How To Create A Great College Style Guide

As I was finishing my Master’s in Cybersecurity and Computer Forensics at Utica College, my professor asked me if I could fix-up an APA style guide he had developed.

Two professors at Utica College took some of the basic, and more common, style challenges and combined them into a simple guide.

The style guide was a great idea, but, not being graphic designers, the style guide didn’t look so great. Since I was working on my Capstone project, The Malicious and Forensic Uses of Adobe Software, my professor knew I had a background in graphics and asked me to help. I was more than happy to do so.

Looks Good. Doesn’t Work.

I recreated the style guide in Adobe InDesign and presented him with a PDF, all ready to go. It looked great, he said. However, how does he make changes or additions to it?

Uhhh, good point. One thing I overlooked in my design, and something I believe is overlooked quite a bit in graphics is: even though it looks great, can it really be used?


So, back to the drawing board. I had to retain the look of the guide, but also create a document that could be edited and expanded by someone with graphic design skills or InDesign on hand.

Here’s how I conquered the challenge:

I kept my InDesign document, which was 12 pages. I took out all the text and just left the frame, the quotes and the headshots of the famous people.

I created JPGs of each page.

I imported all the JPGs into Microsoft Word. Now, I had a Word doc with a bunch of empty page frames.

I had to import the text in a way that could be edited and expanded, and also fit inside the frames.

This is easy to accomplish in InDesign, QuarkXPress and Scribus, but I had never done this in Word. So, I looked it up. Here’s a useful link: Continuous text in Word.

All I had to do was apply some styles and give it a quick proofing. That worked great, but I had one little problem….

How does the professor expand it?

Aha! I created some more page frames with more quotes. This was fun because we were using motivating quotes about writing. I found a lot of the quotes on BrainyQuote and then found public domain images of the people.

Now I had a 12-page Word doc with page frames and text as well as another ten page of empty page frames in which the text could be flowed. And, that is how it was done.

Link to the entire style guide on Behance: The Moose Knows: An APA Style Guide for Utica College.

Thank you for reading.

Jeff Macharyas

MS-Cybersecurity and Computer Forensics

Utica College 2015