Proofreading is an ongoing challenge for most writers, especially when reviewing our own work. Because we know what we mean to say, our brains often autocorrect for typos. And a spellcheck won’t catch some of the most common typos: a missing word, a wrong word that’s spelled correctly or the right word that’s in the wrong place.

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Our brand is very robust, and we understand that it’s a lot to take in. For some, simply having a print-out to refer to is helpful, and as a result we’ve made two printable PDFs for quick reference. The first is a Branding Cheat sheet, showing quick references on logo use, color information and details on Oregon State University’s fonts. This by no means has the comprehensive information that would be found on the Oregon State Brand Site, but should help with common questions:

The second is a ‘how-to’ for navigating our templates and brand downloads, as well as using Microsoft Office to design:

Thank you, and good luck

To maintain a consistent voice, tone and style across the university, it’s imperative to follow Associated Press style rules. Some can be hard to remember — so keep this cheat sheet of commonly misused items in your back pocket. And if you are looking for additional help, check our editorial style guide, which covers the most common AP style issues you’ll encounter in your work at Oregon State. We also recommend an online subscription to the AP Stylebook. It’s inexpensive, and if there are multiple writers in your office, you’ll get a break on a multi-license subscription.

1. “To” vs. the dash

When listing a range of dates or times, it is preferred to use the word “to” unless space is limited.

  • The party will take place from 2 to 3 p.m., not 2–3 p.m.
  • Don’t forget, always omit the first p.m. if both times are in the afternoon/evening. Make sure not to capitalize AM or PM and to use periods.

2. Capitalization of administrative titles

Administrative titles should only be capitalized if they are used before the person’s name.

  • Professor John Brown
  • Dean Mitzi Montoya
  • John Brown, a professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts

3. Describing alumni

Be sure to use the correct word, depending on whom you are speaking about:

Alumna: feminine singular

Alumnae: feminine plural

Alumnus: male or nonspecific gender singular

Alumni: masculine or mixed-gender plural

Alumnx: gender-neutral

Also, don’t use “alum.” AP considers it an informal version more often used in showbiz stories: She’s an alum of “Saturday Night Live.”

4. Off campus, on campus

Hyphenate when using as an adjective, not as an adverb.

  • Off-campus housing fills up quickly in the summer. Act fast!
  • She is planning to find housing off campus next term.

5. Website

One word, not capitalized. Nor is “internet” capitalized, and “email” is one word. These are changes AP has made to the stylebook in recent years. So you can toss the 2002 edition of the stylebook from your college days.

 6. Résumé

To avoid confusion with resume, the accent marks are necessary.

 7. Capitalizing majors and colleges

Majors should not be capitalized unless they are a proper noun:

  • He majored in English, not civil engineering.

When mentioning the full title of a university unit, capitalize it. Otherwise, keep it lowercase.

  • As part of her course work in economics in the College of Liberal Arts, Amy experimented with financial models.
  • As part of her Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Amy experimented with financial models.
  • Later today, we will attend a meeting with admissions representatives.
  • Later today, we will attend a meeting at the Office of Admissions.

8. Course work

Two words, not coursework

 9. Farther/further

Farther = physical distance

Further = figurative distance

  • He ran farther than anyone else.
  • We will further discuss the situation.

10. Numbers

All numbers under ten are spelled out. Beginning with the number 10, use the numerical version.

Bonus tip: Oregon State University vs. OSU

As part of our editorial style, it is preferred to spell out Oregon State, rather than using OSU. Because other institutions use the same initials, this best practice can help prevent confusion.

Use Oregon State University on first reference, followed by Oregon State throughout the remainder of the piece. OSU can be used, however, in instances where it is part of a formal name (e.g., OSU-Cascades, OSU Extension Service, OSU Foundation, OSU Alumni Association).

Instead of employing a few clever words that point back to body copy, headlines should carry the messaging and bold attitude of the brand themselves. That is why we often use declarative statements as headers. So, instead of saying “Scholarships & Financial Aid,” which is descriptive and accurate, consider saying “That future that you want for yourself — for the world, is attainable.” The latter conveys that financial aid is available while tapping into a bigger aspirational drive in students.

Keep it overt

One debacle we often face in University Marketing is how overt to be with our words. The key thing to remember is that we may be inundated in our messaging, but our audiences are not. The old adage applies — it takes seven impressions to make a customer. So be BOLD! Don’t waste your headlines on dry, informational tidbits or cheesy soundbites that don’t convey the number one thing you want your audiences to know.

We’ve been practicing this principle on the OSU homepage:

  1. Oregon State is a top 1 percent university in the world. We teach big, we think big, and it shows.
    • Message: world-leading research expertise and academic teaching
  2. Wherever you come from, your story matters. Jeong-Bin Kim discovered a welcoming, diverse community a world away from South Korea.
    • Message: a sense of belonging in a community that values diversity and inclusion
  3. Your stage could be anywhere. Bard in the Quad is part of the vibrant arts tradition at Oregon State.
    • Message: an environment that encourages creative experimentation

Keep it intriguing

Our students and faculty are doing great things at Oregon State. Don’t be afraid to brag on them, in language that everyone understands. Ask yourself, would I want to click on this story or read this ad?

  • Welcome to astrophysist Davide Lazzati’s lab, where cosmic explosions and black holes are the center of inquiry.
  • Our ideas stand on their own. MEET CASSIE.
  • Setting a record makes us want to do one thing, break it.

Keep it short

Yes, it’s a challenge with statement-like headlines, but so important. Readers have short attention spans and are often looking at text on mobile devices. Spend a few extra minutes cutting words and tailoring the headline to the medium.

  • This is how we do HOME in Beaver Nation.
  • You won’t miss your mom’s cooking (much).
  • The state of Oregon is our campus.

Happy headlining!

Graphs and charts have a specific look in the Oregon State Brand, and in this 10 minute video we discuss how to create those in Adobe Illustrator and Indesign:

From Adobe Illustrator:

  1. Select Pie Graph Tool (under the Column Graph Tool) and make it the size you want.
  2. A Data box will appear, allowing you to add your numbers.
  3. Close the data box, select the stroke and choose ‘None’ as the color.
  4. Select the Selection Tool (V), click on the pie chart and go to Object>Ungroup, say yes to the dialog box that appears (this warns you that you will no longer be able to edit the data, so make sure your numbers are final). Right click the pie chart and select ‘Ungroup’ again.
  5. Select the Ellipse Tool (under the Rectangle Tool) and from the center of the pie graph click and hold Shift+Alt and drag to make your circle from the center. Select the fill of this circle and change it to white.
  6. Edit>Copy the white circle and Shift+click one of the pie shapes. This should have the circle and one of the pies selected, with the white circle in front.
  7. Go to Window>Pathfinder and select ‘Minus Front’ from the Shape Mode.
  8. Go to Edit>Paste in Place (Shift+Ctrl+V). The white circle should have pasted in the exact same place as last time.
  9. Shift+click on one of the pie shapes and repeat steps 7 and 8 until all of the pies have been cut.
  10. To add gaps, select all of the shapes with the Selection Tool and go to Window>Stroke. Choose a weight that feels appropriate, and choose Rounded Corners.
  11. With the shape selected, go to Object>Path>Outline Stroke. Right Click and Ungroup.
  12. Select both the outlined stroke and the solid inside color and again select ‘Minus Front’ from the Shape Mode in the Pathfinder Window. Repeat for the remaining shapes.
  13. Change the fill of each of the shapes to be the stroke by clicking on the double arrow next to the Fill and Stroke in the toolbar.
  14. Select all and from the Stroke Window, choose Rounded Corners. Copy the entire shape.

From Adobe InDesign:

  1. Edit>Paste the shape that was made in Adobe Illustrator. Right Click>Ungroup.
  2. Select the Line Tool and draw a line down through the center of the circle. Make sure it’s the same weight as the outlines of the other shapes
  3. Edit>Copy the line and then Edit>Paste in Place (Shift+Ctrl+Alt+V).
  4. Hover over the end until the double arrows appear showing you can rotate it.
  5. Hold Shift, click and drag to rotate it 90 degrees. Copy both the lines and Edit>Paste in Place. Repeat until you’ve made a star with many points and small space between each line.
  6. Select the star only and Object>Group.
  7. Edit>Cut, select one of the shapes and Right Click>Paste Into.
  8. Select one of the shapes and go to Window>Swatches.
  9. With the Stroke selected, choose one of Oregon State’s brand colors.
  10. Hover over the shape until a circle appears. Your mouse will turn into a hand. Click to select the star shape within the container shape.
  11. From the Swatches Window, select the same color. Repeat for each of the shapes.

 

Use basic contact information and include assigned fonts and colors only.


Kegan Awesome-Johnson, Supreme Ruler
Oregon State University | University Marketing | 541-867-5309


Sample information you could include:

  • Name
  • Title
  • Oregon State University
  • College, school or department
  • Phone number​
  • Physical address

Try to keep your information as clean and neat as possible. Only insert what people actually need in order to contact you. While adding images to your signature is not prohibited they are not consistently handled by all email services and often cause confusion (people think there are attachements) for that reason we don’t include them in our samples.

Font: Use Verdana size 12-14.

If you must provide additonal information you can separate your basic contacts from extended information. Make use of the text to insert a link, never include a raw url.


Kegan Awesome-Johnson, Supreme Ruler
Oregon State University | University Marketing | 541-867-5309

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website
527 Happy Lane | Kerr Administration Building
Corvallis, OR 97331

 

Oregon State email headers must use the primary university logo. Either the horizontal or vertical logo can be used, and it can be placed on a color background or over an image. Do not use companion logos in the header. College, department or unit names can be placed in text at the bottom of the header.

Email template 1

Email template 2

Email template 3

Email template 4

To meet web accessibility requirements, be sure to include “Oregon State University” in the alt text for the logo file in your HTML code:
(e.g., <img src=”url” alt=”Oregon State University”)

 

Many of our Microsoft templates include the Oregon State color palette, but there are other ways to import the colors if you’re starting without one. This video shows how to insert the colors yourself.

Microsoft Office programs like Word and Powerpoint give you the option of choosing custom color palettes. Most of Oregon State’s templates have our color palette saved automatically, but there are a couple different ways to add the colors if you’re starting without one.
The first way is to download the .xml file from our downloads and save it in a specific folder on your computer. That location is shown in the readme, and is different for Macs and PCs.
The second way is to add the colors yourself. In Microsoft Powerpoint, Go to View> Slide master and on the color drop-down, select ‘Customize Colors’. I usually like to leave the first two as black and white, and change the rest to 10 of the University’s 19 colors. Click one of the colors and select ‘More Colors’ and the Custom Tab lets you add the RGB formula of any color.
From the Universy Brand website, you can find the formulas for any of our colors. Select OK, and when you’re done selecting your colors, you can name it and Save.
From Microsoft Word, go to the Design tab to find the Colors drop down, where you can select and customize your theme colors.
Thank you, and good luck.

 

Photos, templates and icons are added all the time to the university’s brand downloads. While notifications can’t be sent out whenever something gets updated, it is possible to see the latest additions to the downloads.

For example, we’ve added some new icons this past month. Go into one of the subject folders and arrange them by date by selecting ‘Updated’ above the list. Now you can see the most recent files we’ve added.

We’ll send out monthly updates on what’s been added to the downloads, but it never hurts to check often. Thank you and good luck.

In line with our welcoming and inclusive brand personality, avoid assumptions about gender in your writing. When writing about a specific person, ask them which pronouns they use for themselves (e.g., she/her/hershe/him/histhey/them/theirs). If a person does not identify with male or female pronouns, the plural they is preferred.

  • For example, “Samantha loves to paint. They take every painting class on campus.”

The plural they is also helpful when writing about a general person whose gender is not known instead of using the “he or she” construct or “s/he”. Though casual, this is Oregon State’s preferred style in marketing materials.

  • For example, “When a student moves into their residence hall, they should bring their own pillow.” When possible, pluralizing can help you avoid this construct: “Whenever students move into their residence halls, they should bring their own pillows.”

Beyond pronouns, avoid all gender stereotyping in your writing. For example, use firefighterpolice officerchair or chairperson. Use these rather than assuming gender in job titles.