Editorial style guide

As a professional provider of education it is important that we present ourselves coherently and consistently in our communications to both external and internal audiences. How we write, and the way we refer to ourselves, must remain consistent across everything the University produces.

How to use this guide: After this introductory section, you'll find an alphabetised list of scenarios and how our editorial style is implemented. You may find it beneficial to use Ctrl+F (Cmd+F on a Mac) to search for specific mentions of a term. As much guidance as possible is given here, but if you have any questions do get in contact with the marketing team (marketing@londonmet.ac.uk). You can also check The Guardian newspaper’s online style guide, which is similar to our own.

Tone of voice

When we communicate to our audiences in written form we need to ensure that we use a consistent tone of voice. Our audiences include students (prospective and current), parents, other influencers (eg teachers), colleagues, partners, the academic community and service providers. When we communicate we should sound professional, friendly, approachable, inclusive, confident and inspirational.

Being friendly:

  • Although we want to relay professionalism, avoid using overly academic language: opt for a down-to-earth approach. (This may not apply in all cases, eg academic to academic).
  • Use contractions. Using "it’s", "that’s", "you’ll", "let’s" is friendly and accessible.
  • Avoid jargon and slang. Phrases such as "professional service departments" and acronyms such as "FSSH" or "HRM" are confusing for external audiences and should not be used.

Sounding confident:

  • Keep it simple. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Albert Einstein
  • Be clear and concise. Many people will just scan through a leaflet, document or a web page. Avoid using too many words or repeating yourself.
  • Write with conviction. Words like "might", "could", "aim to" and "we think" do not inspire confidence in our audiences.

Writing to be inclusive:

  • Use second person narrative: "You will be encouraged to read from specified case law and legal journals.” Avoid writing about the audience you are talking to ("students will").
  • Put your reader first. Students are not interested in how our departments are structured, they just need information that is clear and concise.
  • Be helpful. If there are terms that our audiences might not understand, explain them clearly.

Being inspirational and creative:

  • Grab the reader’s attention. Adopting a professional tone doesn’t mean we need to sound boring.
  • The average person spends much less than a minute looking at a web page or document. Structure information so the most important parts are at the top and weave a narrative to engage your audience.
  • Give concrete examples wherever possible: “Alumni now work at Sky, the BBC and The Guardian.”
Three different examples of structuring a newsletter in the brand style
Abbreviations and acronyms
 CorrectIncorrect
Use of abbreviations should be kept to a minimum. Punctuation within an abbreviation should be kept to the minimum. eg
ie
etc
eg. or e.g.
ie. or i.e.
etc. or e.t.c.
When referring to page numbers, the word "page" should not be abbreviated. page 42 p 42 or p.42 or pp.42
Measurements should be treated in a similar way to abbreviations, with no full stops. mph
am
pm
cm
mm
m.p.h.
a.m.
p.m.
cm.
mm.
Geographical abbreviations follow a similar style. UK
USA
UAE
U.K.
U.S.A.
U.A.E.
Points of the compass should not be abbreviated in straight text and generally carry lower-case initials (see also Area names). north
south
east
west
North, South, East, West
N, S, E, W
n, s, e, w

Acronyms should be set in capitals and should have no full stops and spaces between letters.

BBC B.B.C.
NALGO N.A.L.G.O.
DIY D.I.Y

Acronyms should be avoided where possible. Where the acronym may not be familiar to the reader or confusion may arise, the name should be written in full the first time it is used followed by the acronym in brackets.

When referring to a school name, we prefer to use the full name for the first instance, followed by "the School" thereafter. Where more than one school name is referred to, continue to use the full names to avoid confusion. 

Master of Business Administration (MBA) MBA
School of Social Sciences SSS
Human resource management (HRM) HRM
Addresses
 CorrectIncorrect

Addresses should be written in full (no abbreviations) and carry the postcode.

London Metropolitan University
31 Jewry Street
London
EC3N 2EY

LMU
31 Jewry Street
London EC3N 2EY

Do not use punctuation at the end of each line of a stacked address and ensure the postcode is on a line of its own. When the address appears in continuous text, use commas where the lines would normally break.

Full stops should not be used in postcodes.

London Metropolitan University
166-220 Holloway Road
London
N7 8DB

London Metropolitan University, 
166-220 Holloway Road, 
London, N7 8DB.

Alignment
 CorrectIncorrect

Align text to the left.

In our branded design templates, text is positioned in relation to the logo (see the logo positioning and page layout guidance).

Welcome to London Met

Welcome to London Met

Welcome to London Met

Ampersand (& symbol)
 CorrectIncorrect

Do not use an ampersand to replace the word "and" unless the ampersand is part of a company name.

 

 

Guildhall School of Business and Law Guildhall School of Business & Law
Ogilvy & Mather Ogilvy and Mather
During the course you will learn how to make a pair of curtains and a cushion cover. During the course you will learn how to make a pair of curtains & a cushion cover.
Area names
 CorrectIncorrect
Area names including points of the compass should not carry a capital initial, unless it's part of the place's official name.
north Wales North Wales
western China Western China
south-east Asia South-East Asia
north London North London
the north-east the North-West
the south of Scotland the South of Scotland
East End east End
North America north America
North Pole north pole
South Yorkshire south Yorkshire
Western Australia western Australia
the West Midlands the west Midlands
Bullet points
 CorrectIncorrect
Use rounded, solid bullet points for lists.
  • Art
  • Drama
  • Sociology

- Art
- Drama
- Sociology

Use numbered lists with full stops rather than a bracket.
  1. Art
  2. Drama
  3. Sociology

1) Art
2) Drama
3) Sociology

For information on using capital letters with bulleted lists please refer to the Capital letters section.    
Campuses
 CorrectIncorrect

When we refer to our campuses please use the following terms and capitalisation:

  • Holloway campus
  • Aldgate campus
  • Moorgate campus

City and North should not be used when communicating to students as they are internal terms and not easy to interpret. The terms Holloway campus, Aldgate campus and Moorgate campus are self-explanatory.

Campuses should not be referred to as hubs. Hubs are student offices at each of our campuses. The Holloway Hub refers to the student enquiries office at our Holloway campus.

Holloway campus

North Campus
Holloway hub

Capital letters
 CorrectIncorrect
Only proper nouns require capital letters (specific person, place or thing - eg company names, countries, languages). London Metropolitan University London metropolitan university
Belgium and France belgium and france
There are museums and churches in Venice There are Museums and Churches in Venice 
Names of diseases do not require capital letters unless they are named after a person or place, eg Alzheimer's or Ebola. There was Ebola in the region. There was ebola in the region.
Seasons (autumn etc) do not use capital letters. In the autumn the leaves are red. In the Autumn the leaves are red.
Avoid the use of capitalised headings or text - capitals are harder to read and impede comprehension. Use bold (minimally) to emphasise words. This text is much easier to read as readers recognise the words more easily by their shapes.

THIS TEXT IS DIFFICULT TO READ AS READERS CAN'T EASILY RECOGNICE WORDS BY THEIR SHAPES.

When you start a bulleted list with a sentence that runs on into the bullet points, you do not need to use capitals. 

During this course you will:

  • improve your written skills
  • learn more about the country

During this course you will:

  • Improve your written skills
  • Learn more about the country

If the bulleted list does not use full sentences, you do not need to use capital letters.

Please bring the following items to enrolment:

  • passport
  • driving licence

Please bring the following items to enrolment:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence

When a bulleted list uses full sentences, start the sentence with a capital letter and end with a full stop.

  • During enrolment you will need to bring your passport and birth certificate.
  • during enrolment you will need to bring your passport and birth certificate
Titles and sub-titles should always be written in sentence case.

Welcome to your first week at London Metropolitan University

Welcome to Your First week at London Metropolitan University

Generic terms should not be capitalised. Common terms we use and their correct capitalisation are shown here with accepted exceptions noted.

When referring to open days and events in general they should be expressed in lower case, but when referring to a specific open day the words should be capitalised.

When referring to a generic subject area the words should be lowercase. When referring to one of our courses specifically they should be capitalised.

When referring to a service or services in general the words should be lowercase but when referring to the name of a specific service the words should be capitalised.

postgraduate
undergraduate
Clearing
the Open Day on 3 March
open days
Biomedical Science BSc (Hons)
the study of biomedical science
London Met libraries
Aldgate Library
student hubs
Holloway Hub

 

For information on how to capitalise job titles, please see the section entitled "Job titles".

 

 

For guidance on how we use capitals when referring to our schools and professional service departments, please see "London Metropolitan University and its constituent parts".    
For information on how we use capitals when referring to our students and graduates (eg postgraduate, international) please read the section entitled "Students and graduates".    
Dates and times
 CorrectIncorrect
Dates should not be abbreviated. Do not follow the number of the day with "th", "st" or "nd".

22 July 2002
Monday 22 July 2002

22nd July 2002
July 22nd 2002
22nd July ’02
July 22 2002
22/07/2002

Times should be written respecting the provisos concerning measurements and space. Numbers in times should not be written as a word and times should not feature the word "o'clock". The 12-hour clock should be used (ie follow the number with am or pm) and when the time is not on the hour the time should feature a full stop (rather than a colon).

5pm
5.30pm

Five o'clock
5 pm
05:30
22:30

Use the minimum number of digits when referring to years. When referring to a span across two years use a hyphen without spacing. 2001-02 2001/2002
2001-02
2001 — 2002
2001/02
In straight prose, write out centuries in full, and hyphenate when they are used as adjectives. nineteenth century 19th century
seventeenth-century armour

17th-century armour
seventeenth century armour

Use a space after the number when referring to BC or AD. 200 BC  200BC
AD 1993 AD1993
When referring to a particular decade use, for example "sixties" or "1960s" (no apostrophe). Sixties
1960s

1960’s

Degrees and awards
 CorrectIncorrect
When we write about awarding a student with a degree, we must refer to the University, rather than a school or department, as the awarding body. London Metropolitan University awards you...

The School of Human Sciences awards you...

Your degree from London Metropolitan University.... Your degree from The Cass...
In text, the title of the degree should come before the qualification, and, as the name of a product, the title of the degree should be written in title case (ie with a capital letter at the beginning of each word). Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) biomedical science
The words bachelor's and master's should include a possessive apostrophe (and be in lower case). Studying for a master's is a rewarding experience.

Studying for a masters is a rewarding experience.
Studying for a Master's is a rewarding experience.

Full stops
 CorrectIncorrect
Full stops should not be used after headings, subheadings, paragraph headings etc. Page heading

Page heading.

Minimise use of full stops in abbreviations. Use only for clarification or to avoid misinterpretation, eg, ‘no’ meaning ‘no’ and ‘no.’ meaning ‘number’. If such confusion is a possibility it is preferable to forgo abbreviation in favour of the full word.

eg

e.g.
e.g

Hyphenation
 CorrectIncorrect

Keep hyphenation to the minimum needed to avoid ambiguity.

Distinguish between "a man-eating tiger" and "a man eating tiger"; "four year-old children" and "four-year-old children".

Words such as "makeup" and "childcare" can be run together and written without a hyphen.

"Part-time" and "full-time" need hyphens (both as nouns and adjectives), but "postgraduate" and "undergraduate" do not.

 

 

 

Part-time

Part time

Full-time student

Full time student

Full- and part-time students

Full and part time students

Undergraduate Under-graduate
Postgraduate Post-graduate
Email E-mail
Online On-line
Website Web-site
Italics
 CorrectIncorrect
Italicise Latin names, foreign words and titles of periodicals, newspapers and books in preference to using quotation marks.  The Times

‘The Times’

War and Peace

War and Peace

Do not use italics or quotation marks/inverted commas when referring to works of art, films and plays. Write in title case instead. The Phantom of the Opera
Mona Lisa
Persistence of Memory
The Phantom of the Opera
"Mona Lisa"
'Persistence of Memory'
Do not use italics (or an underline) to emphasise occasional words in text. Use bold text instead. Do not run Do not run
When using quotes, do not use italics. Please also only use double quotation marks (“). "I had the best time at London Met." 'I had the best time at London Met.'

 

Job titles
 CorrectIncorrect
Whether or not you capitalise job titles depends on whether you are referring to a specific person or one of a group of people.

If the job title isn't referring to a specific individual, or referring to the individual as one of a group, it should not be capitalised.

As a general rule, if the job title could be replaced in the sentence by the name of an individual it should be capitalised.

John Ward is a senior lecturer John Ward is a Senior Lecturer
John Raftery, Vice-Chancellor John Raftery, vice chancellor
We invited Vice-Chancellor John Raftery We invited vice chancellor John Raftery
Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister David Cameron, the prime minister
Education Minister Sarah Jacks Education minister Sarah Jacks
Senior Lecturer Jack Biggs Senior lecturer Jack Biggs
London Metropolitan University and its constituent parts
 CorrectIncorrect

The University should be referred to as London Metropolitan University or London Met. The full name is preferable, particularly on formal communications and marketing materials, where it must appear at least once before being shortened to London Met.

There are a number of ways of shortening the University name that should not be used in University communications and are not associated with London Met, for example: LMULondonmetLondonMetLdn Met.

London Metropolitan University LMU
London Met Londonmet
  LondonMet
  Ldn Met

When referring to the University in text without using the full name, the word "university" should carry an initial capital, but when referring to universities in general use lower case.

The University has implemented a graduate internship scheme.

The university has implemented a graduate internship scheme.

We have eight recognised sub-brands at the University. When referring to these sub-brands in text please use capitalisation as indicated here:

  • Accelerator
  • Guildhall School of Business and Law
  • School of Computing and Digital Media
  • School of Human Sciences
  • School of Social Professions
  • School of Social Sciences
  • The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
  • The Rocket
 

 

Other areas of the University (for example research units, professional service departments and University initiatives) should communicate their name or title using standard capitalisation (for example Cass Film or the Institute for Policy Studies in Education).

   

Whether or not the word "the" is capitalised in the title of an organisational unit of the University depends whether or not "the" is part of the unit’s recognised name.

Application forms can be picked up from the Research Office.

Application forms can be picked up from The Research Office. 

In foreign markets the University name remains London Metropolitan University. This is with the exception of the Chinese version of the University name: 伦敦城市大学. This is registered as a trademark in China and is the only non-English representation of the University name that should be used.

   
Numbers
 CorrectIncorrect

Numbers up to nine should normally be spelled out in full, with the exception of academic years and levels.

There are five modules.
Year 1
Level 3

There are 5 modules.
Year one
Level three

Numbers from 10 to 999,999 should use figures.

You need to climb 34 flights of stairs. You need to climb thirty-four flights of stairs.

Ordinal numbers should be expressed as words.

You were in first place.
It's on the eleventh floor,

Your were in 1st place.
It's on the 11th floor.
Figures should be used for statistics, money, weight, measurements and ages. You will receive either £75.50 or £92. You will receive seventy-five pounds and fifty pence or ninety-two pounds.

Do not use figures to start a sentence. Write out the words or, better still, rearrange the sentence.

Hyphenate compound numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine.

Eighty-nine types of shampoo were tested as part of the trial.
As part of the trial 89 types of shampoo were tested.

89 types of shampoo were tested as part of the trial.

"Per cent" should be written as two words in full except in diagrams and tables. 90 per cent 90%
In text four figure numbers should carry a comma. There were 4,285 students.

There were 4285 students.

Million should be written in full. 15 million

15m

Decimal points should be preceded by a digit. 0.345

.345

For currency, use either £ or p, but not both £3.50
56p

£3.50p

Spaces should normally appear between figures and abbreviated measurements. 5 mm 5mm
10 cm 10cm
3 fl oz 3fl oz
Do not use spaces for %, temperatures or times. 6%

6 %

30°F

30° F

50°C 50° C
9am 9 am
Phone numbers
 CorrectIncorrect
Always include the international dialling code. +44 (0)20 7133 2789 020 7133 2789 
Do not use hyphens in telephone numbers.   +44 (0)20 7133 2789 +44 (0)20-7133 2789
Use brackets only for clarification of alternative digits in international dialling codes. +44 (0)20 7133 2789  +44 (020) 7133 2789
Qualifications
 CorrectIncorrect
Titles and qualifications should not carry full stops or spaces within them. Where qualifications appear after a name, they should be separated by a space but no comma. BA B.A.
BSc BSc.
BSc (Hons) BSc Hons
PhD PHD
PGCert Pg Cert.
PGDip Pg Dip.
Mr MR
Ms Ms.
Prof PROF.
Esq ESQ
Quotation marks
 CorrectIncorrect
When expressing a direct quote (repetition of the exact words used by a person) use double quote marks, not single. He said: “We are doing all we can.”

He said: ‘We are doing all we can.’

Avoid using inverted commas. We will consider unconventional applications.

We will consider 'unconventional' applications.

School names
 CorrectIncorrect

The names of the academic schools can be found with the details of our sub-brands. Please use these names in full, do not use abbreviations (SSS, GSBL etc). If the school has a shortened name, eg The Cass, please use the full school name in the first instance and then the shortened version thereafter. For more information, please see the "Abbreviations and acronyms" section.

Note capitalisation, and also refer to the section titled "London Metropolitan University and its constituent parts".

Guildhall School of Business and Law Guildhall Business and Law, GSBL, London Guildhall School of Business and Law
School of Computing and Digital Media SCDM
School of Human Sciences SHS
School of Social Sciences SSS
School of Social Professions SSP
The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, or The Cass the Cass, the CASS
When referring to a non-specific school do not capitalise the first letter. Only capitalise when you are referring to a specific school. London Met has four schools. London Met has four Schools.
The School has scored highly in the latest Research Assessment Exercise The school has scored highly in the latest Research Assessment Exercise
Students and graduates
 CorrectIncorrect

We often use terms such as international, study abroad or postgraduate to describe our students. These are nouns and do not require capitalisation. Please follow the guidelines below:

  • postgraduate
  • undergraduate
  • study abroad
  • international
  • home
  • EU
  • alumna (singular, female)
  • alumnus (singular, male)
  • alumni (plural)
Study a postgraduate course from this September.

Study a Postgraduate course from this September.

Web links (URLs / URIs)
 CorrectIncorrect
Keep web address hyperlinks as a single entity wherever possible. If it's unavoidable to break them across rows, break after the forward slash and never insert hyphenation to reflect a break as the hyperlink will malfunction. londonmet.ac.uk/
international

londonmet.ac.uk/inte-
rnational

Do not include "http://" in web addresses. Exclude the "www" from a web address unless the URL will not function without it. londonmet.ac.uk/opendays http://londonmet.ac.uk/opendays

Online, URLs should be embedded as hyperlinks rather then spelled out in full.

Make the hyperlinked text the subject of the link itself, and avoid "read more" or "click here" links.

Attend our next open day. Attend our next open day: http://londonmet.ac.uk/events