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Writers’ Style Guide

Texts submitted for publication in the Visual Artists’ News Sheet should comply with the following style guide. Texts are also sub-edited and proofed with regard to the style guide.

  • Irish-English spellings should be applied to all texts. Our primary spelling and style guide reference is the Oxford English Dictionary.
  • Acronyms do not require punctuation marks – e.g. the preference is for USA, not U.S.A; UK not U.K; IMMA not I.M.M.A.
  • Honorific titles do not require punctuation – e.g. Mr Smith not Mr. Smith; Dr Smith not Dr. Smith; St Patrick not St. Patrick.
  • Initials of a person’s name require punctuation marks – e.g. J.K. Simmons not JK Simmons.
  • Italics should be used to indicate the title of individual artworks. This also includes the titles of books, songs, films, television and radio programmes, theatre productions, etc.
  • Single quotation marks / inverted commas should be used to indicate the titles of exhibitions and projects.
  • Reported speech and quotations should be indicated by double quotation marks.
  • Single quotation marks or italics may also be used sparingly for emphasis. Bolding should not be used within text for emphasis.
  • Institutions, long-running projects or the names newspapers and journals should neither be italised or appear in single quotes, e.g. EVA not EVA; Irish Times not Irish Times.
  • Hyphens and dashes – please note the difference. The shorter hyphen should only used in compound words (e.g. pre-millennial). Only the longer spaced en dash should be used to extend sentences – this longer dash being accessed by holding down the ­‘alt’ and the hyphen / dash key.
  • Capitalisation – Titles of exhibitions, artworks and projects, as a rule, should follow conventional rules of capitalisation and non-capitalisation, even if an eccentric or idiosyncratic form of capitalisation is part of the graphic identity of the event, artwork or project.
  • Dates of exhibitions and projects should be written: day (numerals only), month, year (only include if not the present year) with the duration indicated by an en dash e.g. 11 March – 15 July 2017.
  • Image credits for images of artworks should take the following format: Artist’s Name, Artwork Title (in italics), date, medium, dimensions (if applicable) and photograph credits. If relevant, the venue/location, date and exhibition title can be included (e.g. event documentation or install shots).
  • Endnotes should be written simply rather than to academic text rules e.g. Christopher Steenson, VAN Style Guide, VAI Publishing, Dublin, p. 30.
  • Centuries –No numerals, capitalisation or abbreviation – e.g. seventeenth century. Hyphenated if used as an adjective – e.g. seventeenth-century dress etc.
  • Numbers up to and including ten should be written in word form (e.g. one, two, three etc.). Numbers greater than ten should be written in numeric form (e.g. 26, 89, 100 etc.).
  • Numeral figures with five or more digits should have a comma – e.g. 10,000; 23,944; 100,000.
  • Possessive plurals ending with the letter s should be written with a single apostrophe after the ending s – e.g. sculptors’.
  • For proper nouns, possessive plurals should be written with a single apostrophe and an additional s – e.g. Mrs Jones’s cat. Exceptions are classical or biblical names (such as Socrates or Jesus).
  • When ellipsis is used, leave no space before the ellipsis and a single space afterwards – e.g. “She took a long pause… and then continued”.