both consistency and customization. Templates keep elements like logos, color and design steady, while allowing you to customize the content. Common language requirements – slogans, how we refer to ourselves and, in some cases, legally required language – can be implemented with templates.

How to Use This Manual

Use chapter headings to jump to items quickly. The pages hold links to templates or other resources that may be useful. If you prefer to print a copy, all templates are available in the Toolkit. All style manuals must be organic to change with time. This manual includes items that were not in the last edition. If major changes are made, you’ll get an e-mail alert. Check back now and then to see what’s new!

If you have a question, please contact Natalie Hampton, natalie_hampton@ncsu.edu, 919-513-3128.