Content Design London

Case study: Reviewing the Australian Government’s style manual

Published 24 June 2021, by Clare Reucroft in Content Process.

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) asked Content Design London (CDL) to carry out a whole-of-publication review of the draft Style Manual for the Australian Government. The DTA wanted to ensure that the manual’s content is findable, readable, credible and usable. 


The DTA wanted to engage with external expertise to help them understand the positives and any potential improvements of their draft Style Manual.

There were 5 main criteria that they wanted to frame the high level review:

  • the overall feel,
  • identifying gaps and errors,
  • words, tone and values,
  • structure, 
  • and that content adhered to Australian Public Service values.

What CDL did 

Working within a tight timeframe, our team worked systematically through the 141 pages of the Style Manual. We reviewed every page against each of the specified criteria and checked it for adhering to accessibility guidelines. 

Our review process was guided by:

Our methodology was to look at patterns within the Style Manual and address these, rather than look for individual examples. 

After we completed the review of the draft Style Manual, we produced a report of our findings for the DTA. The report provided the DTA with a summary of our findings, and an overview of what was working well and suggestions for improvement.

What CDL achieved for the Australian Government

We asked the DTA what outcomes were achieved from CDL’s expert review: 

“We found working with the CDL team easy and constructive. They quickly grasped our brief and provided a fresh perspective on our work. Most importantly, CDL provided clear, actionable recommendations that helped us improve the Style Manual. Their contribution gave us assurance that our content is findable, readable and usable.” Australian Government Style Manual team


Content Design London (CDL) provided the Australian Government with the following services: 

  • expert review, 
  • content auditing,
  • content design. 

The CDL team 

  • Sarah Walsh, senior content designer and strategist, 
  • Clare Reucroft, associate content designer, 
  • Ben Luby, accessibility consultant,
  • Mary Connolly, delivery manager,
  • Mark Picken, account manager. 

You can sign up to our email newsletter to get regular updates from Content Design London.

Upcoming courses

2 day Content Strategy course 28 and 29 September 2022 (online. EDT timings)

2 day Foundation content design course. 18 and 19 October 2022 (online, AEDT timings)

2 day Advanced content design course. 19 and 20 October 2022 (online)

2 day Working in the open 20 and 21 October 2022

2 day Content Strategy course 26 and 27 October 2022 (online)

2 day Foundation content design course. 26 and 27 October 2022 (online)

2 day Foundation content design course. 16 and 17 November 2022 (in person)

2 day Advanced content design course 17 and 18 November 2022 (online, AEDT timings)

2 day Advanced content design course. 30 November and 1 Dec 2022 (online)