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?
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”).
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.
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).
Simplify the palette (at least for external use). No more than 6 colors.
Drop the Mission Statement. That’s not about design, and belongs elsewhere.
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).
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.
Drop the entire paragraph about “positive or neutral” reporting. It’s a PR minefield and will only cause difficulties (it’s also unenforceable).
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.