Copy Tone

Step anywhere on campus or inside any of UCLA’s facilities and the feeling of optimism is palpable. The students, faculty and staff all share the notion that they can — and will — make a better tomorrow.

The tone of digital copy should echo this sentiment. Just as there are bright, upward-looking moments in the brand visuals, the copy must do this as well. The words should energize. The message should be empowering, uplifting and progressive.

But keep in mind that when you are writing for the web or e-mail, your copy is doing triple duty: it must be entertaining, informative and functional within a technical framework.

  • Body Copy

    Body copy is where tone can flex the most. Remember to incorporate the brand personality as personified by the six UCLA tone words. Think of them as a gas pedal; you can increase or decrease their individual use depending on your audience:

    • Cultured
    • Balanced
    • Vibrant
    • Perseverant
    • Visionary
    • Catalytic
  • Audience

    For a professional or institutional audience, the tone should be more reserved, steadfast and informed. That doesn’t mean it has to be flat; it is possible to write compelling copy that also clearly gets the message across. For parents, keep the tone cultured, balanced and visionary so that it is both grounded and reassuring, but also inspiring.

  • Voice

    Use the second person imperative voice, whenever possible. In online writing, the second person imperative creates an immediacy and urgency for your message. It also invites the reader to experience what you are saying rather than simply read about it. Avoid future tense, whenever possible.