ASU Brand Guide - Elements of the Brand
Elements of the ASU brand


This section is included as a reminder of issues that tend to cause confusion. It includes ASU exceptions to AP style.

Text styles

  • Bold: Use sparingly in copy. 
    • In limited amounts, boldface can help readers quickly scan long format copy for key information.
  • Bulleted lists: See Lists.
  • Underline: Only use to indicate a link. See Links and URLs below.
  • Italics: Do not use. 
    • Italics create readability issues for readers with visual difficulties, dyslexia or migraine disorders.
  • Subscript: Avoid using subscript letters. Exception: On second reference, abbreviate carbon dioxide as CO2.

    • ✅ Do: The research team designed a new method for reducing CO2 in the atmosphere.

  • Superscript: Avoid using superscript letters, such as with numerals and ordinals, because this treatment may not always display correctly. Use the same size type as the numeral:
    • ✅ Do: 21st century, 🚫 Don't: 21st century.
    • ✅ Do: 10th floor, 🚫 Don't: 10th floor.

      Exception: Trademark symbols are always superscript in text (e.g., Sun Devil® Athletics, Go Devils™).

      Note: Superscript ordinals are the default in Microsoft Word. Learn how to disable this default option.

      See Numerals for guidelines when using ordinals.
  • See Titles for composition and publication formatting standards.
  • See Fonts and typography for body copy styling tips.


See Addresses and U.S. states.


Email addresses

  • In text, all lowercase: 
    • Email programs do not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase, so there is no need to confuse the reader with them.
  • Avoid splitting email addresses between two lines.
  • Do not capitalize or hyphenate the word email. See Word list

Email signatures

  • Use the standardized ASU email signature in your correspondence, maintaining its professional appearance by not personalizing or altering it. 
  • Out of courtesy to your readers, don't add graphics to your signature, as these appear to smartphone users as attachments that must be downloaded. 
  • Use ASU's official signature generator.


  • All expressions of headlines should be in sentence case — the first letter is capitalized, as are all proper names and nouns. Exception: The first word after a colon is always uppercase in headlines:
    • ✅ Do: ASU journalism programs hailed by New York Times
    • ✅ Do: Beta blockers may halt cancer
    • ✅ Do: BT suffers broadband failure: Small businesses are affected the most
  • Use figures for all numbers, including those less than 10:
    • ✅ Do: 9 ASU students win competitive scholarship
    • 🚫 Don't: Nine ASU students win competitive scholarship
  • Do not use punctuation, even at the end of a sentence, unless needed for clarity.
  • If quotation marks are needed, use single quote marks.
    • ✅ Do: Is texting the language of the future? ASU linguists say ‘yes’
  • Do not use periods in abbreviations unless needed for clarity.
    • ✅ Do: Wall St protests gain steam
    • ✅ Do: ASU is the most innovative university in the US

See Fonts and typography for headline styling tips.

Links and URLs

Whether in copy or a link on a webpage, in a presentation, in a Word or Google document or in print, links and URLs should be ASU Maroon and underlined.

In copy

  • All lowercase in text — URLs are not case-sensitive. 
  • Do not include https:// and www
    • ✅ Do:
    • 🚫 Don't:
    • 🚫 Don't:
    • 🚫 Don't:
    • 🚫 Don't:

      Exception: Web addresses in the ASU Academic Catalog must include prefixes.
  • If a URL is long or complicated enough to be confusing, consider creating an alias shorter than the full URL.
  • If a web address requires two lines, make the split after a symbol.
  • If a URL ends a sentence, use a period but do not hyperlink the period.


See Search Engine OptimizationUser experience design (UX).

Phone numbers

See Numerals.

Photo captions

  • Use complete sentences that explain the activity or subject.
  • Supply information the picture cannot.
    • ✅ Do: The basketball player’s free-throw shot pictured was for the game’s winning point.
    • 🚫 Don't: ASU basketball player.


See Punctuation and symbols.

Social media

  • Do not include the word hashtag or account.
    • ✅ Do: Use #FutureSunDevils, 🚫 Don't: Use hashtag #FutureSunDevils
    • ✅ Do: Follow FutureSunDevils on Twitter, 🚫 Don't: Follow our Twitter account @FutureSunDevils
  • Do not include symbols for accounts, they’re not necessary.
    • ✅ Do: Facebook page: FutureSunDevils, 🚫 Don't: Facebook page: /FutureSunDevils
    • ✅ Do: Twitter account: FutureSunDevils, 🚫 Don't: Twitter account: @FutureSunDevils
    • ✅ Do: Instagram account: FutureSunDevils, 🚫 Don't: Instagram account: @FutureSunDevils


See Times, days, months, seasons, years.

Web links and addresses

See Links and URLs above.