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Communication product standards for vendors

Vendors who contract with the State of Minnesota to produce communications materials for the Department of Human Services (DHS) are expected to follow the standards listed on this page. This list is not all-inclusive. Other policies and guiding documents may also be applicable depending on the nature of the product and its intended audience. For more information consult with the RFP contact or contract manager assigned to completing a specific project.

Follow State of Minnesota brand guidelines

Any products created for DHS will adhere to the State of Minnesota style guide, including logos, colors, typography, designing for accessibility guidelines, and overall strategic brand personality.

Use plain language

To make Minnesota government more transparent to the people it serves, DHS is committed to communicating plainly.

Communicating in plain language means to use common language instead of technical jargon, write clear and concise sentences, name programs and state entities in full to avoid acronyms, make information easy to find and easy to understand, and simplify whenever possible.

Practical tips:

  • Write for the intended audience
  • Put the most important information at the top
  • Use an active voice, with one idea per sentence
  • Use headings and subheadings to steer readers
  • Use lists, tables and question-and-answer formats
  • Explain technical words or concepts that you cannot avoid.

For additional resources, see:,,

Create accessible materials

State of Minnesota agencies, staff contractors who are responsible for creating, modifying, procuring, or otherwise making available any information and communication technology (ICT) for internal or external use must adhere to the Accessibility and Usability of Information Technology Standard. In short all communication product deliverables must be accessible.

Additional considerations

The DHS Communications Office reserves the right to review products before approval per the Approval of Communications Work Policy. Any materials created for DHS must:

  • Reflect the priorities and messages of the agency and the broader administration and support overall agency and administration communications strategies
  • Relay accurate and useful information to the target audience
  • Meet department communications standards, including standards for: quality, writing and graphic design
  • Portray the agency in a professional manner
  • Use resources prudently
  • Be produced in a timely, efficient and cost-effective way in coordination with a DHS Communications Office employee or designee.
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