Voice

Voice

Our voice is confident and direct, unvarnished yet eloquent. To achieve this, think about the idea you’re trying to convey and strive to communicate it as clearly as possible. Write from your heart (or gut), then wordsmith. Start with the essential idea, then find the right words to express it.

The tone is both intelligent and accessible. Use concise sentences to convey complex ideas, making every word count. Use verbs instead of adjectives or adverbs. Be visual and physical; choose words with action and impact.

Convey the University’s eminence through facts, not superlatives. Provide evidence with examples.

Demonstrate impact. Why does a University of Chicago education matter? Why is this an ideal environment for research? Tell the whole story; show us where an experience leads.

Use the present tense. Create the sense of being in the midst of ongoing insights and discoveries. Reference history, but create a continuum, carrying that reference through to the present and future.

Be specific. Use examples that are uniquely University of Chicago and evoke a sense of place or pride.

Be clear about why us, why now. Ask these questions when making a case for applying, choosing, participating, donating, volunteering, caring:

  • Why are we doing this? What is the need and context?
  • Why UChicago? Why and how are we uniquely suited to this endeavor?
  • What is the impact? How will this make a difference?

Be engaging. Speak directly to the reader and use inclusive language (“you,” “us”) when the goal of the communication is to prompt action (donate, participate in an event, apply for admission, join the faculty). Recognize the reader as part of our community.

Be creative. Consider how best to tell a story. Draw an unexpected comparison, consider information from multiple viewpoints, and consider multiple mediums for storytelling.

Be authentic. Above all, our communications must be true to the University of Chicago— in fact, in tone, and in spirit.

Examples

Use the present tense.

It's when you're admiring the grandeur of Rockefeller Chapel, surrounded by new classmates, listening to the Aims of Education address. Or during a late-night debate over the origins of American football while playing foosball with your housemates.

 

Engage readers by speaking directly to them when appropriate.

It's when you're walking around the Quads and spy carved faces peeking from ivy-covered buildings. Or when you vote with your tip for Thor in the Divinity School coffee shop's "battle of the gods."

 

Use examples that are specific to UChicago.

It's when you find yourself digging through original documents in Regenstein Library's Special Collections, uncovering the city's colorful political past for your Chicago Studies research. Or biking with friends along the lakefront, admiring the downtown skyline of this great city.

 

Be creative by drawing an unexpected comparison.

Students come to the University of Chicago expecting a world-class education and discover a world-class city as well... Our historic Hyde Park neighborhood has been home to residents ranging from Saul Bellow to Muhammad Ali. And of course, there’s Lake Michigan, with swimming, sailing, and sandy beaches. It’s like having a water park bigger than Belgium in your front yard.

 

Example excerpts taken from College Admissions brochures sent to prospective students and accepted applicants.

Downloads

Instantly download the logo, shield, and other visual elements.

Identity Guidelines Book

Download the Identity Guidlines
Download the Identity Guidelines PDF.

Connect and collaborate with communicators across the University.

Join the Campus Communicators to share updates and announcements with University colleagues via listhost, Facebook, and at workshops and biannual gatherings.

Find an array of UChicago new media sites, as well as contact information for their owners, in the Social Media Directory.

Create targeted communications campaigns and digital platforms.

Work with UChicago Creative’s team of designers, writers, and producers to develop compelling materials and comprehensive multimedia campaigns.

Enlist University experts to build, design, and support your web applications by partnering with Web Services.

Discover resources to enhance your communications platforms and outreach.

Follow social media and multimedia from across the University at UChicago Social.

Collect and disseminate our latest stories with print-on-demand news.

Capture the images and ideas of the University community.

Enlist UChicago Creative to produce expert videography.

Book the TV studio for broadcast interviews.

Book the sound booth for remote radio interviews.

Align the look and language of your communications with those of the University.

Find best practices for the use of our logo, typeface, color palette, and editorial style within our visual identity.

Build and refine social media sites using our social media guide, and find web writing tips in Web Services’ multimedia content guidelines.

Order print materials created for your audience and customized for your office.

Present a uniform look with University of Chicago business cards and stationery for your department, office, or position.

Purchase maps, calendars, and brochures to welcome your guests and visitors to the University.