National Dental-Practice Based Research Network Communications Materials Style Guide

I. Introduction

The Style Guide is the set of standards for the writing and design of communications materials (e.g., newsletters, videos, website, meeting materials, etc.) for use in publication internally or externally. The implementation of the Style Guide provides uniformity in style and formatting of documents and communication for the Network. It provides the six regions guidance on approved communication and style to use when creating materials independently of Network headquarters. It also ensures messaging and brand communications are uniform to avoid confusion.

II. General Guidelines

A. Logos

The logo used for all materials developed for the Network is its graphic identity. Consistent application across all media (e.g., print, electronic, web) helps assure brand identity. The logo with tagline should be used on all materials developed for the Network. The following is an example of the correct usage of the logo:


The colors of the Network logo should not be changed. Use the one-color version of the logo when appropriate (e.g., an all-white logo on promotional items, advertisements) to save costs associated with two-color printing or when embossing promotional items. Limit one-color use to black or white (grayscale) only.

Do not alter the logo. Do not alter the logo to include additional graphics or words, or add a border or background. Do not use the logo in a way that suggests endorsement of or ownership by a third party. The following are examples of incorrect ways to use the logo:

Additional logos and co-branding. No logo or graphic other than the Network logo is allowed on materials and communications. This includes study-specific logos/graphics and co-branding. Words or acronyms cannot be used in association with the Network logo, including a specific region (see example above), or study name/acronym. The following are examples of study co-branding, which is not allowed:

You may identify the study materials by using the standards detailed below (Section C. Typography/Font). The following is an allowed example of identifying materials using a title or heading:


Resizing logo. The logo may be scaled proportionally to material orientation; however, avoid scaling smaller than 1” tall x 1.25” wide, at which point the logo is no long legible. Below is an example of a logo that has been scaled too small and is no longer legible:


Logo placement: For handouts and flyers, use top-center justification. For PowerPoint presentations, use bottom-right justification. For posters and memos, use top-right justification.

B. Color Overview

Color is important to create a visual identity. The Network uses a set color scheme that should be adhered to at all times to reinforce the Network identity. Regions may use accent colors (listed below) on regional materials. These accent colors may not replace the standard Network colors, and are to be used as an accent to show regional variance. Standard colors and regional accent colors are provided to use in material development. The secondary/regional colors are only to be used as accents for the region to which the color applies, and are not a substitute for the primary Network colors. The printed results may vary from vendor to vendor, so you should always ask for a proof and adjust the color if needed.

Primary Network Colors:


Secondary/regional accent colors:


Below is an example of the correct usage of regional accent color:


C. Typography/Font

To create a consistent graphic identity, type families are used for materials.

Arial, Arial Black, or Calibri fonts may be used. Examples are shown below. Use the same font throughout the entire document. Do not use one font for headings and another font for the body.


Depending on the material developed, headings and body text size will vary. The following should be used as a general guideline, depending on how much text the developed material contains. The text should be sized proportionately to each other. The standards for materials will be:

  • Flyers: Main Title: 18?20 pt. Sub-Title: 13?14 pt. Body Text: 11?12 pt.
  • Posters: Main Title: 70-80 pt. Sub-Title: 45-50 pt. Body Text: 30-40 pt.
  • Presentations: Title: 36 pt. Sub-Title: 32 pt. Body Text: 24 pt.

D. Approved Terms, Acronyms, and Abbreviations

Spell out acronyms the first time they appear. Place the acronym in parentheses following the phrase. Do not use acronyms in titles. Do not use “the” before the acronym.

Full Name Approved Variations Notes
National Dental Practice-Based Research network
  • National Dental PBRN
  • the Network (e.g., I am a member of the Network)
  • Always capitalize network
  • Do not use acronym NDPBRN
National Institue of Dental and Craniofacial Research
National Institutes of Health
  • NIH
  • Do not include "www" before the URL
  • Do not use bold or italic font or underline the URL unless it is a hyperlink

Capitalize member packet, speaker’s bureau, quick poll, member forum, others if used in a headline or official title (e.g., New Member Forum Coming Soon!). Do not capitalize in the body of the text (e.g., The member forum will only be open to Network members.).

E. Numbers, Decimals, Percentages, and Dates

Numbers: Spell out numerals one through nine; use figures for numerals 10 and greater.

Decimals: Use a period and numerals. Include the hundredths place, unless there are special circumstances

Percentages: Spell out “percent” in text. Use “%” in charts and tables.

Dates: For dates written month-day-year, spell out the month. Do not use numbers or abbreviations for the month.

F. Lists

Bulleted: If a phrase precedes the bulleted list, insert a colon at the end of the phrase. If the bulleted items in the list are each composed of a word or phrase that completes a sentence, insert a period at the end of the last bulleted item only. If at least one of the bulleted items is a complete sentence, insert a period at the end of each bulleted item in the list. Use a circle for the first level of bullet, and a square for the second level.


  • Use a circle for the first level of bullet.
    • Use a square for the second level of bullet.

G. Spacing

After punctuation: Use one space between sentences. One space follows colons, commas, periods, and all other punctuation marks, except hyphens, em dashes, and ellipses.

Hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes: Hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes have no spaces on either side.

III. Medium Variations

A. Digital

Do not underline text. Underline should be used for hyperlinks only.

Reversed out text. Wherever possible, use dark text on a light background.

Contrast. Use high-contrast text and background color combinations.

Font size. Use a minimum of 10 pt. font. Avoid very large text.

Avoid all-capital letters. Use mixed-case text, using bold fonts, larger fonts, or colors for emphasis.

Use descriptive language for links. Avoid non-descriptive links (e.g., CLICK HERE) with informative text (e.g., Register for the meeting)

Use unique anchor words. Users tend to scan down the left side of the screen. Begin headings, lists, or forms with unique words so users can easily find what they are looking for.

B. Video

Use slates to begin and end video. Each video should begin a graphic slate with the Network logo, followed by a slate with the video title. The video should end with a slate stating the grant information (NIH Grant U19-DE-22516), followed by a slate with the Network logo and website. Examples are shown below:


Avoid abrupt transitions from one scene to another. Avoid editing two sequential shots of the same subject taken from camera positions that vary only slightly. B-roll or graphic elements can often be used to avoid this scenario.

Cut on motion. Motion distracts the eye and can help ease a visual transition. When cutting from one image to another, try to do so when the subject is in motion. For example, cutting from a turning head to an opening door is smoother than cutting from a still head to a closed door.

Use a variety of subjects. Avoid using the same person to fill various roles within the same video. For example, do not use the same person to play a patient as well as a regional coordinator conducting training.

Use video to advance the story. Avoid using shots for the sake of variety. Each shot should advance the video.

Adhere to all OSHA requirements. Proper gown, glasses, gloves, and masks will need to be used at all times.

Questions? We can help!

Karra French

Marguerite Campbell