Students sitting in front of a laptop

Writing and editing

What we say is important. How we say it is, too. Writing that’s friendly, smart and engaging and storytelling sparked by our core strengths capture the essence of what makes us SMU.

Writing and editing

SMU’s outgoing personality comes through in writing that is friendly, direct, inclusive and optimistic. Strong, people-focused stories developed around common themes that demonstrate the impact we have on our community and the world connect with our audiences in personal ways.

Four distinctive strengths set SMU apart. These key differentiators are defined and described in content themes, or pillars, which contain ideas and language to weave into all types of communications. The themes also serve as filters to guide the selection of the best stories that bring “Think big. Do good”® to life.

SMU and Dallas together create a global gateway with limitless opportunities that shape and position students for success no matter where they go or what they pursue.

Core message

The optimistic outlook of Dallas is at the heart of SMU, and our enterprising spirit has helped shape Dallas into a global gateway for people of all backgrounds. Our vibrant community uniquely positions us to create real-world opportunities for students to learn, give back and become world changers in whatever they’re passionate about. Offering assistance every step of the way is our strong alumni network of leaders in their professions and communities. As Dallas’s university, we boost the region’s intellectual capital and shape its future leaders by attracting exceptional students. Through the combined might of this comprehensive research university and an energetic city, students graduate prepared to contribute to their professions and their communities.

SMU is an inclusive, welcoming community that embraces a world of people and ideas and creates a place that everyone can call home.

Core message

From the moment they step onto our campus, students from across the country, around the globe and all walks of life become part of a close-knit community. Their connections with fellow students and faculty take root and grow into lifelong friendship. Whether they are first-years, transfers or graduate students, they thrive in a climate of inclusion, where all Mustangs are valued, and honest conversations lead to a better understanding of diverse perspectives and different life experiences. As they develop their passions and purpose, students welcome the wider community to share the beauty of the campus and the limitless enrichment opportunities they enjoy. When our students graduate and become part of our dynamic alumni network, they still have a home here, no matter where they live.

Our innovation culture empowers bold thinkers to transform their big ideas into new products, inventive technology and world-changing solutions.

Core message

SMU’s innovation ecosystem attracts problem-solvers, creators and disruptors ready to transform their big ideas into tangible results. Our students and their faculty and community collaborators aren’t afraid to take risks. They know that puzzling through a setback often leads to the next leap forward. Unconstrained by convention and guided by an ethical compass, they cut across boundaries to invent new products, find practical solutions to everyday problems, leverage technology in unexpected ways and tackle society’s most pressing issues. They open doors to opportunities and improve lives as they reimagine the world.

SMU’s data-empowered faculty and students deploy research as a force for good in a relentless quest for solutions with lasting impact.

Core message

SMU’s faculty and students join forces as co-creators of knowledge that spans the arts, sciences, engineering, business and the humanities. Even in their first year, students become hands-on contributors to significant discoveries. In collaboration with industry, nonprofit organizations and other institutions, our faculty and students forge paths to results that can be applied ethically on a local, national and global scale. Powered by the vast potential of data science and high-speed computing, they unlock new insights about critical programs. SMU researchers shape these discoveries into economic opportunities, stronger communities and a better world.

What we say is important. How we say it is, too.

That’s where voice and tone come into the picture to express and amplify our brand identity.

Voice is how we act. It’s our brand personality described in an adjective. Our voice is outgoing and captures these personality traits:

  • Driven
  • Professional
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Inclusive
  • Welcoming
  • Enterprising
  • Authentic
  • Compassionate
  • Expressive

Tone is how we talk. It adds specific flavor to the voice. Based on target audience, topic, project, etc., our tone is:

  • Approachable
  • Authentic
  • Bold
  • Smart/Bright
  • Influential
  • Helpful

SMU editorial style guide

SMU follows most AP Stylebook guidelines. Any variations and SMU-specific information can be found in the SMU editorial style guide. If you have further style questions that are not addressed in this guide, please contact