Designing the Better brand voice

By Nick DiLallo, Group Director, UX Writing

5 min readJul 8, 2021


An illustration showing the building blocks of a home.

At Better, writers sit on the design team. The reason is simple: good, clear writing is integral to designing a great customer experience.

We’re creating a people-first approach to homeownership. To do that, we need easy-to-use digital products, compelling marketing, and consistent messaging across all touchpoints. All those things require great writing.

So earlier this year, we took a closer look at how we write, refining our style and introducing a new set of brand voice guidelines. We designed our brand voice around our brand strategy. And we built it specifically for the people who use it most.

Getting started with dozens of conversations

At the very beginning, a core team of us interviewed all the writers at Better to identify existing workflows, opportunities, and pain points. What did writers need? Where were they getting stuck?

Everyone had great ideas and helpful insights. It’s no exaggeration to say that every writer at our company helped co-create our brand voice.

We also interviewed leadership across marketing, engineering, sales, design, product management, and compliance. We wanted to get a comprehensive perspective and include thinking from all over. Like our logo or color palette, the Better brand voice belongs to the entire company.

Two big themes started appearing. First: we needed a single set of brand voice guidelines, not multiple resources for multiple teams. Second: we needed guidelines that were easy to use, reference, and update. A giant deck or endless word document wouldn’t work.

An abstract image showing colorful circles.

One centralized source of truth

We decided to build our brand voice guidelines in Figma. It lets us include lots of visuals examples that enhance understanding. It’s easy to zoom in and out of specific sections. And since writers were already working in Figma, the workflow felt natural. Nobody would ever need to alt-tab to another program or hunt for a file on their desktop.

Eight core writing principles

Many brand voice guidelines try to explain everything with three or four “voice pillars.” Words like human or friendly or approachable. We wanted more substance and clarity.

So we introduced writing principles. These form the backbone of our brand voice. They stay the same, even as we write different things across different platforms.

A list of Better’s eight writing principles.

Our writing principles inspire bold, confident headlines in our marketing materials. We explain real customer benefits, invite everyone in, tell the truth, and share our point of view.

Examples of Better’s marketing materials that follow the eight core writing principles.

Our writing principles also shape our approach to UX writing and content design. In our digital products, we write user-first. We help people navigate, understand, and get the information they need to make good decisions.

An example of a simple UX writing in a Better digital product.
An example of clear messaging in the Better product.
An example of clear, thoughtful content design at Better.
An example of how Better makes decisions easier for users.

Writing with respect

At Better, we write for everyone, including people with different backgrounds, abilities, ethnicities, races, genders, and financial situations. Our guidelines include specific sections about thoughtful word choice. To make sure we use a broader perspective, we also link out to other sets of inclusive writing guidelines and reference them regularly.

A slide that shows a thoughtful approach to choosing user pronouns at Better.
A slide that instructs writer to write “primary bedroom” and never “master bedroom.”

Consistency down to the details

Writing involves hundreds of small decisions. To keep our team aligned, we have rigorous guidelines that cover our approach to things like formatting, capitalization, comma usage, and style.

Better uses the Oxford or “serial” comma.
Better doesn’t add punctuation after street names.
Better uses smart quotes, not straight quotes.
Better follows a consistent approach to formatting times and time zones.

Designed to keep getting better

The most exciting thing about our brand voice? It improves as we use it.

Our guidelines are a perpetual work in progress, and we make changes based on new needs or opportunities. We keep track of everything in release notes. Updates are easy to find.

The “release notes” slide of the Better Brand Voice Guidelines.

Integration with our design system

Our guidelines plug right in to our design system documentation, with specific rules and guidance for writing things like buttons, headers, and dropdowns.

These all live in our brand voice guidelines as Figma components. So if we update them, they’re automatically updated in our design system file, too.

Component-specific documentation that lives as a Figma component.

All powered by a talented team

Guidelines are just the beginning. Our real strength is a group of smart, thoughtful writers who bring our brand to life every day across marketing, emails, blog content, social media, digital products, and more.

Interested in joining us to help make homeownership more accessible to more people? We’re hiring.

Explore open writer roles in UX Writing and Copywriting. We also have opportunities in Brand, Creative, Product Design, Design Ops, and User Research.




Ideas & inspiration from the design team rearchitecting homeownership. We’re hiring: