Style Guide Questions


#1

I’ve read through the Style Guide a couple times, and I’ve taken the time to let it digest a bit. I have some significant questions and concerns about the document.

This will be long, and I’m going to be blunt in my wording.

1) Missing information

a) There is no mention of the full legal, long, short, and abbreviated names for ClassicPress. Many situations have requirements regarding the mention of full legal names for companies.

b) Should the name include ™ or ® or some other mark denoting legal status (I don’t know how this works in the UK)?

c) There is no mention of where and how these should be used. When should the full legal name be used? When is it appropriate to use a short name (e.g., “ClassicPress”), and when is it okay to use an abbreviated name (e.g., “CP”).

How are third-party vendors (especially plug-in creators) supposed to refer to ClassicPress in their documentation? What is the appropriate language for saying “This is CP compatible” or “Tested on CP”? (And, as a side note: Why are you preventing CP-compatible third-parties from using your logo? (Pt. 7 in “Logo Usage Guidelines”))

2) Who is this for?

The content seems to waver between “for internal use only” and “for third-party/public use”. One area talks about writing articles (more on that in a minue) and other areas specify fonts and hyperlink colors. This would seem to suggest that people can only blog about ClassicPress if they use the correct link colors–which, given all the design differences of themes–is obviously not the case.

3) What is this for?

a) ClassicPress is an online tool. Most discussion about it will be online. So why are all colors based on CMYK? And… CMYK specs for hyperlinks and buttons? Why do those even exist?

b) With fonts and logos there is, again, a confusion as to whom this governs. Is this strictly for internal use (CP Design Team) or for external use (third-party restrictions are specifically listed in various areas).

4) 16 colors?

The guide lists 16 unique colors. Isn’t that a tad much? I’ve never written a style guide with more than 6 colors.

And, again: Who do these apply to? If you’re talking to core designers, then it may be appropriate to have very detailed specs. If you’re talking to third parties, such specs are misplaced.

5) Legal & moral issues

I have some real concerns with this:

ClassicPress welcomes articles, videos, and podcasts that portray ClassicPress in a positive or neutral way. ClassicPress permits the use of our logo solely for editorial or information purposes. By using our logo, you agree to adhere to our brand guidelines.

For a fork created because of negative reviews and harsh criticism of the original project, this seems rather… hypocritical.

It reads as: “You’re not allowed to criticize us.” I don’t think this the attitude you want to present to the public.

Those restrictions–as well as those in the final paraghraph–are also virtually unenforceable in the UK (CDPA 1998 “Fair Dealings” doctrine) and US (Title 17 “Fair Use” doctrine). Not to mention the fact that they’re a PR nightmare.

a) Has any of this wording been vetted by a lawyer qualified in international copyright law?

b) Why is this in a Style Guide?

My Suggestions

A Style Guide should be just that–a guide to the design and style elements. Politics and legal language do not belong in this document (with the exception of specifics such as “use the legal name for the first mention of the organization” or “do not use this logo connected to any other logo”).

  1. Separate the guide into “Internal” and “External” sections (or separate documents). The former will govern design in all CP-released applications and documents. It can be very extensive and precise. The latter will apply to third-party usage. It should be simple, forgiving, and clear to understand.

  2. Separate visual specs into “print” and “web”. Make it clear which specs apply to which media, and eliminate any that don’t (e.g., don’t list CMYK for web-only aspects).

  3. Simplify the palette (at least for external use). No more than 6 colors.

  4. Drop the Mission Statement. That’s not about design, and belongs elsewhere.

  5. Drop the “who can use stuff” language. That should be handled by Marketing/PR (in consultation with Legal) in a separate document (or the Legal team alone, if there is one).

  6. Drop all the pseudo-legal content. It’s likely to get CP into trouble. Vet any legal concerns through a lawyer (with international copyright experience) and publish it as a separate document.

  7. Drop the entire paragraph about “positive or neutral” reporting. It’s a PR minefield and will only cause difficulties (it’s also unenforceable).

  8. Drop the paragraph listing all the places the logo can’t be used. Replace it with a (legal team vetted) statement saying that CP (full legal name) “maintains the right to enforce any and all moral and usage rights under applicable copyright and trademark law”.

The design aspects of the document (aside from needing clarity as to whom & where they apply) are fairly solid. Focus on that and leave the other areas to the appropriate teams.


ClassicPress style guide
#2

Hi Blaze, I really appreciate your time and critique of the document. Perhaps it was a little over-reaching to try to roll too much into one document, but this does follow the pattern of other brand style guides that have been published recently (check out Google’s, for instance).

There are some sound reasons why other things happened the way they did and I’m happy to have a 1:1 conversation with you about it, but am short for time for the rest of the week so I’m not going to spend too much time on it here right now – I need to get back to my actual job :wink: . Perhaps we can make some time to discuss further?

This was always meant to be a living document and can be reworked; I’m happy to share the InDesign file with you if you’d like to take that on.

Let me know if you’d like to contribute – thanks.


#3

Perhaps it was a little over-reaching to try to roll too much into one document, but this does follow the pattern of other brand style guides that have been published recently (check out Google’s, for instance).

Google has an international legal team the size of Rhode Island. It’s guaranteed that everything they publish has been thoroughly vetted in multiple jurisdictions.

Has any of what you published been vetted by any lawyers?

There are some sound reasons why other things happened the way they did and I’m happy to have a 1:1 conversation with you about it,

I appreciate the offer, but… I have no interest in a “1:1 conversation” where you explain all your reasons to me. It’s a waste of time.

You asked for feedback. I gave mine. Use it or don’t.

If you feel there needs to be discussion, reply in the forums and let everyone comment.

This was always meant to be a living document and can be reworked; I’m happy to share the InDesign file with you if you’d like to take that on.

InDesign? Why isn’t CP publishing documents through FOSS applications and open formats?


#4

Opinions are certainly welcome, rudeness is not.


#5

That is not rude. It’s a neutral statement, stated concisely. It’s how we talk where I come from.

“You requested that members offer their feed back. Please accept mine. If you feel that the feedback is of use, please feel free to use it. If, however, you feel that it’s not of value, I fully understand, and will not be offended if you choose not to use it”.

Or… my original 11 words.

If you want to be a major player in the global market, grow a thicker skin. You’ll need it.


#6

Or you could have left that part out altogether.


#7

This, right here, is where we lost the opportunity to go from blunt, but potentially useful feedback, to constructive improvements.

If you’re going to tell us we’re doing things wrong, fine, but then it’s on you to put forth actual effort to contribute after typing those words from behind your keyboard.


#8

That’s no excuse when talking to someone who is not where you are from. Otherwise we’d all talk in local dialects and not actually communicate at all.


#9

@Blaze – there is a difference between blunt and rude. You crossed that line with your tone, particularly in your response to me. I have no time for someone who is just going to come in, talk a big game, but not offer any true and constructive help. I was happy to consider your feedback; in fact, I’d hoped to have a conversation with you about it. But, as you said,

Yes. It is. But not for the reasons you think.

Where you come from, in the setting you work and live within, this might be totally appropriate behavior. It’s not appropriate here, and it’s not appropriate with me. If you’re going to make suggestions, be civil, be respectful, and be prepared to actually follow through and create constructive change.


#10

This is a completely inappropriate response. What is called for, @Blaze, is an apology.
Some of your points were worth making, but you completely blew them up with your superior, know-it-all tone. This is a team effort, and it’s not at all clear you understand how to be part of a team.


#11

That’s no excuse when talking to someone who is not where you are from.

So… you expect everyone to abandon their own culture and submit to the culture of the people they’re talking to?


#12

there is a difference between blunt and rude. You crossed that line with your tone,

How do you determine my tone from letters on a screen?

I have no time for someone who is just going to come in, talk a big game, but not offer any true and constructive help.

I listed 8 “true and constructive” suggestions on how to improve the document (separate print and web, separate in-house and external, simplify the palette, etc.)

If my suggestions are flawed, list the reasons why in the thread. CP claims to embrace “democracy”. That involves public debate. Debate the issues.


#13

The suggestions were fine. It was the delivery that was an issue. When it comes to common courtesy, no debate is needed.


#14

t’s not at all clear you understand how to be part of a team.

By that I assume you mean “Agree with what you’re told to”.

If you only want to hear things that agree with you, then I’ll leave. If you want to improve the product, then you’ll need to learn how to deal with criticism (which is, after all, why ClassicPress was created).


#15

It’s not about making a choice between adhering to your culture or “submitting” to someone else’s. It’s about showing respect to people of a different culture.


#16

And your assumption is wrong.


#17

Some of your points were worth making, but you completely blew them up with your superior, know-it-all tone.

I asked questions and I stated suggestions. Isn’t this what debate involves?

Your complaint seems to be that I ask questions and make suggestions directly and with confidence.

If this is the issue, then …

  1. You are going to (and, from what I’ve seen others say, already have) alienate exactly the people you want to attract: the visonaries, the go-getters, the leaders.

  2. ClassicPress is not (and will not be) ready to stand up to WordPress. If you want to become a major player, you’re going to have to learn how to “run with the big dogs”.

Look at the list of major clients on the WordPress site. Zero of them will care about your “feelings”. They’ll want to work with a provider that is tight, solid, and ready to handle whatever is thrown at them.

This is a team effort, and it’s not at all clear you understand how to be part of a team.

I understand, quite perfectly, how to be part of a team. A good team has a defined leader, hierarchies, seniority, meritocracy, and accountability. And a good team accepts complaints and dissent–because they know that these are tools to improve the team (product).

Do you actually want a team? Or do you want people who politely agree with you?


#18

I have moved this thread to a new thread as it is getting off-topic but some of the questions were still valid.

That being said, ClassicPress is a welcoming community where you are allowed to disagree but there is distinct tone that is making this conversation unwelcoming to discussion. I will point everyone to the Forums FAQs and if this continues to be unwelcoming I will be closing this thread.

Please take a moment to read before continuing this discussion: https://forums.classicpress.net/faq


#19

ClassicPress is a welcoming community where you are allowed to disagree

No. It isn’t.

It’s a community insisting on a specific social agenda and a specific set of rules for social interaction (rules that are not applicable to most of the world’s cultures).

where you are allowed to disagree

We are allowed to disagree? We have your permission?

I support the idea of forking WP to maintain a “classic” version. But it has become evident that ClassicPress is unprepared and ill-equipped for dealing with the global business world.


#20

The replies in this thread have been increasingly unhelpful, off-topic and rude.

This behavior is not acceptable on our forums. We expect all community members to act like adults and treat each other with respect.

Due to the general tone on display in this thread, and to avoid further wasting of everyone’s time, we’ve also locked the thread to further posts.