Code for America Messaging

See on Github

Consistency in communication is key in helping citizens and governments build trust amongst each other. The following offers info about the mood and style of Code for America's communications material.

Verbiage Style

  • Humanistic: We care about improving the human experience. Where possible we opt to speak in human terms rather than technical ones.
  • Impactful: We use powerful and easy-to-understand words.
  • Confident: We're positive but not boastful.
  • Clean and crisp: We aim for simple but effective communication.
  • Conversational: We're talking with people, not at them. We avoid jargon and buzzwords.
  • Humorous: In the words of Stephen Colbert, "We're not just brainiacs on the nerd patrol". We try to make work civic hacking fun through humor.
  • Respectful and professional: We respect the diverse experiences, skill-sets and POVs of the community and welcome respectful debate.


Code for America generally uses America Press Style (APStyle). One exception is that we believe adamantly in the serial or Oxford comma. Beyond that, below are a few CfA-specific things to keep in mind:

  • The “f” in Code for America is always lowercase. The abbreviation Code for America should read “CfA.” The single exception is when CODE FOR AMERICA is in a heading or title and the entire name is capitalized to keep style with the rest of the document.
  • “Datasets” is one word.
  • “Open source” is two words, “opensourcing” is one word.
  • URLs do not include “www.”
  • Only capitalize the word “brigade” when it refers to the Code for America Brigade program or the name of your brigade. When referring to a local brigade or collection of brigades, use lower case. Example: There is a brigade where I live. It’s called the Code for San Francisco Brigade.
Communications Resources