Top 16 Content Style Guides 2022 (and How to Use Them)

As a digital product grows, so too will the number of content creators that contribute to it. A content style guide helps UX writers and content designers to keep the voice, tone, and messaging consistent across all platforms. Most guides include both general advice about language use and specific instructions that are company or product specific.

In the UX Writing Hub’s training program, we have a module dedicated solely to content style guides. After getting help from our amazing Facebook community members at Microcopy & UX Writing, we’ve collected the top 14 content style guides for you to use on your next content style guide creation journey.

Save it for a rainy day!


Intuit

When I first heard about Intuit’s style guide, or rather content design system, it completely blew my mind. Intuit is the fintech organization behind finance solutions like TurboTax, Quickbooks, and Mint. They decided to develop a whole system where everyone – content designers, copywriters, marketers, designers, developers – can find not just language advice, but also a library of content patterns that they can use in their work.

I was so curious about their work that I recently invited their Principal Content Designer Stephen Curran to the Writers in Tech podcast (for the second time!). Listen to the episode here to hear how they developed their content design system. We also created a whole blog article on the subject of content design systems. Check it out!

screenshot of Intuit's content design system start page


Mailchimp

The holy bible of content style guides. Honestly, people post about it on our Facebook group Microcopy & UX Writing at least once a month.


Monzo

The neobank Monzo has a very distinct, friendly voice and tone. Their style guide is available to the public and it’s an absolute delight to read. Check it out for a tip on how monkeys can help you spot passive sentences. 🐒 In 2020, I had the pleasure of chatting with their lead writer Harry Ashbridge on the Writers in Tech podcast.

screenshot of monzo bank's style guide


Microsoft

The Microsoft Writing Style Guide replaces the Microsoft Manual of Style, a respected source of editorial guidance for the tech community for more than 20 years.


Canada Post Corporation

Discover the writing principles for the ways that Canada post add value to their digital products with concise and meaningful language.


Google

Material Design is one of the most famous design systems out there. Explore their content section and learn how to write content like Google does.


Shopify

Shopify’s ambitious content design system Polaris will help you understand how to think strategically about the language in your products and apps.


Conscious

The Conscious style guide contains the latest observations, opinions, and style advice all in one place. It’s a top resource for everyone who wants to be more mindful about the language they use.


GO-JEK

The mission of the UX writers of Geo-Jek is to allow users to use their app effortlessly — without friction.


UK Government

The single government representative on our list. I am happy a governmental service realized that they too can actually lead when it comes to creating conversational interfaces.


BBC

Highly detailed content style guide created by the UX writers and content creators of the BBC.


Atlassian

The Atlassian writing style is an open source system of their core company values, company mission, design principles, and voice and tone.


Buffer

One method for creating a content style guide is to base it on another guide. In Buffer’s guide, they claim to follow Mailchimp’s style guide with some extra sauce made by Buffer.


Salesforce

To connect with their customers, Salesforce needs to talk in a way that resonates with them. They published their content style guide that shows how to do that.


University of Leeds 

This content style guide was created to help the people of Leeds University write more creatively and effectively in their day-to-day life at the University of Leeds.


Apple

The Apple Style Guide provides editorial guidelines for text in Apple instructional materials, technical documentation, reference information, training programs, and user interfaces. The intent of these guidelines is to help maintain a consistent voice in Apple materials.


As a UX writer, you may end up working in companies or on projects that take different approaches to their content style guide. If you join an organization that is already implementing a content style guide, great! Your job is to follow and optimize it continuously.

If you’re working as a consultant UX writer, or you are the first UX writer of your organization, you may need to build a brand new style guide from scratch.

Return to this list to find your inspiration and get that content style guide up and running!

Keep exploring

Everything you need to know about content design systems (and how they differ from content style guides) (article)

Building a content design system (podcast episode with Stephen Curran at Intuit)

Copy in the age of digital banking (podcast episode with Harry Ashbridge at Monzo bank)