Style Guide Peninsula Temple Sholom

Guidelines and Rules-of-Thumb for External Communication

Overview

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Letterhead, Templates, and Document Formatting

Logos

Logo Images

PTS has two primary logos:

Horizontal

   

Stacked

Logo Usage

Choosing Which Logo

To select which logo to use, examine the space in which the logo will be placed. If the total horizontal space is wide, then use the Horizontal version of the logo. If not, especially if the space is larger vertically than it is horizontally, use the Stacked version of the logo.

Colors

In general, we always run the color logo on a white or light-gray background. On darker backgrounds, we run the logo in white.

Fonts & Type

PTS communications generally use two primary type families, Gill Sans Nova (sans-serif) and Chaparral Pro (serif).

  • Both typefaces work well for body text (that is, the typeface used for the main content in a document). See below for more information about document formatting. If you’re creating a document that has multiple kinds of content (like a letter with a boxed “sidebar” containing important info, or a document that contains headings and/or subheadings), it is preferable to use Gill Sans Nova for one and Chaparral Pro for the other. This helps to achieve “visual contrast”, a design term that means different items stand out on the page/screen as distinct. By making it easier for our eyes and brains to comprehend and organize information, visual contrast makes a document easier to read, and it makes it more likely that readers will come away with the information you intended to convey to them.
  • Ideally, Hebrew text should be set using the Adobe Hebrew. Please be aware that Hebrew text (especially Hebrew text within lines of English text) has a tendency to appear backwards on screen but then correct when printed (though still sometimes incorrect in PDF files).

    If you’re using Microsoft Word for Windows to create a document that will be printed and also distributed as online as a PDF, you may need to print the document with the Hebrew appearing backwards onscreen (it will show up correctly when printed), and then reverse the Hebrew to appear correct on screen before creating the PDF.

    Google Docs has no such issues (nor do most Mac word processors, including Pages and Microsoft Word 2016), so if you can use one of those options to add the Hebrew, print, and create the PDF.

    If you need to use Microsoft Word for Windows, you can actually get around the problem by simply reversing the text’s direction. To easily make normal text backward or backward text back to normal, use this simple and handy online tool. Simply copy the text from your document, make sure "Upside Down Effect" is unchecked and then paste your Hebrew into the top box on the website, copy the new text that appears the bottom box, and paste back into your document.

    This is a bug of Microsoft Word for Windows, and if/when Microsoft fixes the problem, you can disregard this caution.

Formatting Type in Printed Documents

Body Text

Colors

Primary Color Palette

These colors should be used...

PTS Green

cmyk:
70 9 52 2
rgba:
73 162 132 1.00
hex:
#49A284

PTS Cerulean

cmyk:
66 6 2 0
rgba:
37 181 224 1.00
hex:
#25B5E0

PTS Blue

cmyk:
76 46 1 1
rgba:
59 116 183 1.00
hex:
#3B74B7

Alternate Color Palette

These colors should be used...

Dull Green

cmyk:
66 35 49 7
rgba:
95 127 116 1.00
hex:
#5F7F74

Darker Blue

cmyk:
96 67 7 18
rgba:
1 69 123 1.00
hex:
#01457B

Lighter Blue

cmyk:
35 5 1 0
rgba:
155 209 236 1.00
hex:
#9BD1EC

PTS Red

cmyk:
15 88 94 40
rgba:
128 0 0 1.00
hex:
#800000

Almost Black

cmyk:
77 67 65 79
rgba:
7 16 14 1.00
hex:
#07100E

Gray

cmyk:
57 47 41 3
rgba:
117 119 122 1.00
hex:
#75777A

Voice

With every piece of content we publish, we aim to:

  • Inform & Empower. Help people understand our congregation and our programming by using language that conveys information and encourages them to participate.
  • Respect. Treat readers with the respect they deserve. Put yourself in their shoes, and don’t patronize them. Remember that they have other things to do. Be considerate and inclusive. Don’t market at people; communicate with them.
  • Educate. Tell readers what they need to know, not just what we want to say. Give them the exact information they need, along with opportunities to learn more. Remember that you’re the expert, and readers don’t have access to everything you know.
  • Guide. Think of yourself as a tour guide for our readers. Whether you’re answering questions, providing the date and time of a program, or acknowledging receipt of a dues payment, communicate in a friendly and helpful way.
  • Speak truth. Understand PTS’ place in our congregants’ lives. Avoid dramatic storytelling and grandiose claims. Focus on our real strengths.

In order to achieve those goals, we make sure our content is:

  • Clear. Understand the topic you’re writing about. Use simple words and sentences.
  • Useful. Before you start writing, ask yourself: What purpose does this serve? Who is going to read it? What do they need to know?
  • Friendly. Write like a human. Don’t be afraid to break a few rules if it makes your writing more relatable. All of our content, from splashy homepage copy to system alerts, should be warm and human.
  • Appropriate. Write in a way that suits the situation. Just like you do in face-to-face conversations, adapt your tone depending on who you’re writing to and what you’re writing about.

Grammar & Usage

Punctuation

There is an underlying rhythm to all text. Sentences crash and fall like the waves of the sea, and work unconsciously on the reader. Punctuation is the music of language. As a conductor can influence the experience of the song by manipulating its rhythm, so can punctuation influence the reading experience, bring out the best (or worst) in a text.

– Noah Lukeman, A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation

Ampersands

Am­per­sands are com­pletely cor­rect when they’re part of a proper name (Fro­mage & Cra­cotte Inc.). Otherwise, ampersands may be used in headings and subheadings, but otherwise avoided.

Ellipses

An el­lip­sis (plural el­lipses) is a se­quence of three dots used to in­di­cate an omis­sion in quoted material.

An ellipsis should not be created with three periods in a row. Rather, an ellipsis is a single character that looks like this: .

An ellipsis should always be typed using the proper character.

from a ... to z

from a… to z

Commas

The Serial Comma

When you are listing three or more items, commas should separate each element of the list. The final comma — the one that comes before the and — is called the serial comma or the Oxford comma.

There is some debate about whether the serial comma should be required, or whether its exclusion should be considered incorrect. There is no debate, however, that the following sentence is punctuated incorrectly (unless your mother is Jane Austen and your father is Albert Einstein):

I dedicate this award to my parents, Jane Austen and Albert Einstein.

Though the serial comma is sometimes unnecessary, there are situations (as above) when its inclusion is required in the interest of clarity. Those cases are not always obvious when writing (or to all writers). For this reason, it is preferable to use the serial comma in all cases.

I dedicate this award to my parents, Jane Austen, and Albert Einstein.

Exclamation Points

The ex­cla­ma­tion point is overused. If you must use it, use it wisely. But you almost definitely shouldn’t use it.

In academic and formal prose, an exclamation point is used rarely, if at all, and in newspaper writing the exclamation point is virtually nonexistent. In marketing, sales, nonprofit, and public advocacy copywriting, exclamation points are totally nonexistent.

Why?

  1. There is almost always a better way to convey emphasis, excitement, or importance. (At the very least, your message is just as effective if you remove the exclamation point.)
  2. In a “Call to Action,” (as in: Join Us or RSVP Now), exclamation points cheapen your message and make you less authoritative.

For just a moment, think about being on vacation, traveling on a luxury cruise ship. There are two activity directors on this cruise. One of them talks using exclamation points. The other one doesn’t.

Director 1:
“Hey guys! We’re going to have just a great time on this cruise! We have lots of activities for you to choose from, and it’s going to be so much fun!! Who wants to go try out the tennis courts?! I know I do! You too? GREAT!!”

Director 2:
“Hey, guys. We’re starting up a Nerf gun war in the cruise lounge, and it’s going to be awesome. First twenty people there get the grenade launchers. Who’s with me?”

Who do you want to play with?

To be fair, the cruise director with the Nerf war has a much better offer – you want to be one of those first 20 people. But see, that’s the thing. When you’re good, you know how to make a better offer without riding on exclamation points to create excitement.

This means that when you do hear an exclamation point (or read one), your brain wants to be skeptical about the authenticity of the statement. If Director 1 had suggested a Nerf gun war, and you heard him talk about it in that bubbly voice, you’d probably be thinking, “Lame. What’s up with him?”

You’d think it was lame even if you would LOVE a tennis game. The reason is because that person thinks the only way you’re going to get revved up about playing is by hearing those exclamation points.

In other words: We’re all so used to exclamation points’ overuse that they cause readers to be skeptical. Over time, We’ve made a psychological connection between exclamation points and “that sales guy” on poorly-produced local TV commercials screaming, “Boy do we have a deal for you!!!”

You don’t want to sound like that guy. Put away the exclamation point and use a period instead.

Hyphens & Dashes

Dashes come in two sizes — the en dash and the em dash. The em dash () is typ­i­cally about as wide as a cap­i­tal H. The en dash () is about half as wide.

En and em dashes are of­ten ap­prox­i­mated by typ­ing two or three hy­phens in a row (-- or --- ). Don’t do that — it’s a bad habit leftover from typewriters. Use real dashes.

Hyphens

The hy­phen (-) is the small­est of these marks. It has three uses.

  1. A hy­phen ap­pears at the end of a line when a word breaks onto the next line. These hy­phens are added and re­moved au­to­mat­i­cally by the au­to­matic hy­phen­ation in your word proces­sor or web browser.

  2. Some mul­ti­part words are spelled with a hy­phen (topsy-turvy, cost-ef­fec­tive, bric-a-brac). But a pre­fix is not typ­i­cally fol­lowed with a hy­phen (non­profit, not non-profit).

  3. A hy­phen is used in phrasal ad­jec­tives (lis­tener-sup­ported ra­dio, dog-and-pony show, high-school grades) to en­sure clar­ity.

    For in­stance, con­sider the un­hy­phen­ated phrase five dol­lar bills. Is five the quan­tity of dol­lar bills, or are the bills each worth five dol­lars? As writ­ten, it sug­gests the for­mer. If you mean the lat­ter, then you’d write five-dol­lar bills.

En Dashes

The en dash has two uses.

  1. It in­di­cates a range of val­ues (1880–1912, pages 330–39, 4–6pm).

    Important: If you open with from, pair it with to in­stead of an en dash (from 1880 to 1912, not from 1880–1912).

    Join us from 4pm – 6pm.

    Join us from 4pm to 6pm.

    Join us, 4pm – 6pm.

  2. It de­notes a con­nec­tion or con­trast be­tween pairs of words (con­ser­v­a­tive–lib­eral split, Ari­zona–Nevada re­ci­pro­city, Sar­banes–Ox­ley Act).

    Note: Even though the en dash is used for joint au­thors (Sar­banes–Ox­ley Act), use a hy­phen for com­pound names. If the chil­dren of Sar­banes and Ox­ley mar­ried, they’d be known as Mr. & Mrs. Sar­banes-Ox­ley (with a hy­phen), not Mr. & Mrs. Sar­banes–Ox­ley (with an en dash).

Em Dashes

The em dash is used to make a break be­tween parts of a sen­tence. Use it when a comma is too weak, but a colon, semi­colon, or pair of paren­the­ses is too strong. The em dash puts a nice pause in the text — and it is un­der­used in most people’s writing.

When using an em dash, it is preferable to surround the dash with two thin spaces. (A thin space is roughly half the width of a “regular” space.)

To type a thin space:

on a PC: Type the characters 202F and then, with the insertion point immediately after the 9, press Alt+X.
on a Mac: It’s hard, especially in Microsoft Word. Easiest solutions: You can highlight, copy, and paste the em dashes here — just make sure you highlight the dash and the tiny bits of space on either side — or you can just type a regular space before and after the dash (which, while not preferable, is better than nothing).

Spaces

After a Period

Al­ways put ex­actly one space be­tween sentences. (For that matter, always put one, and only one, space after any punctuation.)

It is always incorrect to put two spaces after a period.  Period.

It is always incorrect to put two spaces after a period. Period.

Nonbreaking Spaces

Word (or any Word processor) as­sumes that a regular space marks a safe place to flow text onto a new line or page. A non­break­ing space looks just like a regular space, but it pre­vents the text from flow­ing to a new line or page. It’s like in­vis­i­ble glue be­tween the words on ei­ther side.

(Hold down all keys at the same time.)

on a PC: control + shift + space bar
on a Mac: option + shift + space bar

Quotation Marks

Hard Line Breaks, Carriage Returns, and Space Between Paragraphs