A Question of Style

January, 23 2013
Posted in Beyond Design
Posted by Kathleen

Style

Clients frequently ask for advice on correct grammar and punctuation, and I can offer solid reasoning for why one verb tense trumps another and the usefulness of a well-placed semicolon.

Sometimes I get an unusual question—such as How do I format the name of a ship? (USS Arizona, FYI)—and I refer to trusty guides such as the Chicago Manual of Style and AP Stylebook for options and explanations.

And sometimes, in the collaborative process, questions of style come up. Should we use series commas? Should we refer to our executive staff by their first or last names? “What’s the right way to do it?” I’m asked, and in my opinion, when it comes to your style, there really is no wrong way.

For example, I work with a client who is a fan of e.e. cummings and wants all of his copy in lowercase. Another client thinks quotation marks in smart format (“curvy”) look funny and requests the old style (“straight”). One client spells “Web site” with a capital W and a lowercase s (which is how Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary lists it), another uses a lowercase w, and a third runs everything together in one word for “website.” None of these options is “wrong.” The key is to set your style choices and use them consistently.

Collaboration is a cornerstone of the services we provide at Noise 13. As we work with you to create and establish your style, we’ll listen, we’ll offer expert advice, we’ll discuss, and then we’ll follow your lead to deliver a design and copy that best represents you and serves your company.

That, in my opinion, is the right way to do things.

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