Tone, Content, Personality


[The style of your writing, word choice and sentence structure.]

San Jose State’s voice is personal, friendly, inclusive and grounded. Your tone should always reflect SJSU’s focus on people. Whenever possible in your communications, speak to your audiences (“you” and “your”) about how they fit into the SJSU community, rather than about the university in a general sense (“us” and “ours”). Every Spartan should feel included and welcome.

Your tone may vary slightly depending on your communication platform and on your audience. Ask yourself the following questions and adjust accordingly:

  • Who is my audience? Am I writing for current or future students, parents, faculty members or graduates, or for people who may be unfamiliar with San Jose State?

  • Given the goals of my communication, how should my tone differ when writing an informational brochure versus a tweet or Facebook post?



[The frame and focus of what you write.]

Carefully crafting and delivering SJSU messages is vital. The themes and messages described in this guide have been developed based on qualitative and quantitative research, including input and feedback from campus and community stakeholders.

Our messages build on our core promise, “powering Silicon Valley.” By clarifying how and why we power Silicon Valley, both as individuals and collectively, the messages you create will distinguish and differentiate the university:

  • A welcoming, inclusive environment encourages students and faculty members to discover who they want to be. 
  • Through real-world, hands-on learning and teaching, students and faculty members integrate theory and practice in pursuit of their goals.
  • SJSU’s multifaceted relationship to Silicon Valley provides a springboard for far-reaching careers and collaboration.
  • A commitment to academic excellence and dynamic learning opportunities promotes responsible social and civic engagement.



[Our shared traits or characteristics.]

In addition to tone and content, another component of our voice is personality. What are our Spartan traits? What are the words we use to describe SJSU? You’re already using most of them! When creating your messages, you may focus on one trait or a combination of traits.

  • Hard-working
  • Creative
  • Resilient
  • Smart
  • Grounded
  • Ready
  • Resourceful
  • Service
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Proud
  • Collaborative
  • Current
  • Adaptable