The Words Beneath the Brand

Are you creating a flyer for a conference and need a description of Michigan Tech?

Is it Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, ME-EM, or MEEM?

Do I include the “www” when spelling out URLs?

Our brand has its own language. Specific. Straightforward. Honest. We’re down-to-earth, raw, and gritty. When talking about Michigan Tech we choose our words carefully.

Beneath the messaging and brand language are the actual words and these have their own set of rules.

Our Editorial Guide is a quick-reference tool for writing about Michigan Tech. It’s our rulebook.

Guiding Principles

While we normally follow the Chicago Manual of Style, there are rules unique to Michigan Tech.

  • We downstyle capitalization to be clear and readable. We avoid an alphabet soup of acronyms, long strings of formal titles, and overuse of exclamation points. We say “use” not “useage.”
    • EXAMPLE: Glenn Mroz, University President, spoke to a diverse host of people at this year’s annual Alumni Reunion about exciting new additions to Michigan Tech’s strategic plan, including the recent emphasis on things such as innovation and entrepreneurship, which until recently had been unknown to many of those in attendance!
    • DOWNSTYLED: At Alumni Reunion, President Glenn Mroz presented the University’s new strategic plan emphasizing innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • We are specific. We give exact figures instead of writing “a number of.” We list specific services and details activities instead of “and much more.”
  • We avoid trite phrases and clichés like “hands-on learning.” We give the details. We show, not tell.
  • We spell out numbers one through nine, and express numbers 10 and up numerically.
  • We eliminate useless words: extra ofs, thats, and whiches, Note: and as noted, see below, following are, according to, pictured is, and other state-the-obvious phrases that are speed bumps for text-weary readers.

The guide also includes sections on describing Michigan Tech, building names and titles, capitalization, punctuation, dates, times, and numbers. It can be downloaded and printed, or accessed online.

Questions or Suggestions?

The writers in University Marketing and Communications occasionally update the guide to correct inconsistencies or balance word use with design. Please let us know if you have questions or suggestions. (sabalyo@mtu.edu)

The right words complement our messaging. Let our Editorial Guide help keep you on brand.

Scott Balyo
Editorial Director