IN THIS ARTICLE

    Styleguides

    10 of the best content styleguides in tech

    You can’t create a cohesive brand without a styleguide. And because tech companies deal with complex topics that the average person may not be familiar with, it’s even more important for them to have one. A styleguide can take a company from being just another name in the vastness of Silicon Valley to a trusted brand that people turn to for their specific needs.

    The examples highlighted here aren’t the only tech styleguides of note (check out our article on the best styleguide examples for more), but these provide a solid jumping-off point for understanding what makes a good styleguide for a tech company.

    With that in mind, here are 10 awesome tech styleguides to emulate and learn from. (And when you’re ready, create your own styleguide with Writer.)

     


     

    Shopify's voice guideline

    1. Shopify

    Structure is the name of the game for Shopify’s styleguide. The left sidebar makes it easy for users to navigate between sections, and the strategic use of headers within those sections make it scannable. That’s important if you want to catch a wide variety of readers while providing a detailed guide that’s also skimmable. It explains the company voice and gives explicit do’s and don’ts that clarify the company’s tone.

     


     

    Skype styleguide
    Skype’s visual format adds something extra to a traditional styleguide.

     

    2. Skype

    Skype’s styleguide (opens PDF) illustrates the company’s voice — using actual illustrations. The writing itself shows readers how to implement their voice in written content and still stay on-brand. And the “Words we like” and “Words we don’t like” sections showcase concrete examples to drive it all home. It includes sketches of five different Skype user personas, which can help readers better understand who they’re writing for.

     


     

    LinkedIn brand
    LinkedIn’s styleguide accomplishes a lot using very little text.

     

    3. LinkedIn

    Although it’s much shorter than many of the other guides on this list, LinkedIn’s brand guidelines provide a solid introduction to their style, including voice. It accomplishes this by showing a cohesive representation of the brand — and that makes it easy to see how the voice, photos, and overall design come together to create the brand. Another advantage to this minimalist approach is that it won’t overwhelm readers. They can get through a taste for the brand in just a few minutes.

     


     

    10 of the best content styleguides in tech - AMAZON
    Amazon’s styleguide addresses CTAs.

     

    4. Amazon

    Amazon’s brand usage guidelines go over the appropriate use of company branding. This is particularly true in the way they talk about call-to-action (CTA) messaging. The section begins with a brief overview of what CTAs are and why they’re important, before transitioning to an easy-to-understand chart that explains the proper uses of those CTAs at a high level. Finally, the guide details each of those CTA uses, adding more context and showing visual examples of what’s allowed and what isn’t.

     


     

    10 of the best content styleguides in tech - UBER
    Uber’s styleguide tackles the important question of context.

     

    5. Uber

    Uber’s styleguide gives valuable context around how to nail their brand voice. The page also incorporates simple link-copying for each section, which gives readers a quick and easy way to reference it later.

    Another useful aspect of this page is the update message at the top of the page. By stating when each page was last updated, readers always know how current the information is. And on the back end, allowing for these pages to be updated on a regular basis gives the brand the freedom to grow.

     


     

    10 of the best content styleguides in tech - WEBMAKER
    Webmaker’s styleguide makes its point in a clear, easily digestible way.

     

    6. Webmaker

    Tech companies are at a much higher risk of lapsing into potentially confusing jargon when it comes to brand. Webmaker’s styleguide (opens PDF) tackles this head-on by putting the emphasis on avoiding jargon when talking to customers. This user-first approach is similar to Skype’s guide — Webmaker gives examples of their target audiences. It also offers context around the types of devices users are likely to be on when accessing their products, which invokes different sets of rules. 

     


     

    10 of the best content styleguides in tech - INSTAGRAM
    The Instagram styleguide provides color-coded guidance for readers.

     

    7. Instagram

    Instagram’s styleguide uses color-coding on things like proper usage of the brand name. Their brand guidelines aren’t like many of the other styleguides listed here, but they include solid, easy-to-follow guidelines for their partners and anyone else who wants to use their branding — which matters a lot for one of the most famous companies in the world.

     


    Salesforce Branding page

    8. Salesforce

    Salesforce’s voice guidelines (opens PDF) are daunting at first glance, but they break things down in a simple way — starting off with an explanation of why voice matters. Salesforce knows that this information makes it more likely for team members to actually use it. That can be an obstacle when implementing a styleguide, particularly at a company that hasn’t had one previously.

    Another notable part of this document is the next-level use of examples. Not only are they given in the somewhat visual format of screenshots — which can make it easier to take in, particularly in a document filled with text — but the guide spells out who the audience is, the goal of the example, and the tone employed. The more detailed you can get with it, the more likely it is that a reader will stick to and understand the voice of the company.

     


     

    10 of the best content styleguides in tech - BUFFER
    Buffer’s article on their styleguide is filled with useful resources for curious readers.

     

    9. Buffer

    Although Buffer’s styleguide isn’t public, they share a helpful article on the nuances of their voice. And that article is another great example of how to guide the reader through the voice. For example, they provide resources, via links, to additional reading. That’s essential for a company that opts for a less comprehensive approach in their styleguide and can help reduce the amount of information thrown at the reader in one go.

    And because the article is true to their brand voice, it serves as another example of what to aim for. 

     


     

    10 of the best content styleguides in tech - ZENDESK
    Zendesk’s styleguide uses a logical flow of information that makes it easier to take in.

    10. Zendesk

    Zendesk’s styleguide details the company’s philosophy, brand attributes, and messaging. By providing this flow of information, it’s easier for the reader to get a solid grasp of voice. And the inclusion of specific phrases like “Be the company your customers want you to be,” combined with guidance about when to use it, make the messaging section even more useful. That’s helpful in creating a cohesive voice.

    Styleguides shouldn’t be PDFs

    The days of keeping your styleguide in a document or PDF are long gone — that’s no longer an efficient way to work. Top tech teams use Writer to create a single, complete source of truth for their styleguide that’s always up to date and easy for their entire team to access. Transform your process and create your own styleguide with Writer.

    Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2020 and updated in December 2021.