Aug 20, 2015

Introducing the MailChimp Style Guide

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I’m so excited to share the new MailChimp Style Guide. It’s meant to help people who write and publish content at MailChimp, but we’ve made it public and open source so other organizations can use it, too.

We created this guide after years of using a mishmash of different style guides, along with a supplemental internal document. Different teams had conflicting style standards and content guidelines, and writers didn’t always know where to go with questions. It was kind of a mess. So we designed the MailChimp Style Guide to solve those problems.

If it works as it should, the guide will:

– Create clarity on style standards and answer common questions

– Promote clear, consistent, helpful, and thoughtful content

– Encourage teams to collaborate and share ideas within our organization

– Improve the writing experience and save writers time

– Improve the reading experience through all of the above

The guide goes way beyond grammar and style points. It’s not traditional in format or content. You’ll notice that we break a number of grammar rules for clarity, practicality, or preference. We want the MailChimp Style Guide to be helpful and relevant, not stifling or tedious.

The style guide is divided by topic, so writers can use it as a reference or browse in order. We’ve also made the whole thing searchable, since a lot of people go to a style guide looking for something very specific (like "hyphens," "capitalization," or "buttons").

Using the MailChimp Style Guide at other organizations

Any company that publishes content on the web can benefit from a style guide, but writing one can be overwhelming (not to mention booo-ring). It takes a lot of time and resources, and that’s hard to justify when you’re a small business with a million other things to do. That’s why we made the MailChimp Style Guide public, open-source, and available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license.

You’re welcome to use the MailChimp Style Guide as a reference and ignore the parts that don’t apply to your company. Or, you can adapt the guide and make it your own.

If you’d like to adapt our style guide, here it is on GitHub. Feel free to remove guidelines and sections (you’ll want to start by removing the "Writing for MailChimp" and "Content Types" sections), add new ones, and turn it into a practical resource your team can use. We can’t wait to see what you do with it.

Happy writing!