active voice
addressing users
ampersand
apostrophes
app notifications
Automotive Events (AE)
cities
colon
colors
company names
consistency
contractions
dates
decimals
ellipses
em dash
emojis
error messages
event industry
exclamation mark
Facebook
file extensions
first-ever
fractions
hashtags
hierarchy
Hyundai Motor Company
in-app chats
Instagram
links
manufacturer
money
negative language
numerals
percentages
quotes
ranges
semicolons
SOA
social media don'ts
states
Subaru of America
tagging
text style
telephone numbers
time
time zones
trends
Twitter
URLs
vendors
voice and tone

Automotive Events (AE)

This is us. We are headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, with offices in Los Angeles and Manchester, UK. We produce events and content, as the name suggests, mostly for the automotive industry.

Avoid: (1) Inc. after name unless in legal documents (2) use of comma after incorporation abbreviation and (3) AE, unless previously defined.

Colors

AE's primary color is red. When used with digital products, the color code is #e51938. A swatch sample is at left.

Twitter

AE is on Twitter, under the username @tweetsbyae. When using, keep character count to 125 or less.

Subaru of America (SOA)

A subsidiary of Subaru Corporation, based in Cherry Hill, N.J. Use SOA on second reference, not Subaru.

Facebook

Keep posts at one to two sentences of less than 20 words each. AE is on Facebook, under the username postsbyae.

Tagging

When tagging people or organizations on social media, be sure to avoid calling to them, i.e., "Hey, @johnboy, look at this cool pic from the test drive."

Instead, mention subtly, i.e., "We recently worked with @johnboy during a test drive of the new [car name]."

Hashtags

Avoid hashtags unless part of a trending topic that is deemed worthy within the industry.

Trends

Be aware of trending topics and breaking news. Do not post on social media during any nationwide or local mass incidents, i.e., if a recall is underway for a car, do not post about that vehicle or company.

Manufacturer

This is a somewhat technical term. Use company instead.

Numerals

While numbers under 10 are generally spelled out, use the digit for faster comprehension.

Links

When it's not possible to eliminate links, such as when posting on Facebook, always convert to shorter links using Google's URL shortener. When possible, use linked text.

Company Names

Follow the company's preference. If the name begins a sentence, capitalize.

Ampersand

It is acceptable to use an ampersand in a social media post or an in-app heading to keep within length.

Do not use an ampersand in blog posts, emails, or user interface text where word count is not limited.

In-App Chats

Be conversational, but professional. Do not use acronyms or jargon. Keep answers to between 5 and 30 words for readability.

App Notifications

Be straightforward in 15 words or less. Use plain language.

Dinner shuttle in 15 minutes. Meet in hotel lobby.

Error Messages

Keep these messages between 10 and 50 words. Quickly alert the user to (1) the problem and (2) how to fix it.

Voice and Tone

AE is: (1) professional (2) friendly (3) knowledgable (4) straightforward and (5) human

These 5 points should reflect in everything we write across digital products.

Active Voice

Always use active voice. This is when the subject performs the action denoted by the verb.

Active: The man is eating the hamburger.

Passive: The hamburger is being eaten by the man.

Contractions

Use contractions, but make sure you do so correctly. For a list, click here.

Exclamation Mark

Use sparingly. Never use more than one together.

Text Style

Use only one form, when necessary. Don't use a combination of bold, capitalization, underline, or italics.

Hyundai Motor Company

Use Hyundai for all references. When needing to specify U.S. operations, Hyundai USA is acceptable. Hyundai USA is located in Fountain Valley, Calif.

vendors

When communicating about work with other parties, refer to the company collectively: "We are working on XXXX."

social media don'ts

On all platforms, we do not discuss or reveal pre-event information. Our social platforms are reserved only for live event or post-event info.

Instagram

AE is on Instagram, under the username @imagesbyae. No character count restriction, but keep it short.

Do not edit images for embellishment. Use video sparingly, unless it defines the event, i.e., the exact moment of a car reveal.

Consistency

Stick to the copy patterns and styles outlined in this guide.

Hierarchy

Lead with the main point in sentences, paragraphs, sections, and pages.

Oxford Comma

This is the final comma in a list of items. Use it.

Example: My breakfast includes coffee, bacon and eggs and toast. (It is unclear whether the eggs are grouped with the bacon or the toast. Using the Oxford would fix this problem.)

Emojis

While fun, use infrequently. ;)

Dates

(1) Spell out day and/or use numeral, and abbreviate months: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. (2) separate with a comma (3) use year if discussing date not in current year

Monday, Jan. 8, 2017

Percentages

Always spell out percent, except when used on social media. On social media, use %.

Fractions

No: 1/2

Yes: one-half

Decimals

Always use when number cannot be written out, i.e., 1.45.

Time

Capitalize the Latin abbreviations, no periods: AM, PM.

Use noon for 12 PM and midnight for 12 AM.

Use 12-hour format: 3:45 PM.

Ranges

Use "to" to indicate a range in numbers, i.e., 10 to 20. Don't use a hyphen, unless within the app's agenda.

Money

For all currencies, use the symbol-amount format. For amounts greater than 0, use decimal amounts.

$5, or $5.25 / €5, or €5.25

Telephone Numbers

Use the following format for U.S. numbers: (555) 555-5555.

For non-U.S. numbers, use +55 555 555 5555.

For an international audience, use +1 before any U.S. number: +1 (555) 555-5555.

Time Zones

Abbreviate: Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Time (MT), Pacific Standard Time (PST)

Apostrophes

If the word ends with an s and it is singular, add 's: James's water.

If the word ends with an s and it is plural, only add ': managers' waters.

Colon

Use a colon to offset a list, i.e., John doesn't know what car to buy: Subaru, Toyota, or Hyundai?

Em Dash

Use a true em dash (—), not a hyphen (-) or double hyphen (--). Also, em dahses do not have spaces on either side.

The new website—one of many online initiatives rolled out this year—is expected to increase engagement.

Ellipses

Use sparingly. Use primarily to indicate omitted words in a quote.

Question Marks

Question marks always go inside quotation marks. Also, they go inside parentheses when the parenthetical stands alone.

File Extensions

Always uppercase: JPG, PDF, GIF. Add a lowercase s to make plural: JPGs, PDFs, GIFs.

Semicolons

Never use.

Quotes

When quoting someone, use said: "That's great," said John.

When quoting a document, use says: "This car is great," says the article.

Cities

When referencing cities, all cities should be accompanied by their state, except for: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington.

States

Spell out states unless accompanied by a city. If accompanied by a city, abbreviate: Jacksonville, Fla.

URLs

When not needed, avoid using http(s)://www.

Negative Language

Avoid using can't, won't, don't, etc.

Event Industry

We work in the event industry.

Not in the events industry, event's industry, or events' industry.

First-ever

Use only first. Never, ever.

Addressing Users

Avoid mixing me/my with you/your. Doing this can cause confusion.