Style Guidelines for communications sent by the Dean's Office

Write Infrequently
Please minimize traffic on SHASS email lists. If sending out an announcement, please forego reminders.

Be Concise
All emails should be drafted so as to minimize the time-commitment they impose on readers.

Keep the Tone and Styling Dignified
Aim closer to White House Statement than Birthday Party Announcement.

Minimize the Use of Images
Think twice about using an image. If you find that you must use an image, use no more than one and ensure that it is of high quality. If your image contains text, please use lossless data compression (such as PNG) rather than lossy compression (such as JPEG).

Minimize Typographical Variation
Please consider sending your message in plain text. If you must use rich formatting, please abide by the following guidelines:

  • Use no more than two typefaces. If you decide to use two, please confine one to the headings and the other to the body. (Typefaces in images count as typefaces.)
  • Ensure that the text’s body is set in default size.*
  • Avoid non-default colors in text’s body (except hyperlinks).
  • If you must use more than one color in your message, please ensure that any color variation is confined to headings and images and that all colors belong to a consistent palette.
  • Use emphasis (e.g., boldface, Italics, underlining, all-caps) sparingly; never use more than one style of emphasis in a single message.
  • Try to avoid using footers. If your email program forces use of a footer, make sure it is significantly shorter than the body of the text. 

Apply Exceptions
You may apply exceptions to the rules above, but exceptions should be rare. If you do opt for an exception, make sure you have a good reason for doing so.

Suggested links

Email Guidelines for the SHASS academic units


Email clients usually keep track of formatting using HTML tags. For example, the tag <font size="7" face="arial" color="green"> generates larger fonts from the Arial typeface family in green.

If you use formatting, and if your email client encodes that formatting using HTML tags, you can check that default sizes are being used by ensuring that the size parameter is absent from the relevant HTML tags. Similarly, you can check that default colors are being used by ensuring that the color parameter is absent.


Guidelines developed by Dean Agustín Rayo