Voice and Tone

Tone can change to suit your audience, from a blog post reminding alumni why they love their university to a brochure that makes future students want to join the Wolfpack. But NC State speaks with a single voice — one that reflects and reinforces our brand.

Words and Deeds

NC State’s brand helps set us apart from our peers. We strengthen the university by speaking and writing in ways that demonstrate our brand personality: courageous, innovative, intellectual and purposeful.

We talk boldly about what we’ve already achieved. We explain how we continue to lead the pack. We communicate new ideas in terms everyone can understand. We choose practical, focused language that fits our research. We say what we mean, mean what we say and always match words with action.

Man and woman with infographics

Learn more about how we Think and Do.


Write with conviction. Never shy from challenging or complex subjects. Describe the problems facing our world, and propose solutions. Choose bold, unambiguous language. Show our eagerness to put ideas to the test in the real world, where they count.

Researcher with pPman.

At NC State, we back up bold research with bold language.

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NC State graduates go straight to work — fighting fires in the forests of western North Carolina, kickstarting finance throughout the Queen City or revitalizing textiles along I-85. From the moment they arrive here, our students learn the tools of their trade, applying big data insights to get big things done.

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As befits a place responsible for practical learning, NC State offers students a thorough grounding in the equipment and skills of their respective fields. Students also undertake internships and other beneficial learning experiences that may help to better prepare them for life after graduation, whether that means a potential career in forestry, the financial services sector or even North Carolina’s recovering textile economy.

Here's Why:

The first example lays out real challenges and depicts NC State graduates meeting them. It hooks the reader with active, evocative verbs (“fighting,” “kickstarting”). It is confident in its claims, presenting experiential education as invigorating for students and vital to their prospects. By contrast, the second example is timid, vague and forgettable.


Be excited by new ideas. Show how NC State is leading the way, but avoid empty buzzwords. Adopt best practices for communicating via the Web and social media. Present cutting-edge research and technology as commonplace at NC State. Focus on the end results of our innovation.

Student working at Hunt Library.

The Hunt Library reflects our constant pursuit of new approaches.

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At the Center for Geospatial Analytics, staff and students from 20 departments are honing the skills needed to map, model, chart and capture the details of the planet we share. Together with a top-notch faculty cluster, they’re turning complex spatial data into sustainable solutions. That means cutting-edge insights into a host of problems, from global carbon emissions to Charlotte’s urban sprawl.

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At the Center for Geospatial Analytics, researchers are crunching the numbers and using “spatial modeling and visualization” to get to grips with the world around us. If that sounds complicated, it’s because it is. But these newfangled methods are helping NC State to push the envelope, and they may have applications we can’t even imagine yet. Click here to visit the center’s website.

Here's Why:

The first example showcases cutting-edge research at NC State — and our competence. It confidently lays out the potential of new technology and engages the reader with concrete verbs and specific applications. The second example makes the research sound intimidating and impractical. It uses stale language and outdated Web standards (“Click here”).


Inform and educate your audience. Demonstrate NC State’s expertise, but avoid academic or insider terminology. Unpack complex ideas into simpler parts. Describe how research will be applied. Make clear the benefits of learning and discovery.

Student working at light table.

Our research is high-impact, but our tone isn't high-minded.

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NC State researchers have developed a potential new weapon in the fight against cancer: a daisy-shaped drug carrier that’s many thousands of times smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. Once injected into the bloodstream, millions of these “nanodaisies” sneak inside cancer cells and release a cocktail of drugs to destroy them from within.

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Researchers at NC State are actively fabricating a nanoscale device that may have significant implications for the treatment of cancer. A solution containing millions of these devices (folding nanocarriers comprising graft polymers with pendant drug segments) is injected into the bloodstream, following which they penetrate cancerous cells and release a combination of anticancer agents.

Here's Why:

The first example spells out what NC State researchers have achieved and why it matters. It does so without sacrificing detail or oversimplifying the science. It makes abstract ideas accessible by relating them to familiar ones: periods, daisies, cocktails. The second example is full of arcane, alienating language. It diminishes the research it fails to describe.


Know your audience and what’s important to them. Use direct, uncomplicated language and sentence structure. Strike out unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. Focus on outcomes. Show how NC State solves problems. Say as much as is needed and no more.

Doctor with iPad treating a patient

We work — and write — with a strategic goal in mind.

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At NC State, we put learning into practice and leaders on the fast track. Whether you’re on active duty or transitioning from service, we provide the programs you need to advance in your career. Among them is an MBA with full-time, part-time and online options — and one of the top supply-chain concentrations in the country.

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If you are a member of the military currently on active duty, or if you are preparing to transition out of the service in the very near future, then NC State offers a broad, diverse range of programs — including an AACSB-accredited MBA program that can be taken either full time, part time or entirely online — that may allow you to more confidently approach your professional future.

Here's Why:

The first example speaks to its military audience with economy, precision and purpose. Using short, declarative clauses to make its case, it presents an NC State education as a means to an end. The second example is a long, rambling single sentence. Littered with redundant language, it loses its way and risks losing its reader.