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Brand Communication

Rules to Write By

Voice: Personality and Style

Dare to pull the reader in.

Everything we write, from bold headlines to legal disclaimers, should be an exhilarating read.

Be human.

We use the first person tense whenever possible, because our brand has a lot of personality.

Be relevant.

Maneuver around clichés or generalities. Every message should feel current and pertinent.

Be inquisitive.

We don’t always have the answer, and that’s a good thing. We’re just as curious as the next guy or gal (assuming they are also insatiable intellectuals, pushing the boundaries of the human experience).

Tone: Attitude and Diction

Be clever, not funny.

We’re neither smart alecks, goofballs, nor stand-up comedians. And while wordplay can be good, try to avoid coming off as punny. Believe us, we know how tempting it can be.

Be provocative.

Our messaging is meant to challenge and, therefore, empower and uplift people.

Precision is key.

Choose adjectives for maximum potency. Trim all the fat, fluff, and frills.

Stand for something.

But if it feels cold, unapproachable, snarky, or soft, it doesn’t belong.

We have traditions, but we’re not traditional.

While we question the conventions of the status quo, we are not without our traditions. We cherish our community and take pride in our culture and past.

Courageous. Confident. Not conceited.

We’re experimental by nature, and that takes courage. But our efforts are not self-serving. While we’re proud of our work, we check our egos at the door.

Tactics to Help Develop Content

Here are some Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind when creating content.


Talk about our process.

The way that we solve problems is just as important as the solutions themselves. Be sure to speak to the journey, not just our end result.

“We took the robot apart, then rebuilt it—only to take it apart again and build it better. This went on for months. To some this may seem unnecessary, but not to us—we think it’s the best way to build a better world.“

Issue a challenge.

Our language should do more than inform. It should motivate and inspire.

“Don’t just impact the future. Leave a dent.”

Compose a bold statement.

We are courageous. And that courage, tempered by tact, should come through in our communications.

“We’re breaking things because we’re not afraid to make them better. Yes, it’s audacious, but it’s this audacity that connects us. Motivates us. And pushes us as a university.“


Don’t be boastful.

We’ve done some amazing things at this university, but focusing on how these achievements helped the world is just as important as the achievements themselves. Make sure you keep a good balance. Overconfidence should not be one of our virtues.

“Why would we create a surfboard composed of algae?
Because we can. Having brains has its benefits.“

Don’t over inundate with facts.

You could speak at length about the alumni, programs, faculty and award winners at UC San Diego. But, showing how these people have impacted the world is far more inspiring than a multitude of facts. Make sure to infuse our point of view into every stat you lay out.

“6 Nobel Laureates.
650 companies started.
$45,426 is the average salary of 2012 graduates.
12th for Peace Corps volunteers in 2013.
Our alumni have accomplished a lot. What will you accomplish?”

Don’t be too literal.

You may be putting together something as simple as a form or manual, but even these small projects are opportunities for our personality to come out. Make people take notice of what we’re putting out into the world.

“Triton Day will be here in 3 months. Don’t forget to register.”