Test for Caption changes

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Faculties, departments and units across campus produce their own communication and marketing materials that include letters, brochures, posters, invitations, advertising, fliers, booklets, catalogues and other communication materials. Communicators around the campus all have their own priorities and objectives, but have one thing in common no matter where they originate: they can only be effective if they reflect consistency and clarity in their messages and content.

Guidelines, Not Rules: 

Just as our brand visuals should have a unified approach and style that identifies them with York U, our writing must also be consistent with the York U brand. As the voice of the University, our writing should be interesting and easy to read, both inspiring and approachable. We can achieve this with both what we say and how we say it.

This guide will not answer all your questions. It may not help you win an argument over which way to spell “website” or whether to hyphenate “email”, but it will give you a foundation upon which to base your own writing decisions.

We’ve assembled these guidelines using the Language Style Guide as a primary “authority” because much of our writing is intended for external readers – prospective students and their parents, donors and prospective donors, government officials, business leaders, news reporters and editors, and the public at large.

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DO NOT apply these guidelines to technical or academic writing. Other sources can help you with this specialized kind of writing.

DO use this style guide to help you when you’re writing anything (and everything) intended for the campus audience or for the public.

Whatever style you follow, remember that consistency and clarity are the keys to more effective communication. Make sure your preferred writing standards are consistent in all your communications.

Write with your audience in mind:

What do you want them to think, feel and do?

1. Know your audience: What are their needs? What do you want them to know? How do you want them to feel about it and what action would you like them to take? Speak to them and make it personal.

2. First things first: Start with the 5Ws and 1H: who, where, what, why, when and how.

3. Brevity: In a 140-character world, brevity is a must.

4. Clear: Not everyone knows the jargon and those from diverse backgrounds may not be familiar with our vernacular. Articulate using short words, active verbs, common nouns and simple sentence structure.

5. Short form: Spell out a word in full and follow with the acronym in brackets directly after. If the word is not complicated, you can use the acronym or short form from then on.

6. If you want your audience to understand something, use stats, logic, numbers, quotes, references, third-party experts.

7. If you want your audience to feel something, tell stories, paint a picture, create anticipation, generate excitement and evoke the senses.

8. If you want your audience to do something, ask them, spell it out and provide motivation, incentive or reassurance.

9. Use York U people and their stories to demonstrate the brand and create interest and emotion.