Unifying Themes Toolbox
This toolbox is a quick-reference guide for infusing our brand and the unifying themes into all content, from web to print and social media. Our Brand Personality is how we present the university in all communications. Brand Personality is conveyed through words and images and in the content we chose to share with the public. Style guides, brand resources and writing, photography, video, web and social media tips can be found in our Resource Guide. This content — the stories and information we use on websites, print materials, Newswires, digital signs and social media — is how we show our audiences who we are, what we do and why it matters.
Communicating With Purpose
Writing and communicating with purpose is at the heart of using themes in communicating. What’s our purpose in sharing information? To advance the university by building and strengthening connections with our alumni and students, recruiting new undergraduate and graduate students and new faculty and staff, conveying the value of our research and outreach to the state and nation, advancing our research mission through opportunity, industry partnerships and funding and building our reputation as a unique place that puts students first and works every day to build a better world through teaching, learning, service and research.
The unifying themes were developed through research that identified the core of the U of A’s mission and identity ‑ who we are and what we do — and tied directly to the U of A’s strategic goals. This is how we communicate value and impact of what we do as a Tier 1 research university (why it matters). Everything we write and every picture we use should fit under the umbrella of one of these themes:
- Dedicated to Arkansas
- We’re Home
- Life-Changing Opportunities
- Determined to Build a Better World
How to Write with Purpose Using the Themes
Start by asking these questions:
- Who is my audience?
- What is the purpose?
Who needs to know? Identifying the audience you want to reach is the first step in developing content. The audience determines what information you share and how you share it. The themes are tools to help communicate with specific audiences.
- Campus – faculty and staff
- State leaders
- Industry leaders
- Prospective students
- National Peer Influencers
- Peers in Higher Education
Look at the story or info you are going to write about or post. What is the story about? What is the desired outcome of this information or story (for example, is it to recruit students, is it to demonstrate faculty or student excellence in the department or college, etc.)? Everything we write, the photos we use and content we share is done with the purpose of advancing the University of Arkansas by helping meet the university’s strategic goals.
The unifying themes are tools to help this effort. Every piece of content we write should fit within one of the four themes. For example, a story about mentoring or a student achievement could fit under Life-Changing Opportunities. A research story likely fits under Determined to Build a Better World. If the topic doesn’t fit under one of the themes, however, reach out to your area’s Director of Communications and reassess why it’s being written or shared.
Here is a guide to help identify purpose and themes for various types of content:
Dedicated to Arkansas
This theme is another way to demonstrate our land-grant and flagship responsibilities of teaching, research and service to our state. We are Arkansas, our students come from all 75 counties and our alumni live and contribute to communities across the state. It means equipping our graduates with necessary job skills, stimulating the state’s economy through innovation and entrepreneurship, promoting education, health and safety, spreading new ideas through scholarship and outreach, and nurturing creative activity in every community.
- The Dedicated to Arkansas Theme Page contains tips on when and how to convey this theme in Newswires, web and print content and through pictures.
This theme is about what brings people to our campus, our atmosphere and environment and the emotional tie their experiences create that keeps them connected to the university long after they leave campus.
- The We’re Home Theme Page contains tips on when and how to convey this theme in Newswires, web and print content and through pictures.
This theme is about the transformational power of higher education that comes from diverse experiences, individual attention in learning and educational experiences like service learning, internships and study abroad. We open life-changing pathways through our breadth of research, scholarship and creative activities in an environment centered on learning.
- The Life-Changing Opportunities Theme Page contains tips on when and how to convey this theme in Newswires, web and print content and through pictures.
Determined to Build a Better World
With this theme, we demonstrate that in everything we do, we are working to better our world. We provide skills and knowledge to the next generation of leaders, inspire creative thought and works and find solutions to the world’s toughest challenges, from finding renewable energy sources to advancing the early diagnosis, treatment and a cure for cancer.
- The Determined to Build a Better World Theme Page contains tips on when and how to convey this theme in Newswires, web and print content and through pictures.
Styleguides, graphics downloads and resources are available for use to help make content development easier and consistent across all areas of campus.
Writing tips and best practices for all university content, to include Newswire, web content, social media posts, postcards and other mass mailings, magazines, brochures can be found in the Editorial section of this site. The university adheres to AP style in all public content for these uses. A quick reference guide on how to use U of A and higher education specific wording can be found in our online, searchable Editorial Style Guide.
Photos, Video and Digital Signs
The U of A has a database of photos that can be accessed by approved members of campus. To gain access, contact Roy Cordell with University Relations: firstname.lastname@example.org
An open access catalog of preferred campus shots that align with the unifying themes is available for use on all U of A webpages, in social media, mailings and publications.
Trying to decide which photo to use or taking photos yourself? This photo guide with photography tips and examples will help.
A library of campuswide messages for digital signs is available for both use and sharing of your area’s digital signage messaging with other areas of campus.
Content and stories for webpages should adhere to the same style and guidance for all U of A content. AP and U of A style, active voice, short and clear sentences all help convey our shared identity.
Our language should always be:
- Credible, clear and convincing
- Accessible, informal whenever it’s appropriate
- Smart, thoughtful and uplifting
Information on everything from page design to site navigation and graphic requirements can be found in our Web Styleguide.
Downloadable logos, watermarks, typography and trademark guides as well as stationary other graphic elements can be found in our Graphics Styleguide. Best practices and examples of dos and don’ts of graphic use and design can also be found there.
The Social Media guide offers tips on strategy, tools for monitoring and posting best practices, as well as image and hashtag guidance for all U of A accounts. Downloads of images for covers and branding and naming requirements are also found in this section. Like all other content produced at the U of A, social media follows AP Style and U of A Style and should be tied to the unifying themes both in imagery and written content.