University Publication Guide
How and Why Use this Guide?
Let's start with the "Why." Why is it necessary for a university to have guidelines for publications? Why can't each department and program create its own publications any way it wants to? Why is consistency and coherence among university publications important?
While each department and program at California State University, Chico is distinctive, each is also part of the whole University. Many readers who start with one publication from CSU, Chico also receive, or seek out, other publications from the University.
If each program produces a publication with its own look and stylistic conventions—with few or no similarities to other campus publications—then it becomes harder for readers to associate the program with CSU, Chico. That association is important because the University as a whole benefits from the success of each of its parts. When any one program makes a positive impression on the public, CSU, Chico's reputation is strengthened. As the University's reputation gets stronger, as it has in recent years, every program benefits in turn.
So, how do we communicate clearly what is distinctive about each program while letting our audiences know that we come from the same cohesive institution?
- One important way is to use a couple consistent visual elements in each publication (logo and type font). You can do that and still have room to design distinctive publications that communicate your program's individual character. Use the Graphic Standards section for help in this area.
- Another way is to use consistent conventions for the ways all university publications present common names, places, and concepts (e.g., accurate proper names, abbreviations, capitalization). The Writing Style Guide section addresses the most common conventions used at CSU, Chico.
- And, of course, you want to incorporate the principles of good writing: clarity, precision, consistency, economy, and correctness. The Writing Style Guide provides short reminders of basic guidelines for effective writing.
- Equal opportunity cannot be achieved unless individuals with disabilities are aware that accommodations are available on campus. To comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, include accommodation and alternate format statements on publications, event announcements, and websites. The statements should be printed in an easy-to-read font (such as Arial or Times New Roman) and placed in a location that is noticeable. See sample notifications here.
Do guidelines limit individual expression?
No—at least not in this case. So, let's be clear about what this guide won't do. It won't tell you what to say about your program. You know your program, your audience, and your message better than anyone.
This guide is intended to help you communicate your message in the most effective way possible. And, when the guide doesn't address all of your questions, we're available for consultation during any point in the editorial process.
Who should use these guidelines?
The information provided here applies to the production of brochures, newsletters, pamphlets, news releases, web pages, and other publications that represent CSU, Chico. It is intended for all those on campus who produce publications.
Using these guidelines in the preparation of your publications will improve their effectiveness and reduce the turn-around time needed by the publications editor, who is required to review "all university publications intended for off-campus audiences or wide distribution on campus" (Executive Memorandum 02-96, University Publications).