Many of us writers – dare I say most of us? – have looked up the spelling of the same word at least a couple of times over the years, just to double-check if we spelled it correctly. If you are or were part of a marketing team, overflowing with creativity and amazing ideas, you certainly noticed different variants of the same word present in copy (e.g. Style Sheet – Style sheet – style sheet) – or the recurring questions: how do we write this product name? capitals or not? How about the price, should it have a space in between the amount and the currency? We heard these so, so many times, isn’t it, dear writers?


When you notice spelling or formatting inconsistencies in your copy or when questions like the above keep repeating themselves, it’s time to put that creativity of yours to work and create a rock-solid reference document. A Style Sheet to keep your copy consistent and your team aligned. Let’s take a closer look at what a Style Sheet really is, why your brand needs it and what steps can you take to implement this reference document that will bring a multitude of benefits to you, your creative teams, and overall, to your brand.


“If you are aiming at the top, consistency is the name of the game.” – Olawale Daniel


What is a Style Sheet?

We hear it all the time: consistency is the key to success. But from hearing it to implementing it in our daily writing and copy, it seems sometimes to be quite a leap. What if I told you there is an easy way to keep all spelling, formatting, and specific terms of your business well-organized in a reference document? Yes, I’m talking about a Style Sheet tailored to your brand/business and created to bring consistency and unity to your writing.



“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” -Mark Twain.



It includes spelling and punctuation, capitalization and hyphenation, abbreviations, inclusive language guidelines, specific terms and expressions, numbers, fonts and formatting, and any other sections you might consider necessary to ease your or your creative teams’ writing process.

Contrary to common belief (let’s face it, it doesn’t sound like a particularly fun document to write!🙈), a Style Sheet can be easy to put together and far more interesting than you might think. But before we go into the key elements of a Style Sheet let’s look at the five benefits a Style Sheet can bring to your brand, personal, or business.


Five reasons your brand needs a Style Sheet


Adding consistency to your copy/ content

Keeping your readers/customers focused on your writing or copy is essential. If they aren’t distracted by different spelling, capitalization, or double quotation marks, their attention will be focused more on the content. In return, this translates into higher reader retention or customer retention and conversion.


Easy team/collaborator communication

A Style Sheet is among the first documents that are being shared with a writer joining a new creative team. An essential reference document for all writers and creatives that eases team communication and increases productivity.


Saving time & money

No more losing time to look up specific terms, spelling, or capitalization of the recurring word bank in your copy. A Style Sheet will actively save you time and money in the writing process, by reducing term research time and email/chat communication. With a reference document in place, the entire team (newcomers included) can have a go-to document that is updated on a regular basis.


Increasing the quality of your copy/content

Having a Style Sheet for your brand or business is one of the best ways to ensure the high quality of your copy and content. Spelling, punctuation, or specific term uncertainties within your creative team will decrease as the Style Sheet will keep everyone aligned on any style or formatting updates.


Adding professionalism to your copy/content

When your spelling and punctuation are aligned, the overall content and copy you put out there have a unified, consistent, and professional look, inspiring more confidence among your readers and customers. With a defined writing style, your brand will be easily identifiable through its content and copy.


Key elements of a Style Sheet

With all the benefits a Style Sheet brings to your brand, personal, or business, it’s time to see what the key elements of a Style Sheet are.

Last updated (always check the date of the last update, as you don’t want to work with an older document!)

  • Style, Fonts & Formatting
    Spelling, Hyphenation & Punctuation
  • Abbreviations and acronyms
    Specific terms for your business
  • Inclusive language

Other categories can be added to a Style Sheet, according to your area of business (Based on the Style Guide, Citation Style, Character Count, etc).


Style Sheet vs. Style Guide

We kept talking about Style Sheets, but you have certainly heard about Style Guides too. So, what’s the difference? And which one do you need as a brand?

To start with, a Style Sheet is much shorter than a Style Guide.

While both of them aim to bring CONSISTENCY to your brand, a Style Sheet is a set of editorial rules and stylistic decisions that your brand will use throughout your copy and content.

A Style Guide is a more complex document comprising a set of design & language guidelines, aiming to bring overall consistency to your brand such as brand personality & identity, brand voice, tone, and style. It comprises aspects of the Style Sheet so, YES, it’s recommended to have both. This way you can fully support your creative team and ease their work and in-team communication and content unity.


Additional steps: Adhering to a Style Guide

There are several Style Guides available and widely used as reference documents for writers. You can adhere to the Style Guide that beer suits the purpose of your writing:


APA Style (American Psychological Association) – helping writers to present their ideas clearly, concisely, and in an inclusive manner.


The Chicago Manual of Style – “It is the indispensable reference for writers, editors, proofreaders, indexers, copywriters, designers, and publishers, informing the editorial canon with sound, definitive advice.”


MLA (Modern Language Association of America)– an essential reference document for business writers, technical writers, freelance writers, and editors helping with grammar, punctuation, citation, and a guideline to set up research papers.


The Canadian Press Stylebook – a reference document for journalists, web producers, PR specialists, communicators, writers, and editors, setting the standards used by media and communication professionals across the country.


Not sure which one is better suited for your needs? Take a quick look and any of the above examples of style guides and see which one would be better suited for your writing style and brand.


Now that you know what a Style Sheet is and found out more about the benefits of implementing such a document for your brand, are you ready to start drafting it? If you find it hard to roll up your creative sleeves and get started with your brand’s Style Sheet, get your Writing with a Style (Sheet), or check out my website, and let’s get you started on this essential document for your brand.


Out of passion for words and languages... You can find me translating, proofreading or copywriting marketing and communication materials for fast-growing eComm businesses in English, French, Italian and Romanian. When not in front of my computer I'm following my passion for good books or my affinity for painting.

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