What kind of style guides do you use to create your courses?

Nov 28, 2011

Our Instructional Design team has grown a lot recently and one of the things we're trying to do is create a style guide for us to use internally and with contractors when needed. I was wondering if any of you out there have a generalized style guide your team uses and what kind of information is included in it? Or if you're a contractor, what kind of style guides have you received from your clients? And if you'd be willing to share any examples, that'd be even better!

Thanks in advance!

9 Replies
blair parkin

Hi Christina

I use our company style guide that our marketing department put together for web and print, and then tweaked it slightly to work for my modules. It isn't a hard and fast guide, but does help achieve a level of consistency across what I am creating. It covers off fonts to use, colours, spacing and what to align to.

I would also suggest The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams as a great starting point if you are looking to create your own. I tried to create my own but being a male matching colours wasn't my strong point. Robin's book definitely helped though and I apply all of it when I am working with our company style guide.


Sarah Tinson

Hi Christina,

Like Blair, I use a base of our corporate fonts and colours. We have a standard set of colours and fonts for our internal projects, and I have used each colour as a base for the Articulate players, using a different colour for each category of course we have.

Eg, general learning is orange, product knowledge is green etc. The course players all look the same apart from the colour, and we also have our technical traininh logo inserted into each course. That way, users can immediately identify that they are doing a course that forms part of our learning framework.

As for other colours - this is cool - http://www.sessions.edu/for-students/career-center/tools-quizzes/color-calculator

I think I may  have found the link on here somewhere - it certainly gives some good ideas.


Michael Mace

I use a combination of the corporate style guide along with looking at some of our web sites.  I find that style guides tend to be more print focused, so taking a look at the corporate web sites and intranet help to develop the finished product. If the training is about a specific new product, I might use some of the marketing material as a base for the course as well.

Pam Jones

In projects I've worked on the "style" of the template is usually set by a lead designer and then template quiz/engage files given to the wider team or contractors.

Then a standards guide is distributed which covers things like:


Writing style


Bullets and other editorial points

Font size and style for various section e.g. title, body, heading 1 etc


What the learning design of the module is i.e.

  • mandatory slides,
  •  how often quizzes are to be include and when;
  • if and how to use scenarios,
  • style of images to be used,
  • standard instruction text to be used for different interactions and quiz types.
  • Properties for interactions and quizzes
  • Format for structuring audio (if applicable)

Its a pretty comprehensive document which is like the bible for each project.

Hope that helps


Kevin Gumienny

We use a couple of style guides. One is our style guide for printed manuals (basically the Chicago Manual of Style with some modifications and additions). This helps us be consistent in the text portion of our online courses (for example, with issues like captialization, acronyms, hyphens and dashes, and question formatting).

We also have a style guide specifically for online courses (which incorporates the manual style guide). That focuses on a consistent look and feel--template design, button and tabs, graphics quality, &c. These standards help maintain a consistent user experience for our customers (especially in terms of navigation and corporate identity).

At the same time, our instructional designers have the freedom to design the content of the course as they and their subject matter experts see fit, so that the instructional style will appropriately suit the subject matter. We've done graphically-intensive courses, bullet point courses, and even a comic-book style course.

Rich Segarra

Hey guys, our company is really starting to move into the e-learning world.  One thing I think is real important and it was confirmed yesterday at the SEVA E-learning workshop is...the use of style guides.  Does anyone have a style guide that really was productive and helpful for them that you are willing to share?

Thanks a bunch

This discussion is closed. You can start a new discussion or contact Articulate Support.