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(NEW) Accessible Communications

General Guidelines

State employees convey vital information and the Chief Marketing Office is committed to ensuring marketing and communications from the State of Vermont are clear and accessible. To aid in this effort, the office is completing a comprehensive review and update of all Brand Standards and Guidelines to ensure that our foundation standards are in line with accessibility best practices.

The Chief Marketing Office asks that State of Vermont entities and employees adopt the Brand Standards and Guidelines for their communications and marketing efforts. Presenting our materials in a consistent way reinforces the State of Vermont enterprise brand and establishes trust in the communication. Outlined below is a summary of best practices related to brand standards, different types of communications, and contracting. 

Accessibility throughout the Enterprise

We encourage all State of Vermont employees to review the SharePoint site of Accessibility Guidelines published by the Agency of Human Services (AHS), Accessibility Committee. This site was developed for AHS staff and covers their Agency’s policy and minimum standards for a variety of communications. The site is in the final phase of editing, but they have made it shareable for all State employees. This site is complete with guidelines and resources, and recommendations for a variety of communication methods and formats. Please note this site is an internal resource and is only able to be viewed by State of Vermont employees.

Typography Best Practices 

  • For emphasis and stylization, bold should be used instead of italics.
  • If Franklin Gothic is selected, condensed facings are not recommended.
  • Underlined type should be reserved for inline web URLs. 

Email Signature Best Practices 

  • The font for email signatures is Arial, 12-point type for size, in black.
  • At this time, the default body font of messages in Microsoft Outlook is Calibri (Body), at 11-point size. The Chief Marketing Office recommends changing the default body font to Arial and increasing the default font size to 12-point to match the preferred email signature format. Users can change their default font settings in Outlook’s Options.
  • Bold your name. Other than your name, do not use bold, italic or caps. Do not stylize your name in a different font (i.e., do not use a script font or change the color). The recommended font, Arial 12-point size, complies with accessibility standards.
  • No logos, social media icons or other images; this includes the State of Vermont logo. The standardized format of your signature identifies you as a representative of Vermont state government. Social media “handles” in text are acceptable.

    State branding is not an appropriate element in your signature block. Images often come through as attachments to the email or are blocked entirely and are also not considered accessible without the correct alt text.

  • Use dashes in your phone numbers rather than parentheses or periods. 

Contracting and Procurement Best Practices 

  • Whether completing a Marketing Work Request Form to work with a Marketing, Creative, and Media Services master contractor or finalizing a scope of work for marketing services, include the requirement below.

All creative and deliverables must be developed in accordance with the State of Vermont Brand Standards and Guidelines and meet accessibility requirements of Section 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (508 Compliance). 

Print Communication Best Practices 

  • For printed materials, use a matte paper. Gloss paper tends to create a glare that impacts readability.