B&Q Tone of Voice Guide

Here are some practical writing tips that will help you bring our new tone of voice to life.


To write clearly:

Use plain English in short, focused sentences

Let’s keep our writing easy to follow and act on by using straightforward language in short, simple sentences. If we ramble on, customers may find it hard to follow what we’re saying.

So, rather than:
Lighting plays a functional role in the home, allowing you to see what you are doing when natural light is insufficient, but it can also make a major contribution to the decorative schemes of your rooms and can have a dramatic effect on the mood they produce, and it is easy to personalise it for your own needs.

Lighting has a practical role to play in your home. After all, it lets you see what you’re doing when there’s not enough natural light. But if you use it well, it can also enhance your décor and create the perfect mood for each room.

Remarkably, the first piece of content comprises a single sentence of 4 lines and 58 words! Customers may well find this confusing to read and hard to understand. So we’ve split it into three sentences – and shortened it too by stripping out unnecessary words. We’ve also taken out long, awkward, unfriendly words like ‘insufficient’, ‘personalise’ and ‘contribution’, as well as introducing friendly link phrases like ‘After all’.

Striking the right tone.

My work writing content for the new B&Q website went hand-in-hand with devising a fresh tone of voice for employees to use in their comms. By explaining the reasoning and giving clear examples, I made it a piece of cake for everyone to ‘do it themselves.’

Barclays Graduate brochure


At Barclays, graduates live in the spotlight, not the shadows.

Using a split format, I explained what this means. In the top half, I showed what they ‘see’ – the challenges they face, the opportunities they enjoy.
Under this, I revealed the individuals themselves – ‘seen’ in their own words as well as pictures.
The message? Graduates are truly visible at Barclays. They can influence the business. They can build a satisfying career. And they can gain maximum exposure.



Graduates were in for a surprise at DSTL. So were readers of this ad.

I was confident that the clever wordplay of the headline would attract the attention of people who think a bit differently.
And that’s as it should be.
Because when you’re solving some of today’s most complex problems, you can’t follow the herd.

Kent Police


Before writing this ad, I got the real story from the horse’s mouth.

I asked a number of Kent Police Officers why they joined the Force. One of them said ‘because for a few minutes, you can be the most important person in someone’s life’.
That was my cue. And I found myself not just writing an ad, but telling a story.

118 118

Whimsical brand. Whimsical copy.

OK, there are no men with moustaches. But there is a healthy injection of humour in this series of ads I wrote to recruit customer advisors for 118118.
I played on some of the UK’s most oddly-named towns and villages to create this memorable campaign.