Voice & Tone Guide

A guide to writing copy that sounds like Bridge.

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TL;DR Bridge is a trustworthy, friendly guide through the world of learning and development. Our voice is pleasantly witty, naturally casual, lighthearted, and unabashedly enthusiastic.
This guide's Purpose

We wrote this guide to help you sound like Bridge whenever you write copy meant for our customers. Whether it be in the product itself, in the Bridge Guides, via help & support, or even in marketing materials.

If Bridge Were A Person…
Bridge is an experienced, enthusiastic mentor who:
  • Knows a lot, but doesn’t take herself too seriously.
  • Constantly encourages you.
  • Keeps you at ease with her pleasant sense of humor.
  • Is genuinely excited about your work and growth.
We Use Words To…
Help users understand Bridge by using language that informs them and encourages them to make the most of our products.
Treat users with the respect they deserve. Put yourself in their shoes, and don’t patronize them. Remember that they have other things to do.
Tell users what they need to know. Give them the exact information they need, along with opportunities to learn more. Remember that you’re the expert, and users don’t have access to everything you know.
Think of yourself as a seasoned, engaging tour guide for our users, and communicate in a friendly and helpful way.
In order to do that, we make sure our words are:
Understand the topic you’re writing about. Use simple words and sentences.
Before you start writing, ask yourself: What purpose does this serve? Who is going to read it? What do they need to know?
Write in a way that suits the situation. Just like you do in face-to-face conversations, adapt your tone depending on who you’re writing to and what you’re writing about.
Our Voice’s Main Ingredients  

Bridge is all about connection, so we need to sound like someone you can bond with, trust, and learn with. We do that by defining our voice along four spectrums:

  • Funny vs. Serious
  • Casual vs. Formal
  • Respectful vs. Irreverent
  • Enthusiastic vs. Matter-of-fact
Here’s where our voice falls on each of those spectrums:  
Pleasantly Witty: We treat employees like whole people, not headcount. A bit of smart humor in the right place delights and disarms people. An accountant may not need a bit of humor in her life, but a person probably does.
Naturally Casual:  We are more likely to connect when layers of formality are removed. A casual voice increases approachability, creating a sense of warmth and familiarity with our users, making them feel they can trust us with their plans, goals, and dreams.
Lighthearted: We foster connection, which is fueled by imperfection. For people to connect with Bridge, it needs to be imperfect. We show that imperfection by not taking ourselves too seriously, but always treating our users with respect.
Unabashedly Enthusiastic:  We cultivate growth. That is, inherently, an optimistic activity. We strive to excite people about their careers and infuse their vision and thoughts with energy and momentum.  
Why This Voice?  

Bridge’s voice comes from our company culture, our industry, and our purpose.

Company Culture

Lots of our values come into play when determining a voice for Bridge. Here are some thoughts on specific ones:  

This is our target value. We want our voice to improve the way Bridge connects with people. Our product—and our voice—are not about us, but about them.
This suggests approachability. We need our voice to be approachable. Someone you would feel comfortable coming to with questions.
The voice we use should make our product feel simpler and easier to use. We are not adding voice for the sake of interest, flourish, or ornament. We’re doing it for clarity, warmth, and trust.

We are creating a new product category: employee development. We’re trying to appeal to progressive, high-profile, people-first companies. They tend to identify less with old-school formality and more with a casual, approachable atmosphere.


Bridge encourages connection, alignment, and growth.  

We begin by treating employees as people, not roles. We want them to show up to work as their whole selves. Humanity and warmth are essential to this effort. Not only should Bridge sound warm and human, but it should treat its users as people, as well. We have an opportunity to delight people with our voice and tone, and not just feed them the info their current role requires.

Additionally, Bridge is a place where people document a lot of their feelings. We want them to share their dreams on Bridge. We’re asking them to bare their souls, here. Our voice and tone need to invite that kind of connection.

The Toolbox   

Keeping our persona and main ingredients in mind, here are some tools you can use to help you always sound like Bridge:

Use Common Contractions  

Most of us use contractions when we talk. It feels natural and casual

This course is not available.
This course isn’t available.
In this course, you will learn…
In this course, you’ll learn…
Stay Conversational  

Write phrases the way you would say them. Stay away from “professional” or “office” language. This will help keep our tone approachable

An error occurred trying to add this category. Please try again later.
Sorry! We had trouble adding that category. Could you try again later?
This course is not currently available.
Sorry! This course isn’t available right now.
Use Articles & Prepositions

We favor sounding natural over being brief. Don’t skip words like “The” or “a” to keep things short.

Passwords do not match!
Oops! Those passwords don’t match.
Course deleted successfully
You’ve successfully deleted the course.  
Avoid Passive Voice

When an action takes place, give someone the credit. If Bridge did something, say “we.” If the user did something, say “you.”

All changes saved.
You’ve saved your work.
New team member added successfully.  
You added a new team member. Woohoo!  
Be Understanding  

When the user makes a mistake, be generous. Help them feel understood. Tiny phrases of empathy can help.

Passwords do not match!
Oops! Those passwords don’t match.
Brand photo opacity is invalid. Must be between 0 and 1, in increments of 0.1
Woops! That opacity doesn’t work. Try a number between 0 and 1 with just one decimal place.  
No Yelling   

Use exclamation points sparingly, and only as part of single-word phrases. Don’t yell at the user, particularly if she did something wrong.  

Invalid username or password!
Oops! You entered a bad username or password.
David accepted your 1-on-1 invitation!
Yay! David accepted your 1- on-1 invitation.   
Consider the Users’ Expectations   

When something goes wrong behind the scenes, apologize. Wherever possible, provide info the user can understand and act on.  

This course is not currently available.
Sorry! This course isn’t available right now.
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Sorry! We had trouble adding that category. Could you try again in a bit?
Keep Humor Accessible, Empathetic, Subtle, and Witty    

We want to use humor in a way our users will understand. We never want them to feel excluded from the joke. Most importantly, we never want them to feel like they are the joke.

Use empathy to guide you as to when humor will work. When something unexpected goes wrong and the user is frustrated, humor could be annoying. Always consider the user’s feelings in your approach.

Bridge’s humor should be subtle. We use it to delight, not to prove that we’re the funniest one at the party. Less is more.

Finally, our humor is witty. That means it should be intelligent. Avoid crassness. Stay away from being whacky or silly.

Because this one is a bit tricky, we’ve included a few more examples:

Don’t make fun of our users’ mistakes.

Those passwords don’t match. Facepalm!  
Oops! Those passwords don’t match.

Stay away from inside jokes.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Something went wrong!
Sorry! Something went wrong. It’s not you, it’s us.

Keep it subtle.

You’ve saved your work. Put on a cape and spandex, you’re my hero!
You’ve saved your work. Take a victory lap. ;)

Make it smart.

You've added a new team member! Zippity-dooh-dah!  
You’ve added a new team member. Go team!

Want to know more?

See our design system and how we use design elements, or just say hello to us
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