Written By
Sara McGuyer
October 29, 2015
Posted In

Tone It Up

October 29, 2015

For any web project, people often assume technology will be the biggest challenge. But nope... 

From our experience, it's almost always content that is the hardest part. In our work today with Project Libertas' School for Community Learning, we're also creating a bevy of print pieces, doubling down on the complexity of our content needs.

One thing we've found to be critical in getting content right is starting with absolute same-pagery on how we want to sound. Luckily, the School for Community Learning has a recently updated brand guidleines document with several paragraphs about ideal brand dimensions. We used those as a starting point to define a succinct set of words to define brand tone. 

Brand tone can be a lot like core values. If they're too long, it's hard to keep them in your head and actually put them into action. It's so important that brand tone be simple enough you can recall it while writing and editing. 

Given the 24HWP constraints (Oh time! You fly by so fast!), instead of a nicely laid out and illustrated addition to brand gudielines, we have a pretty rough and dirty whiteboard. But hey – it works as a minimum viable product!

School for Community Learning brand tone

We extracted some keywords from their existing brand guidelines document, then boiled it down even further. The underlined words were those that resonated the most with the School for Community Learning team, so we chose those for our brand tone.


With this set of words selected, we tackled the home page collaboratively. We used the brand tone as a filter to make edits: Do we sound welcoming? Inquisitive? 

By asking these questions and more, then tweaking words, we tested our brand tone, and developed alignment about how those words help us bring the school's voice to life. Now, we're all set to divide and conquer on other content!