House Style

“House style” is a publishing term defining the set of rules used in the production of whatever it is they publish. It’s all about consistency – not only within a single work, but across the entire catalogue of the press – everything from spelling conventions to punctuation and layout.




This is a work in progress and should not be taken as even vaguely exhaustive (though it is accurate, and a good indication of the end result). At the moment, it’s more like a semi-populated placeholder.

The Rules:

Examine the text before doing anything else. More than a few layout decisions should be based on the material. Presentation done by rote is as offensive as blindly adding salt to every dish you’re served before even bothering to taste it.

Typeface Character Considerations

When choosing a typeface, compare the following: bar and parallel, ellipsis and a series of three full points. If the former are not of identical height, then create parallel by kerning two bars together. In the case of ellipsis, if the difference is dramatic, choose the wider of the two versions; if the difference is slight, choose the single character.

References and Footnotes

Footnotes should always appear on the page on which they are cited. If a text has extensive and complicated notes, consider using endnotes. This will save hours of time and the complexity of having to figure out how to keep them from overrunning the page on which they initially appear. If few or brief, footnotes are perfectly acceptable.

When using endnotes, divide the notes into sections based on the chapters in which they appear. Restart the numbering of the notes in each chapter.

Punctuation Marks

Use double quotes for the initial quotation, and single quotes for a quotation inside that. Repeat as necessary, alternating in that sequence.

Sentences ending in acronyms or abbreviations terminating in periods do not need additional periods to terminate the sentence.

Formatting Abbreviations

Number – as typically used to refer to product model numbers, addresses, check or invoice numbers, etc. – may be abbreviated several ways, as shown below. In all instances, the plural is formed by adding “s”.

In upper case: “No. 00”, with a word space separating the abbreviating dot and the numeral.

In lower case: “no.00”, which is set close.

A classical form of the number abbreviation may be created by raising the baseline of the “o” until the x-height is equal to the cap height, i.e. the tops of both letters are even. Once the “o” has been raised, it may be styled in various ways:

• By underlining it: No .

• By centering a full stop beneath it: No. .

NOTE: this styling is really only legible at heading or titling sizes, where the type size is great enough to allow a reasonable amount of vertical separation between the characters. Without it, the results will be undesirable – as they pretty much are in the examples above. Use in body text should be avoided. As a general rule, CSS formatting is kludgey and cannot be guaranteed to work, either.

The lower case abbreviations for figure and page are to be set without space before the numeral: fig.00 and p.00.

Formatting Fractions

Fractions shall be laid out without a separating slash, as shown: 3 1116″ ... 31 12 × 21 58.

Spelling and Word Usage

disk with a “k” only when referring to or abbreviating computer diskettes. Use disc in all other instances.

indentation NOT indention