OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Writing

Just as our visuals should have a unified style that identifies them with Oregon State University, our writing must also be consistent with the Oregon State brand. As the voice of the university, our writing should be interesting and easy to read, our voice confident and authentic. We can achieve that with what we say and how we say it.

What to say

  • Provide vivid, specific examples to back up what we say about Oregon State and establish context.
  • Use Oregon State’s people and their stories to get our messages across:
    • Demonstrates how and where Oregon State makes a difference.
    • Makes the message personal; puts a face on our achievements.
  • Convey Oregon State’s personality:
    • Mindful: We are environmentally and socially conscious, responsive to the challenges facing our world.
    • Authentic: We turn our ideals into actions. We study it, we teach it and we live it. We are doers.
    • Confident: We know who we are and don’t need to brag. We let our actions speak for us.
    • Achieving: We demonstrate academic excellence through teaching and research. Our work makes a measurable, positive difference in Oregon and beyond.

How to say it

  • Make it appropriate to the intended audience:
    • Prospective students vs. prospective donors.
  • Make it personal:
    • Use first and second person.
    • “You can” vs. “students can.”
  • Be conversational:
    • Write like you are talking to a friend.
    • Avoid sounding stuffy or institutional.
    • When writing about complex research and related topics, find ways to explain the work with analogies, examples, illustrations, photos, charts and graphs.
  • Use action-oriented, purposeful verbs.
  • Be concise.
    • Make the sentences you write accomplish more by delivering context alongside important information.
  • Be true, authentic, persuasive:
    • Claim ownership of Oregon State’s assets.
    • Use the developed proof points that speak authentically to the strengths of individual colleges and the university at large, both historical and contemporary.