The Envato Blog Writing and Style Guide

Artwork: New Worlds by hellomartco

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?

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:

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.

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: 

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 and original

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. 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 (I’m not interested in a pitch on the ‘ugliest website designs,’ or similar ideas).

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. As an editor, I’m not interested in ‘thought leaders’ or ‘influencers’, and I don’t care how many Twitter followers you have. I 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:

Some rules we follow on the Envato Blog:

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 editor@envato.com.

Include your name, a bit of information about yourself, and links to any published writing.

Step 3: Writing

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:

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:

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!

Speaking of social media, you can find us @envato on TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagram, and Medium.

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 writer to our publication.

Questions? Email: editor@envato.com.

This guide was originally published in April 2017, and has been updated in October 2017.