At it's core, a style guide is simply a list of do's and don'ts for formatting text and punctuation so that people have a consistent reading experience. APA and MLA  are two popular style guides used in academic writing, while the AP Stylebook is the standard style used in journalism. 

Like many publishers, we've taken pieces of established style guides to create our own unique style guide. Here are the standard styles used across WSU Blogs.

All Caps

Do not use all caps text. It comes across as loud and aggressive in text--like the writer is yelling at the reader.


Ampersands (&) are ok in headings but use “and” in body text.


Choose one option: Nov. 14, 2015 or Sunday, Nov. 14

Always abbreviate months: 

  • Jan.
  • Feb.
  • Mar.
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • Aug.
  • Sept.
  • Oct.
  • Nov.
  • Dec.

Education Degrees

Omit periods for abbreviations:  BA, BS, MA, MS, MFA, MBA, PhD

Write bachelor's, and master's degrees with an apostrophe, then an "s". You don't need to capitalize degrees in running text.

Email Addresses

Addresses are always spelled out and linked with “mailto” links.

Gendered Pronouns

Use they/themselves when referring to a person or people in general.

Avoid “he or she” and “his or her” sentence constructions. Use they/them/their instead, or rewrite the sentence to avoid using pronouns entirely.

Ask interviewees if they have a preferred gender pronoun they'd like you to use.


Use WSU images from Flickr or take a new photo of campus/students. 

Use Google Images (free for non-commercial use with modification) as a very last resort.

Clip art and blinking images are not allowed.


Use a short, descriptive phrase for the anchor text. 

Do not use "click here" as link text.

Hyperlinks open in a new window unless the link is to another page on the WSU site.


In bulleted lists, the bullet is the punctuation. Commas, semicolons or other punctuation is not required at the end of each item.


Spell out First through Ninth and One through Nine.

Phone Numbers

Phone numbers use periods, not dashes or parentheses: 507.457.5000

Text Alignment

Do not center text.  All text should be left aligned.

Text Color

Do not color body text. Only use the pre-set headers to change the color and size of text.


Times do not include periods or spaces. "Even" times do not require zeros: 7pm (not 7:00).

When listing start and end times, use a space between the dash: 8am - 4pm.


In running text, italicize the following:

  • books
  • CDs
  • catalogs
  • paintings
  • plays
  • movies
  • radio and television programs
  • musical compositions
  • pamphlets
  • periodicals
  • web publications

Add quotation marks for these:

  • presentations
  • lectures
  • dissertations and theses
  • radio and television episodes
  • songs
  • essays
  • lectures
  • short stories


Do not underline unless text is a link. these typically indicate web navigation cues, such as links to other web sites