Style guide for The Explorer

If you are unsure about how to phrase something, think about how you would explain it to a teenager of average intelligence. He or she will understand something if it is explained simply, but has a short attention span.

For more detailed guidelines we recommend The Economist Style Guide and BBC Style Guide.

General tips

  • Focus on the green/sustainable aspects of your solution, but do not forget to address financial, market-related or other aspects that are important to increasing exports.
  • Focus outwards and prioritise information that is important to potential buyers, investors and partners.
  • Never draw comparisons that show another solution/competitor in a negative light.
  • User testing has shown that the optimal length is 350-400 words.

Title and introduction

  • The title and introduction are vital to capturing the reader’s attention. This is the only text that the reader will see on the page listing all solutions and when the solution is randomly selected and featured on the front page.
  • The title must be short but describe what the solution is.
  • The introduction should be short and catchy, maximum 30 words and 1–2 sentences.

Tone of voice

  • Neutral, informative tone of voice. Avoid fluff and too many adjectives.
  • Informal, non-technical language. Describe your solution in broader terms, keeping technical details to a minimum. Address an average reader, not an engineer. Technical specifications and certifications can be included as attachments.
  • Use the simplest, most common word that is correct.
  • Vary sentence length, and as a general rule avoid sentences over 25 words.
  • Use short paragraphs, preferably no more than 2–3 sentences.
  • Sound confident, but not arrogant. Avoid expressions such as “maybe”, “can be said to be” and “seen by many as”.
  • As general rule, use active voice, although passive voice may be appropriate at times.

Language guidelines

  • Use British English spelling: “–our” ending: colour; “–ence” ending: defence; “s” form: internationalise; prioritise; “–gue” ending: dialogue; “programme”, except for “software program” etc.
  • Use third person (“the company”, “it”), not second person (“you”, “we”).
  • For currency, use ISO standard NOK, EUR, USD, etc. and write out “million”, “billion”, e.g. USD 5 million.
  • Preferably use USD as a unit of measurement, e.g. USD 20/kg.
  • It is okay to use ™ or ©, etc., but not in the title. Use only once per paragraph.
  • Write out “per cent” in two words and use numerals: e.g. 2 per cent, 34 per cent. Use a hard space, not a comma or a period (full stop), between thousands: 2 000, 34 500 000.
  • Use a period as a decimal sign: e.g. 1.5, 3.25.
  • Use double quotation marks “...” around a quote. Do not begin a quote with an en dash.
  • Numerals up to 10 should be written out: one, two, ... nine, 10, 11, ... 20.
  • Never begin a sentence with a numeral.
  • Use abbreviations for “metres” (m), “kilometres” (km), “kilograms” (kg), “kilometres per hour” (kph), “miles per hour” (mph).
  • Use abbreviations for “watt” (W), “kilowatt” (kW), “milliwatt» (mW), “megawatt” (MW), “terawatt” (TW).
  • Use “metric tons”, not “tonnes”.
  • As a rule, avoid using hyphens if possible.
  • Unless an acronym is so familiar that it is used more often than the full name, e.g. AIDS, BBC, CIA, EU, FBI, HIV, IMF, NATO, NGO, OECD, UNESCO, use the full name when it is first introduced, with the acronym in parentheses: e.g. International Energy Agency (IEA).