Write e.g., i.e., and etc. with full stops. Display NB and PS in capitals, with no full stop.


Try not to use these. If you need to, write the initials with the name in brackets afterwards – e.g. Office for National Statistics (ONS). Then use the acronym for any other references. 


Please write addresses in two ways, using the best way for what you’re working on:

  • Shelter, 88 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HU

  • Shelter
    88 Old Street
    London, EC1V 9HU


You can use bold to place emphasis on certain words or phrases, instead of underlines or italics. Use it sparingly for maximum impact.

Bullet points

Use bullet points instead of numbered lists. Don’t use full-stops or semi-colons at the end of your points, and don’t capitalise the first letter.


Our standard rules are:

  • general proper nouns: the church, the government, the cabinet etc.

  • specific proper nouns: Cabinet Office, Home Office, Church of England etc.

  • jobs: if displayed without a job holder, don’t use capitals – but if displayed with a job holder, do use capitals (e.g. the prime minister, or Prime Minister Boris Johnson)

  • teams: team name is capitalised, ‘team’ isn’t (e.g. Fundraising team)

  • headings: follow colons with a lower-case letter (e.g. Priced out: rising house costs)

  • titles: capitalise the names of reports, reviews etc., but not the noun (e.g. Levison inquiry, Build Social Housing campaign etc.). We don’t capitalise ‘the’ unless the originator wrote it like that or it starts a sentence, e.g. the Shelter Book Club, the BBC etc.


Where appropriate (e.g. in blogs), place captions below photographs. They should have no full stop at the end.


Write them like this:

  • general: 22 November 2019 (no th, rd, or st)

  • decades: 1930s, 1940s

  • ranges: 1989 – 1995, or for the financial year: 2013/14

Email addresses

Write email addresses in full, in lower case and as active links, e.g. You should set up the link to open as an email, with the address in the ‘to’ field. Please email if you aren’t sure how to do this on Contentful.



Headings & sub-headings

Headings are crucial in breaking up your content and making it easy digestible. They should be concise, easy to read, and follow a simple hierarchy. Your main heading, the h1, should describe what your piece is about.

Sub-headings should be h2, and introduce the coming section. Anything beyond that should be h3. If you’re struggling with headings and need guidance, please email

Use hyperlinks to link to other relevant websites, blog posts etc. They should make clear to the user what they can expect to see when they click, and be as concise as possible.

Good example: Our findings, which we published in our 2018 ‘Home Truths’ report, were shocking.

Bad example: Our findings, which we published in our 2018 ‘Home Truths’ report, were shocking.


We do not use italics online, as they can hard for users with dyslexia to read. When denoting titles, names etc., use single quotes instead.


Present measurements in metric. Spell these out in the first instance, then shorten – e.g. metres, then m.


Display as follows:

  • numerals: use words for <10, and numerals for >10

  • ranges: use all numerals for number ranges, e.g. 8 – 10-year-olds

  • quantifiers: write in words: million, billion etc. With money, use £3 million (can be shortened where tight on space, e.g. £3m, 1bn users)

  • don’t begin sentences with numerals (exception: bullet points)


Use numerals and the symbol in copy, e.g. 3%.

Place names

  • Britain: England, Scotland, and Wales only

  • Great Britain: as above, and all the islands off the coast of Britain - except Ireland

  • British Isles: Britain, all of Ireland, and all the islands off the British and Irish coasts

  • United Kingdom: the British Isles without the Republic of Ireland, e.g. England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

We use USA or United States, not America, and Netherlands, not Holland. We use the English spelling for place names, it has been formally renamed.


Use lowercase: winter, spring, summer, and autumn.


Write as follows:

  • use 9am, 9.30am, 9 – 11am rather than nine am, half past nine etc.


Underlines should only appear in our content when they are part of a hyperlink. Using them in any other capacity can create a poor user experience, as they are most commonly associated with links.

Learn how to use our brand’s tone of voice

Speak the same language using our digital glossary

Contact us

Have a question or comment? Found a bug? Or maybe you’d like to contribute to the digital framework? Use our contact form to get in touch.