In order to ensure a consistent message, branding policies have been established at the U.S. Government, Department of Veterans Affairs, and OIT levels. Here is a list of policy documents, best practices, and resources.
OIT Design Guide
This Design Guide is to be used as the foundation of all OIT documentation and websites at every level. Any existing, localized procedures or documentation must be updated to comply with this guide. Document types not covered directly in the Design Guide must be updated to comply wherever possible. Recommendations for inclusion in the design guide should be sent to IT Strategic Communication (ITSC).
Websites should begin transitioning to the design elements outlined within the OIT Design Guide, the VA Web Governance Guidelines, and the US Web Design System as soon as possible. All public facing websites will be hosted within the OIT website (www.oit.va.gov) and must be approved by IT Strategic Communication.
Accessibility (Section 508) - The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Office of Information and Technology are committed to the accessibility of its electronic information and technologies for individuals with disabilities, by meeting or exceeding the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Learn more about VA Section 508. All documents and websites, regardless of audience, must be fully accessible.
Plain Language - The Plain Writing Act of 2010 was signed into law on October 13, 2010. The law requires that federal agencies use "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use." Plain language website. Authoritative Reference: VA Directive 0001.
VA Public Affairs Guidelines- The VA Public Affairs Guidelines provide a concise framework for addressing public relations issues and should help you more effectively plan for crises and events that could generate interest from stakeholders or the news media.
AP Stylebook - The AP Stylebook provides a guide to capitalization, abbreviations, spelling, numerals, usage and chapters on the Internet, business, punctuation and media law. A brief guide to AP styles is available here.
Generally speaking, VA adopts the AP style of written correspondence, particularly when it comes to news copy. VA has its own style for writing, which may supersede the AP styles, and the variance can be found in the VA Public Affairs Guidelines.
VA 6102 - Internet and Intranet Services - Establishes policy for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees in establishing, managing, maintaining, and presenting information on VA’s internet and intranet sites and sites operating on behalf of VA, and non-VA entities contracted to operate for VA, and/or related services reflect evolving best practices for customer service, technology and security. Visit the Web Governance website for the latest information.
VA Tier 1 Graphics Standard - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Tier 1 Graphic Standards showcases major elements of the VA brand identity system and provides guidelines for their correct use in creating new components of the VA brand identity. The purpose of establishing a brand identity is to create more accessible communication products that are well designed and consistently provide clear and accurate information to Veterans about VA benefits and services. Authoritative Reference: VA Directive 0023 | VA Handbook 0023.
OIT Design Guide - This design guide documents OIT design standards to ensure we are communicating our story cohesively and consistently. The OIT design guide provides standards for the use of logos, color, typography, icons, and images in print and on OIT websites. This resource is a living document, so please check back often for updates. Any variance must be approved by IT Strategic Communication. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any questions about the guide content.