Content design patterns

Taken from the Government Digital Service’s design principles

Recurring problems

  • refer to the same things using the same words
  • use the same type of patterns with language
  • write and design naturally and consistently

If you’re using phrases repeatedly

  • “download and fill in the form” (for any form)
  • “you must enter a <field name>” (for error messages in interactive content)
  • “open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm” (for helplines)

Patterns and sentence structure

Information hierarchy

Using design elements consistently


When Google Trends confuses you (a niche use of a pattern)

  • for SEO
  • to make sure it’s not new when the user has to encounter it on a form (if they have to)

Maintaining a pattern repository

If you want to know more



Content strategist at Facebook. Ex-Citizens Advice, HMRC and GDS. Mostly interested in brutalism, intersectional feminism and accessibility.

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