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Editorial Guidelines

The words we use

Use this section to find style guidelines and rules for writing copy.

Web WritingNewswriting A to Z Style GuideCopy Editing Tips

Inclusive Language Guide

It is important at Northwestern that we communicate in an inclusive manner. Use our inclusive language guide to learn more about ways to use inclusive language in your communications.

View the Guide


Because of our rich heritage and our complex and diverse community, several names are used to represent the University.

Avoid: The NU Abbreviation

It’s too generic to identify us and too casual to represent our University. (Although legacy names using the abbreviation may continue to do so.)

Using the "Northwestern Direction" Theme

The idea of the Northwestern Direction can be used in a variety of ways throughout communications. However, this language should never be locked up with the Northwestern logo.


  • Make it personal
    "See Kyle Kremer's Northwestern Direction..."
  • Make it empowering
    "See what you can accomplish when you take a Northwestern Direction."
  • Make a point
    "Math by way of music. That's a Northwestern Direction."


  • Use it for everyday information
    "For this Northwestern Direction, turn left on Sherman Avenue, then go 1 mile..."
  • Make it seem prescriptive
    "We all follow the Northwestern Direction."
  • Make it monolithic 
    "There's only one Northwestern Direction."
  • Make it an endpoint
    "Tony's Northwestern Direction landed him at Goldman Sachs."
  • Lose the institutional context
    "Take a Department of Quidditch Direction today."