The words and images we use to depict and describe our institution together comprise our brand. The consistent use and thoughtful expression of the University’s brand in every form of institutional communication helps reinforce awareness of California State University, East Bay, increase the University’s visibility, promote its academic reputation, and build affinity. Thus, a clear, cohesive, and comprehensive brand identity system and program for CSUEB is an essential tool and asset in our efforts to advance the University and its interests among our many constituencies.
The verbal component of the University’s brand not only describes and defines its position in the hearts and minds of its constituents, but the editorial style and standards that University writers and communicators apply also profoundly influence the image of the institution that these words and messages project.
Therefore, when writing on behalf of the University, it is important to remember that the final document, publication, or message — whether electronic or in print — represents the entire institution to readers and should be consistent with written communications produced by other units of the University. All written communications that represent the University in any way must meet the highest professional and academic standards, be clear in meaning, and be free of errors.
To that end, this editorial style guide provides essential guidance for University writers to craft messages that reflect the official CSUEB “voice.” The editorial voice is a term for the style and tone of a message that identifies it as originating from a single source. Although the messages may have different authors, following the style guidelines, using the same terms and titles, and using standard visual guidelines prevents the messages from being inconsistent with other University communications.
This guide also provides clarification for some frequently misspelled, misused, and confused words, lists basic grammatical guidelines for punctuation, and notes the proper forms of University-specific terms and locations, ensuring consistency and reinforcing our brand.
Cal State East Bay uses the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, as the basis for its editorial style; there are, however, several exceptions noted in this guide, many of them specific to CSUEB terms and to higher education. News releases and content for the University news Web site follow Associated Press guidelines. All other publications, including Cal State East Bay Magazine, the Viewbook (PDF), marketing materials, and Web content, adhere to the more formal Chicago style.
Grammar and Spelling
Use standard American spelling and grammar. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is a good reference for proper usage.
If your document will include images or logos, you must also follow the University’s visual Identity Standards, available on the University Communications Web site. When formatting a document for print publication or the Web, use only one space following a period; double spaces can cause layout problems in publishing software and HTML code.
A quick reference guide, addressing some of the more common questions about CSUEB style, is available as a PDF. (Download the reference guide PDF)
If you have a style question that is not addressed in this guide or would like clarification, please contact University Communications.