General style points
Use Arial font for all internally-produced print and digital documents, including emails, flyers, PowerPoint, letters, reports, and minutes. You should use a size 14 where possible for accessibility and readability and size 12 as a minimum.
The Helvetica Neue family and Harabara Regular (for headings only) are the primary typefaces for all Progress Housing Group communications; use these fonts for all professionally produced materials.
Some of our subsidiary brands use a different font. Refer to the relevant brand guidelines.
No other fonts should be used, such as serif typefaces (e.g., Times New Roman) or script typefaces (e.g., Comic Sans, Brush Script).
Colour provides a strong visual link to our brand identity across various applications. Progress Blue is our brand's primary corporate colour, and bullets should be used as the predominant colour in all communications to give our material a consistent and distinctive design.
Supporting colours can be used to provide variety and emphasis in communications. Use the corporate colours predominantly, and use the supporting colours sparingly. Avoid using colours such as red which convey urgency, and yellow and green, which can be challenging to read.
Do not use the following coloured font combinations:
- Green, yellow, or purple on a green background
- Light colours on a white background
- Neon or rainbow colours
- Coloured, textured background with coloured text
- Red, blue, or purple on black background
- White gradient with white text
- Multiple shaded boxes
- Yellow, blue, and magenta on red background
- Bright blue background
- Pale yellow background
Also, avoid using WordArt, Clipart, and multiple fonts and colours.
Position the logo at the top right corner and in full colour.
- Only use the single colour logo when the print is limited to one colour.
- The relationship between the elements, and the proportions, must not be altered, stretched, or modified in any way.
- The integrity of the logo should be maintained, and it should not be modified or repurposed in any way.
Your role may require you to produce communications such as simple flyers and posters. Any desktop design work should be created using pre-existing templates in the Group's design application, Canva. This is to ensure brand compliance and consistency. If you wish to use the software, please email the Marketing and Communications Team.
All bulk communications for external audiences (such as flyers, bulk letters, and email templates), direct mail, newsletters, advertising, and leaflets) should always be directed through the Marketing and Communications Team for review before release.
There are specific guidelines for managing digital content (including websites, intranet and presentations) to ensure accessibility and a good user experience.
Do not use images for text.
Screen readers are used by some people with poor eyesight (almost two million people are living with sight loss in the UK). This application reads out the text elements on a web page. Screen readers cannot read out the content of an image. You can set an image's alt tag, which a screen reader will read, but the best practice is not to use images as text. Use text as text.
When a web page is resized for mobile and tablet, an image can only ever be the width of the device's screen. Text as an image will not break over two lines like written text will, so the image and, therefore, the text will be much smaller than it looks on a desktop and may end up being smaller than the standard font around it.
Do not use images containing text which is important to the user experience.
Suppose you are using an image that contains an important piece of information. In that case, you should consider putting this information on the page as written text. As in the previous point, a screen reader will not pick up the text in an image. You can always set text over a background image using HTML and CSS.
Image alt tags
Do use image alt tags. In Umbraco, this means adding an alt attribute when you upload an image. This is good for people using screen readers and search engine optimisation.
Hyperlinks should describe what the user is about to click on. People using screen readers can only read out the hyperlinks on a page. If they are using this functionality, then a descriptive hyperlink gives them a better idea of what they will be directed to rather than 'click here'.
Don't use: For more information about shared ownership, click here. (this will only read out 'click here').
Images should be as small as possible in file size while retaining their quality. You will need to use an image editor to reduce the image's file size. Do not simply download an image from a stock website and upload it directly to the website.
An image from a stock website can be more than 10Mb. Most optimised images should be around or below 200kb. This is 50 times smaller than 10Mb. A 10Mb image will take a long time to download (especially on mobile) and significantly eat into the user's data.
Image width should be set as a percentage of the page rather than a fixed width (e.g., pixels).
This means the image will be mobile optimised. The image will resize when the screen is smaller than the original image width.
Please stick to the colours provided in the CMS.
These have been chosen with accessibility and consistency across the site in mind and are also aligned with the Group's visual brand.
Colour is not always required to achieve good design or draw the user's attention to something. A more successful way of achieving this is using white space, bold and increased font sizes, different layout formats, and buttons.
The online font we use is Source Sans Pro. Please do not use anything else online. Do not use below 16px for the body font.
Use the following style:
- 1 February 2023, Friday 2 April 2023
- Always write the year in full (2023, not 23 or ‘23), unless referring to a range of years (see below)
- Do not use 'th', 'st', 'nd', 'rd' after numbers in dates
- Do not put the month first, e.g., February 10, 2023
When referring to a time, use 'from' and 'to', 'between' and 'and', or a dash (en rule) without spaces. Don't use a mixture.
- from 18 to 21 April, between 18 and 21 April, 18–21 April
- from May to July, between May and July, May–July
For a range of years, use a slash (oblique) where a single year covers parts of two calendar years; otherwise, use a dash (en rule).
- the financial year 2022/23, Annual Report 2022/23
- the 1914–18 war, Mr Smith, was in post for six years (1993–99)
Use capitals for special occasions and historical periods and events, but not centuries or seasons:
- New Year's Day, the Middle Ages, the Fifth of November
- the 21st century, spring, summer, autumn, winter
Write one to nine in words. Use numerals for numbers from 10 upwards and for all amounts that include a decimal point or those followed by a symbol (such as 8% or £4). The same applies to ordinals - 'first', 'second', '12th', '100th', and so on.
However, use words - even for numbers over nine - in the following cases:
- when a number comes at the beginning of a sentence
- for approximate numbers, e.g., about thirty people attended
Use numerals - even for numbers one to nine - in the following cases:
- when the number is an exact measurement: 5 metres, 4 tonnes
- when it is followed by million or billion: 2 million
- for page references: see page 6
- where there are two numbers in a range, and one is over ten: between the ages of 4 and 11
Write fractions less than one in words:
- One third, three quarters, a twentieth
Always include commas in numbers from 1,000 upwards. Write out 'million' and 'billion' in lower case with space after the number except in amounts of money (see Money section below). Do not use 'k' to abbreviate thousands.
- 10,000, 15 million homes, £15billion, 250,000
Million and billion should be written in full in lower case, with no space after the numerals. It is acceptable to abbreviate in documents that repeatedly mention sums in millions or billions.
- £15million, £15m, £2billion, £2bn
Don't use brackets for regional codes and write the code as one block:
- 03333 204555
For codes beginning with 02, such as 020 for London, the correct grouping is the three-digit code followed by the number in two blocks of four:
- 020 8008 2034
For 08xx and 09xx numbers, use the grouping preferred by the owner of the number, which is often chosen to make it easier to remember:
- 08700 100 222, 0870 272 272, 08457 48 49 50
In general, use the 12-hour clock. Put a full stop between the hour and minutes, but don't use 00 for times on the hour.
- 2 am
Note that AM is short for ante meridiem, which means 'before noon’, and PM is post meridiem, 'afternoon', so 12 o'clock (day or night) cannot be AM or PM. Use noon or midnight.
When describing a time, use 'from' and 'to', or 'between' and 'and', or a dash (en rule) without spaces. Don't use a mixture.
- From 10am to 3pm, between 10am and 3pm, 10am–3pm
Groups of people
Every person described with a label is a person first and foremost, and our communications must reflect this. For example, we should use terms such as:
- 'People experiencing homelessness' not 'homeless people’
- 'Tenants who are disabled' or 'tenants who have a disability' not 'disabled tenants'
- 'People with learning disabilities' not 'learning disabled people’
Use capital letters for north, south, etc. when they are part of the title of a recognised geographical or political division, but lower case for more general geographic areas:
- the North West (of England), South East Asia
- southern England, the north of Scotland, west London
Check the spelling and, where applicable, the punctuation of place names. For example:
- Lytham St Annes (no full stop after 'St' or apostrophe in 'Annes')
- Samlesbury ('m’ before ‘l’)
- Middlesbrough (no ‘o’ after the ‘b’)
- King’s Lynn (apostrophe), Kings Langley (no apostrophe)
- Farington (one ‘r’)
Ideally, each of the following should appear on a separate line, with no commas:
Company (where applicable)
Building name (where applicable)
Number and street name
County (where relevant – not essential as long as the city and postcode are included)
When writing an address as part of continuous text, use commas to separate each part of the address as follows:
- Progress Housing Group, Sumner House, 21 King Street, Leyland, Lancashire, PR25 2LW
The Progress Housing Group website is www.progressgroup.org.uk. It is written in lower case, even at the beginning of a sentence.
As a general principle, give the URL that is relevant to the part of the organisation that you are communicating about, for example:
Progress Housing Group - www.progressgroup.org.uk
RWP - www.residewithprogress.org.uk
Progress Lifeline - www.progresslifeline.org.uk
Progress Living - www.progressliving.org.uk
Concert Living - www.concertliving.co.uk
Always check that a URL (web address) works by entering it in a web browser.
Please don't use the HTTP:// prefix unless there is a risk that it may not be clear that it is a URL. If the website requires an HTTPS:// prefix, it should be used.
As a general principle for external websites, give the main website URL rather than the URL of a page further inside the site. Websites often change their structure, and the URL of a 'deep' page may change.
Most URLs are in lower case. However, some URLs are case-sensitive, so make sure you use the correct mix of upper and lower case.