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Writing Guidelines and Copy Development

The way we talk about DeSales shapes the way people feel about it.

The brand voice is welcoming: We want our audience to lean in and want to know more. They should feel inspired and intrigued, and on occasion, surprised and delighted. When writing, ask yourself: Who's the audience? What do we want them to think, feel and do? What is the next step we want them to take?

For guidelines on grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage in materials produced by DeSales University, please refer to our general editorial style guidelines.

  • Voice and tone by audience: Undergraduate prospects

    With undergraduate prospects, we can think about connect in two ways: 

    • Salesian values and sense of community. Being Catholic and Salesian will be more meaningful to undergraduate prospects than to adult or graduate prospects. The brand platform illustrates what it means to be Salesian and all the ways the University strives to create an inclusive, supportive, genuinely nurturing environment. This is the most “human” side of the connect concept. It’s warm. Inviting. It emotes. 
    • Connecting “to.” Equally important to undergraduate prospects is the idea that DeSales will set them up for success. Think outcomes. Internship and research opportunities. Powerful mentorship and networking experiences. This is a more immediate interpretation of connect, with a focus on where a DeSales education can take you. 

    At the intersection of these two approaches is the idea of connecting to purpose. A link to something greater than yourself and, ultimately, a roadmap to leading a meaningful life.

  • Voice and tone by audience: Graduate and adult prospects

    With graduate and adult prospects, connect should cut to the chase. 

    Graduate and adult students are end-goal focused: They’ve chosen to continue their education because they want to further or change their careers. They may appreciate DeSales’s Catholic heritage and Salesian values, but that’s unlikely to be a primary driver. They’re looking for value. And results. 

    With this audience, use connect to showcase networking and professional opportunities, as well as to highlight DeSales’s industry savvy. Our graduate and adult programs are plugged into the real world. They’re affordable, they’re user-friendly, and they deliver on outcomes. 

    As with undergraduate messaging, the idea of connecting to purpose continues to be important. Graduate and adult students are simply farther along on that journey.

  • Telling the DeSales story

    Connect is a brand that brings people together, and that makes it all the more appropriate as a platform for storytelling. Branded stories build deep connections with the audience and forge lasting relationships. 

    Storytelling not only differentiates our brand but also humanizes it. Think about potential stories through the lens of personal and professional connections. Who best embodies the power of connection? What are instances in which the University has fostered connection or created opportunity? 

    The connect brand is rooted in relationships and operates on a distinctly human scale. But it’s also about transformation – and turning those “softer” Salesian strengths into powerfully active and dynamic ones. 

  • Headline construction and examples

    When using connect in a header, keep the line uncomplicated so that there’s sufficient emphasis on the idea, and it doesn’t dilute our brand messaging. 

    Connect to your dreams.

    There's power when we connect.

    There will also be occasions where the header illustrates the idea without using the actual word. And the same rule applies: Keep it simple, so it’s easy for your audience to link the headline content with the idea of connection. 

    Finding common ground.

    Wide-open eyes, ears, hearts, and minds.

    The majority of our headlines will use connect in its simplest form, but connection, connecting, and connected can also come into play. Varying the word usage will help keep the messaging fresh. 

    When there’s no connect word in the headline, always incorporate the connect graphic – either the version with the symbol or without the symbol – to ground the messaging in the brand concept. 

  • Writing Do's

    • DO keep it short and sweet. People only remember three to five things that they read or hear (if you’re lucky). Too much information can result in your audience tuning out altogether. 
    • DO be a good conversationalist. Good content is a dialogue with your reader. Instead of “writing” your message, tell it. Keep it natural. 
    • DO surprise your audience. Be unexpected, even provocative. Ultimately the goal is to engage your audience – to grab their attention and never let go. 
    • DO lead with detail. Stay away from statements that are too broad or general. Think specifics. And in longer formats, think stories. 
  • Writing Don'ts

    • DON’T create fatigue around connect with overuse. Brand messaging is for top-level communications, not for more detailed or topic-specific content. For example: We would use it on the cover or in the intro of the viewbook. We would not use it in an email reminding admitted students to submit their deposits. 
    • DON’T forget to illustrate the idea as opposed to simply “saying” it. There are countless rich and engaging ways to communicate connect; remember to mine the deeper meaning and benefits of what you’re trying to get across. In many instances, elevating those details (in the context of connection) will be more powerful than simply labeling the content with a connect word. 
    • DON’T use connect too literally. We never want to veer into silly, overly literal, or pun-y territory with connect. Our brand voice is friendly and conversational, but the brand itself is rooted in some seriously big ideas (like universal human truths and Salesian values). Resist the urge to, say, plaster the connect graphic all over a bunch of power cords. 
  • Fonts and font usage

    The fonts used may be downloaded free from Google Fonts:
    Google Font Work Sans
    Google Font DM Serif Text

    Font Usage

    DM Serif Text is the primary headline font. Its warm letterforms help capture the spirit of the University. For headlines, it may be used alone, or its boldest weights may be paired with Work Sans for emphasis. Don’t be afraid to use it large. However, for more formal audiences, you can match its size to the Work Sans portion of the headline. Tip: to achieve a virtually equal size to the Work Sans portion of the headline, set it at 5 points larger than Work Sans.

    Work Sans is used for the less important part of a headline as well as subheads, lead-in, and body copy.

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