New writing style guide answers all those tricky questions

Two laptops on a wooden table

UNSW Sydney’s new style guide makes it easier to get your message across clearly. 

Should I spell ‘faculty’ with a capital F?​ What about ‘university’ – when does that have a capital U?  Should you always italicise the title of research papers?​ And do titles such as   ‘Deputy Vice Chancellor Enterprise’ have a hyphen, a comma or brackets?  

The answers to these and many other commonly asked questions are provided in UNSW’s new Writing Style Guide, which has been launched alongside a suite of new resources for UNSW’s new creative approach.  

The Writing Style Guide, which was developed by the Media and Content team within the Division of External Relations, provides simple and practical advice on expressing yourself concisely, clearly and consistently to your audience.  

It offers general guidance about the basic principles of good writing and includes information about appropriate language when considering issues of equity, diversity and inclusion.  

There is also more detailed information and style rulings on technical points such as formatting, naming conventions, punctuation, spelling variations and commonly misused terms.  

The guide was assembled from the many writing style guides that have been in use at UNSW in recent years and was written in consultation with people from across the University. It is designed to answer all those style questions that you might find yourself asking as you work and is for all staff to use. 

It also introduces a new tone of voice which aims to personify the UNSW ‘personality’ and bring to life the idea behind UNSW’s refreshed brand, ‘Collective Difference’. The tone of voice centres around three core principles to guide the language and tone of our written communications when representing UNSW, broadly that we are:  

  • ‘proud not loud’ (ambitious and inspiring)  

  • ‘we’re real’ (conversational and relatable)   

  • ‘natural teachers’ (knowledgeable and curious).   

The UNSW Writing Style Guide is available on the Downloads page of the UNSW Brand Hub, which also hosts a new Visual Style Guide, new fonts for download, and basic templates for all sorts of content.  

The Media and Content team are very keen for feedback on the Writing Style Guide, such as suggestions for extra information or proposed corrections, from users of the guide. Please email styleguide@unsw.edu.au with your thoughts.   

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