Style Guide Overview
The purpose of a style guide is to help bring clarity, precision and a unified voice to a brand’s content.
If ever a “rule” in the guide would get in the way of clarity and precision, forget the rule — just be clear and precise (and on brand) instead.
A style guide should be a living document, and this guide’s elements are always open for discussion. Language changes, and our style guide must sometimes change to catch up with it.
Our brand voice is modern and straightforward — without being overly formal and stuffy.
We speak with authority, authenticity and confidence — without being patronizing.
We are friendly and encouraging. Our tone is conversational.
We use simple, approachable language, respecting the intelligence of our audience but also fulfilling our brand promises of transparency and ease of use.
Once you write something, read it outloud. Would you normally say that to another person? Does it sound human?
Areas to avoid:
- In general, humor should be avoided as it can often be misconstrued or misused. Particularly when used with serious topics.
- Occasional wordplay is welcome; however, avoid trendy slang and childishness, and don’t force a joke for the sake of making one.
- Also, when it comes to wordplay, consider whether a reader may have comprehension or language barriers, or whether your content will be translated — these may be reasons to avoid relying on puns, for instance.
With every piece of content we publish, we aim to inspire feelings of:
Our promise to our customers is that our products will work without a hitch (and if a customer does encounter problems, help is a click or call away).
Our products help protect against intruders, theft, damage and personal injury.
Our products make it easy to manage security — at the macro and the micro level. We write from a space of positivity, not negativity or fear.
All aspects of our content should feel comforting, positive and accessible. Even though we are frequently discussing serious topics, look for opportunities to bring energy and put people at ease.
Achieving These Goals
In order to achieve those goals, we create content that is:
Make sure you understand the topic you’re writing about. Use straightforward words and sentences. In all our content, we make complex concepts easy to understand.
Before you start writing (or preparing content in another form), ask yourself: What purpose does this serve? Who is going to read it? What do they need to know? Write with the answers to these questions in mind. Jot them down at the top of your document, so you don’t lose track of them.
Related question: Is it on the right platform and in the right form?
People who interact with our content should know that Verkada is made up of human beings who care about their safety.
Focus your message, and create a hierarchy of information. You’ll usually want to lead with the main point or the most important content (or what you want people to do).
People respond to stories. Ask yourself, “What are the stakes in this piece of content?” and “What is the story arc?”
Keep the following principles in mind when developing content:
Creative a narrative the reader can find relatable. Go beyond the business pain point.
Even when discussing complex ideas, use simple sentence structures.
Keep paragraphs short. Use descriptive subheads and (where appropriate) lists.
Choose familiar words (over “extra credit vocabulary words” or jargon) whenever they are suitable.
Use strong verbs and avoid passive sentences.
Cut unnecessary words and modifiers. Use exclamation points sparingly.
Avoid generalizations that have edge cases (it will cause holes in the argument) in favor of specific examples.
Remember your audience:
- When writing specifically for the technical buyer, avoid adding fluff of basic networking concepts or trends that they already know. Focus on solving their pain points and highlighting unique technical differentiators.
- At the same time, always consider the reach of your content. Don’t use acronyms unless they are more common than the complete term or phrase.
At Verkada, trust is at the core of all that we do. Consistency conveys trust. The language we use, and the uniformity in how we use it, play a critical role in building trust with our key audiences.
Unless otherwise noted in this guide, we follow AP Style guidelines. A cheatsheet can be found here. Our primary dictionary resource is Merriam-Webster. Base your style decisions on these references unless this guide directs otherwise.
Verkada Punctuation Rules:
Capitalization with Verkada Product Names:
First reference: Verkada [Product Name] [Product Type]
- Example: The Verkada CH52-E Multisensor Camera
In blogs and paragraphs, subsequent references to the product type should be lowercase. Why? The product types are not trademarked.
- Example: The Verkada CH52-E multisensor camera
For simplicity, refer to just the product name in subsequent references.
Capitalization with Verkada Feature Names:
Marketable features should be capitalized consistently. Features that are not marketed should be lowercase.
Generally, a marketable feature means that the feature provides significant enough value to the user to encourage them to buy the product. Be picky and convicted about which features meet this bar!
Examples of marketable features (capitalized):
- People Analytics
- License Plate Recognition
Examples of other features (lowercase):
- cloud backup
- privacy regions