The following guest post is from a good friend and fellow Heretic Matej Novak, a copywriter with a deep passion for language and branding.
It’s important that words have meanings — specific meanings we all agree on. That’s how we’re able to communicate with one another. But languages grow and evolve. New words get created or old ones take on new meanings. If those words become widespread or common enough, they get added to the dictionary, which doesn’t tell us how we should talk, but how we do talk.
One of my first big projects at my current job was a style guide. As I got into it, I realized the task was less about creating rules and more about recording and codifying what we were already doing. There was some creation involved, but mostly it involved organizing the current practices and ideas into something that would help others understand and incorporate them into their work.
There are times when creation and invention are important, even necessary, but it’s just as important to know when to step back and recognize what’s already in place and working well. When it comes to defining your company’s style or culture, for example, look around. It might be right there, just waiting for you to capture it.