Voice & Tone

A brand’s personality influences its voice and tone. Our voice is a reflection of who we are—our unique personality—and how we express ourselves. Our tone is active, adjusting to the particular platform, channel, situation or condition while reaffirming our authenticity.


Communicating with a consistent voice begins with following SJSU Editorial Style. Carefully consider the brand voice and tone of messages across all platforms to ensure that we are communicating who we are effectively and clearly with our many audiences.

  • Personal
  • Friendly
  • Inclusive
  • Grounded

How do you want to communicate?

Voice Characteristics: Engaging and Helpful
Description: We’re trustworthy experts, and we’re here for you as a resource.

  • Do: Be personal and direct. Use first person (“we”, “our,” “us”) and second person (“you”, “your”) to maintain a conversational feel when appropriate.
  • Don't: Be overly formal or institutional.

Voice Characteristics: Direct and Informative
Description: We’re going to give you the information and resources you need upfront.

  • Do: Use simple, straight-forward, concise language.
  • Don't: Be wordy or use jargon.

Voice Characteristics: Authentic and Inclusive
Description: We’re unique and community-oriented.

  • Do: Use warm, welcoming, language wherever appropriate.
  • Don't: Be distant or overly prescriptive.


Tone sets the scene in your writing and is reflected by your word choice and sentence structure. Your tone may vary slightly depending on your communication platform and on your audience.

  • Warm and welcoming
  • Educated and curious
  • Honest and direct
  • Confident and open-minded
  • Celebratory and positive

Engaging and Helpful

Instead of saying: Winter Session is a condensed, mini-semester, that allows students to get ahead in their degree progress.

Say: Want to graduate early? Earn credits towards your degree in a condensed, mini-semester: Winter Session.

Direct and Informative

Instead of saying: Please explore this web site to learn more about our campus, opportunities and application processes. If you can’t find the information you’re seeking, please contact us through e-mail.

Say: Learn more about our campus community, career-building opportunities and the application process

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Email us at example@sjsu.edu.

Authentic and Inclusive

Instead of saying: Connect with the people who work in the dean’s office. Look here to find telephone numbers and email addresses for members of our staff.

Say: We’re here to help. Connect with the dean’s office, our college’s academic and administrative leadership. Browse our staff directory for contact information.