The Envato Blog Writing and Style Guide
A quick guide for pitching stories for publication on the Envato Blog, and some insight on our editorial process.
Thanks for your interest in becoming a contributing writer for the Envato Blog. Our writers are designers, developers, entrepreneurs, artists, and creative people from around the world.
This is our guide for writers.
- Part 1: What is Envato?
- Part 2: Some basic rules of writing
- Part 3: A very brief style guide
- Part 4: A step-by-step checklist for pitching a story
Part 1: What is Envato?
Envato is a creative ecosystem of sites and services for digital assets and creative people.
We like to say that we ‘make creative ideas come to life.’ Here’s what that means:
- Envato Market is our collection of marketplaces where creative people around the world sell digital assets — including WordPress themes, code, video templates, stock music, photography, artwork, and more.
- Envato Elements is our newest product: a subscription-based marketplace for design assets.
- Envato Tuts+ is the learning hub for the Envato community, with over 21,000 free how-to tutorials.
- Envato Studio is a place to connect with freelancers for custom creative and technical services, such as logo design, content writing, app production, and more.
The Envato Blog is our publication about creativity & design.
Looking for creative inspiration and design insights from our community? The Envato Blog is where we share our best insights, resources, design tips, and stories. You can find it at envato.com/blog.
We work with writers from around the world, and we’re always looking to grow and diversify the voices that contribute to our website. The Envato Blog covers a diverse range of topics on everything design, web development, creativity, technology, WordPress, and freelancing/entrepreneurship.
Here are some examples of article topics we write about:
- New and unique trends in web design and graphic design
- Anything WordPress and web development
- Articles related to creative projects and pursuits, such as video-making or audio
- Stories related to freelancing, entrepreneurship, or diversity in tech & design
- Online learning and resources for being a better creative
Part 2: Some basic rules of writing
This section falls somewhere between a style guide and general writing advice. Here’s 5 ideas to check your writing against:
1. Be interesting
I will publish an article only when I have something important to say. — Ali Mese, How to Start a Blog in the Most Cluttered Marketplace in History
Write something interesting and original. The world of design-writing is a noisy one — please give us an idea that we haven’t heard before! We’re looking for ideas that haven’t already been written about extensively on other sites.
This sounds obvious, but we’ll say it anyways: write something that you’d actually want to read. We also (generally) don’t republish articles from other sites.
2. Be accurate, nice, and useful
“First, is it true? Second, is it kind? Third, is it necessary?” — Sathya Sai Baba, or Rumi, or Buddha
The origin of this quote is unclear, but the message is simple: ask yourself if what you’re saying is true, kind, and necessary. While this is generally applied to conversations and personal relationships, I think it’s also just as relevant in writing.
Make sure your information is factually accurate and serves a purpose for the reader. And please, write with kindness — there’s plenty of space for mean writing, but the Envato Blog isn’t one of them.
3. Be genuine
“If someone cares more about what their industry peers think of them than the problems they are solving, they’re a bullshitter.” — Sean Blanda, The Creative World’s Bullshit Industrial Complex
Do you know enough about the topic you’re writing about to author an article about it? If you’re only writing to elevate your own status, please pitch your stories elsewhere. We’re not that interested in ‘thought leaders’ or ‘influencers’, nor do we care how many Twitter followers you have. We only care if your idea is a good one.
On that note, please do not send pitches if you’re just looking for backlinks or self-promotion.
4. Be concise
“Write the best story that you can and write it as straight as you can.” — Ernest Hemingway
State your idea in the simplest way possible. Don’t ‘bury the lead’ — talk about your strongest ideas first. We don’t commission by word count for the Envato Blog, because quality > quantity.
Not sure if your writing would pass the test for conciseness? I’d recommend running your writing through the Hemingway App, a very useful web app that assigns a ‘readability score’ and identifies dense sentences, passive phrases, weak adverbs, and other writing red flags.
5. Be accessible
“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” — H. L. Mencken, journalist & editor
Another often misquoted line, which is especially relevant for the world of web design writing. We don’t shy away from complex topics on the Envato Blog, but sense-check your writing to make sure it can be understood by the average reader. Make sure your tone is friendly and professional. Avoid jargon-y terms, acronyms, or ‘insider’ language.
Make sure your writing is inclusive. This means paying attention to details in your writing, and not assuming the gender of your reader. In examples, stick to gender-neutral pronouns (‘their’ instead of ‘his’).
Part 3: A very brief style guide
We haven’t written an extensive style guide for the Envato Blog, and that’s because there’s enough out there to reference without writing our own. Here’s a few pages to read through or bookmark:
- For Envato-specific questions: the Envato Tuts+ Style Guide. In addition to voice and tone guidelines, it also has notes on Envato words and branding.
- For grammar: The Associated Press (AP) Style Guide format is a reliable source. Grammar Girl is another great online resource for specific questions about grammar and style.
- For Medium: A style guide for writing on Medium, from freecodecamp. This is the best Medium style guide I’ve found — particularly for Medium-specific questions, like image placement and text formatting.
Some rules we follow on the Envato Blog:
- American English. Favorite, color, center, internationalization (vs. favourite, colour, centre, internationalisation). Keep in mind that you’re writing for a global audience — this means being mindful of cultural differences, and citing studies/examples outside of just one region.
- Title-case article titles. There’s even this handy web tool that will convert your titles to title-case for you!
- Capitalization of Envato marketplaces: Our marketplace names should be written as ThemeForest, VideoHive, AudioJungle, CodeCanyon, GraphicRiver, 3DOcean. Our products should always include ‘Envato’ in the name (for example, Envato Elements, not just Elements). When in doubt, check the word list.
Part 4: A step-by-step checklist for pitching a story
A step-by-step guide to our process for new writers:
Step 1: Develop your article idea
What do you want to write about? Generally, our articles fall into these formats:
- Inspirational/idea-driven: First-person narrative stories about an experience, a subject, or an industry concept. These should be personal, conversational, and thought-provoking.
- Informational: A dive into a specific topic, with the intent to provide resources for the creative community
- List-style: An article broken down into list form as a resource for our community. Keep in mind that lists are not reserved solely for product round-up style articles; consider using this structure for alternate topics, as well (for example, “8 Lessons I Learned as a Freelancer”).
- Case studies or inside-design processes: a deeper dive into a project or process related to design.
A standard article is usually about 700–1600 words in length, but there’s no set requirement. We pay by article type, not by word count.
Step 2: Send us a pitch for your story
Once you’re ready, send a short pitch to email@example.com.
Include your name, a bit of information about yourself, and links to any published writing.
Step 3: The actual writing part
If we think your article idea is a good fit for publication on the Envato Blog, we’ll be in touch with further notes and a first draft date.
Some writing guidelines and useful tools:
- For images: All images should be 760px wide. Feature images should be 1200px wide. Make sure your images are properly attributed, and that you have permission to use the image. You can use anything from Envato Elements, which includes stock photos, graphics, and illustrations– just provide the link to the image or asset so we can swap it with the non-watermarked version.
- For screenshots: If you need website screenshots (which is likely if you’re writing about web design), Full Page Screen Capture is a helpful Chrome extension.
- For GIFs: This free Video to GIF converter is a simple way to add some animation to your article.
- For writing: Check out writing app Ulysses, or outline your ideas in WriteMapper.
- For making your writing better: Run your first draft through the Hemingway App. Aim for a score of 8–10. Grammarly is great, too.
Step 4: Editing
We’ll will work with you to develop your article idea and make your writing shine. Share the first draft of your article with our editor via Google Drive by the predetermined draft deadline. With this, be sure to include:
- Any photos you’d like to include in the article (please only use photos you have the appropriate permissions to use!)
- A clear, professional photo for your author bio
- A few sentences about you for your bio, written in third person. Feel free to link to your Twitter account, website, or other areas, but keep it at 1–2 links total. In general, please include your name, job title, and a few interests (personal or professional).
Step 5: Publication
After the editing process, we’ll publish your article on our blog (hooray!). From there, we’ll shout it from the rooftops (via social media and our communication channels, where relevant). We encourage you to share your post on your own social networks — tag us in the post, so we know where to find you!
Step 6: Re-publishing on Medium
This is an optional step, but one we’d encourage: republish your article on Medium!
Envato has a Medium publication, and by republishing your article on our Medium publication, you’ll reach new audiences (as well as add to your personal writing portfolio on Medium). To do this, you’ll need a Medium account — we’ll add you as a contributor to our publication.
If your story is already on Medium:
- Here’s Medium’s guide to adding a draft to a publication.
If your story is published on the Envato Blog:
- On Medium, go to Menu > Stories and then follow the Import a Story button on the top right.
- From there, you can import your story using the published Envato Blog URL. Medium will automatically add a line at the end with attribution to the original article! Note that this import system has some flaws, so you’ll need to proofread and correct some of the formatting (and probably re-upload some of the images).
- Once you’re happy with your story on Medium, click on Add to Publication and choose Envato. We’ll get an email about your story submission, and we’ll edit (as necessary), and then schedule for publishing.
Questions? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A version of this guide was originally published on the Envato Blog.