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

ASU word list

This section provides clarification of words and phrases used in ASU communications. It includes exceptions to AP Style. This list is a living document that will be of greater benefit with your contributions. If there is a word or phrase you see frequently misused, or that you frequently look up, please share your insights.

24/7 Use 24/7 to describe 24 hours a day and seven days a week. 
3D 3D has no hyphen


  • 🚫 Don’t: 3-D 
Note that a numeral-and-letter combination, such as “3D,” may start a sentence:
  • ✅ Do: 3D metal printing seminars are scheduled in July.
See NumeralsAbbreviations and acronyms.
A New American University™ See Trademarks and licensing, ASU boilerplate text.
“A” Mountain This becomes ‘A’ Mountain in a headline.
academic concentrations, programs See Academic programs, degrees, courses and testsAbbreviations and acronymsCapitalization.
academic degrees See Academic programs, degrees, courses and testsAbbreviations and acronymsCapitalization.
academic titles See Titles.
adidas Always lowercase, even at the beginning of a sentence.
admission, Admission Singular in all references to academic admission.
  • 🚫 Don’t: admissions. 
The names of the ASU offices are Admission ServicesGraduate Admission Services and International Admission Services.
  • ✅ Do: John completed the steps for admission to ASU.
  • ✅ Do: The admission office assists prospective students with the admission process.
advisor ✅ Do: advisor.

🚫 Don't: adviser.
AI See Abbreviations and acronyms.
alumni, alum, alumna, alumnae, alumnus
  • Alumni — plural, gender neutral. Use alumni for mixed-gender groups.
  • Alum — It is acceptable to use alum instead of alumnus or alumna when the gender of the subject is unknown, to be more inclusive, or both.
  • Alumna — female who has earned a degree.
  • Alumnae — feminine plural. 
  • Alumnus — male who has earned a degree.
a.m., p.m. See Times, days, months, seasons, years.
amid ✅ Do: amid

🚫 Don't: amidst
among ✅ Do: among

🚫 Don't: amongst
  • Not acceptable to indicate alternatives.
  • Rewrite the statement using more precise phrasing.
See Punctuation and symbolsAcademic programs, degrees, courses and testsAbbreviations and acronyms.
antifragile One word. No hyphen.
approximately Use about, which is shorter and synonymous.
AR Augmented reality. AR may be used in subsequent references to augmented reality. See Abbreviations and acronyms.
Arizona State University® See also, ASU. See Trademarks and licensing
associate degree

Do not use an apostrophe-s. This is a variance with bachelor’s degree, master’s degree.


  • 🚫 Don't: associate’s degree

See Academic programs, degrees, courses and testsAbbreviations and acronyms.


ASU See Abbreviations and acronyms.
ASU (in translation) When translating university documents into languages other than English, Arizona State University and ASU remain in English.
ASU® See Trademarks and licensing.
ASU Thrive magazine Refer to full name. 
  • ✅ Do: ASU Thrive magazine
  • 🚫 Don't: Thrive magazine
ASU Universal Learning® See Trademarks and licensing.
ASURE See Abbreviations and acronyms.
ASURITE See Abbreviations and acronyms.
a total of Superfluous in most instances.
  • ✅ Do: Department expenditures reached $1 million last year.
  • 🚫 Don't: Department expenditures reached a total of $1 million last year.
backward ✅ Do: backward

🚫 Don’t: backwards
Barrett, The Honors College See ASU locations, campuses, buildings and units.
bio-inspired Use hyphen. See Punctuation and symbols.

Capitalize, per AP Stylebook.

Black as an adjective in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense: Black peopleBlack cultureBlack literatureBlack studiesBlack collegesAfrican American is acceptable for an American Black person of African descent.


See Inclusion guidelines.

boilerplate See ASU boilerplate text.
bootcamp Use one word. (AP style variance)
both Superfluous in most instances.
  • ✅ Do: This trait is common to cats and dogs.
  • 🚫 Don't: This trait is common to both cats and dogs.
building codes See Abbreviations and acronyms.
campus Do not capitalize. See Abbreviations and acronymsASU boilerplate text.
campus descriptions See Abbreviations and acronymsASU boilerplate text
cents See Numerals.
CEO See Titles.
changemaker, changemaking No hyphen. See Punctuation and symbols.
Changemaker Central Title case. A community of students who are leading social change locally and globally.
check-in (n. and adj.), check in (v.) See Punctuation and symbols.
checkout (n. and adj.), check out (v.)
check sheet Two words.
city of Tempe, city of Phoenix City is not capitalized. See Capitalization.

Capitalize class when referring to a group of students or alumni who share the same graduation year.


  • ✅ Do: Class of 2023.


climate change

Not global warming, which is just one aspect of climate change.

Climate change encompasses global warming. The terms are not interchangeable.

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns and is the correct term to use in the broader sense.

co- See Punctuation and symbols.
colleges See ASU locations, campuses, buildings and units.
commencement Only capitalize when used as an event title:
  • ✅ Do: 2022 Spring Commencement is an exciting event for the whole family.
  • ✅ Do: He attended commencement ceremonies.
  • ✅ Do: This year, the fall commencement featured more speakers.
company names See Company names.
composition titles See Titles.
compound modifiers See Punctuation and symbols.
convocation College and cultural convocations are a time for smaller groups to gather and celebrate students’ graduation. At these events, a student’s name is called and they will cross the stage to receive congratulations. These events are separate from the main graduation ceremony, which is referred to as commencement.

See also, commencement.
cost Do not mention cost when referring to ASU programs, or position them as free. See Language and tone.
course titles Capitalize official course titles, but not generic references:
  • ✅ Do: The department will offer applied computer science next semester.
  • ✅ Do: Calculus 101.
coursework This is another way of saying "Her courses in college were challenging." Like "coursework," "classwork" is a single word.
COVID-19 Instead of COVID unless part of a quotation or proper name.
credit hours This is the preferred term.

🚫 Don't: semester hours.
critical requirements Do not capitalize. See Capitalization.
curriculum vitae (s.), curricula vitae (pl.)
cutting edge (n.), cutting-edge (adj.) Considered trite. Avoid if possible. See also leading edge.
dates See Times, days, months, seasons, years.
days See Times, days, months, seasons, years.
decision-makersdecision-making Hyphenate in all uses. See Punctuation and symbols.
departments See Abbreviations and acronymsCapitalization.
Devils™ See Trademarks and licensing.
Devil2Devil ASU-only social network for incoming students.
discounts Do not mention discounts when referring to ASU programs, but it is acceptable to advertise scholarships. See Language and tone.
Dr.  See Titles.
eAdvisor™ Do not capitalize the first letter, even at the beginning of a sentence. Include the superscript trademark symbol on first reference. Subsequent references do not require it. (Exception: The trademark symbol is not allowed on the eAdvisor platform, so it is not used on any reference in copy for the ASU academic catalog.)
  • ✅ Do: Academic progress reports are sent through eAdvisor™.
  • ✅ Do: eAdvisor™ is a new tool to help ASU students succeed.
Note: Microsoft Word creates the superscript™ automatically when those letters are entered without a space between.
eCheck, ePacket

Do not capitalize the first letter even at the beginning of a sentence: 


  • ✅ Do: eChecks are ASU's preferred payment method. 

See Capitalization.

e.g., It means for example. Periods and comma required.
See Punctuation and symbols.
Eight, Arizona PBS No comma after PBS within a sentence.
email Not hyphenated. Capitalized only at the beginning of a sentence. Use a hyphen with other e-terms: e-book, e-business, e-commerce, e-newsletter, e-reader.
emeritus, emeriti (pl.) See Titles.
English as a second language See Abbreviations and acronyms.
English for Speakers of Other Languages and ESOL Spell out on first reference; use the initialism thereafter. 
  • 🚫 Don't: English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).
See Academic programs, degrees, courses and tests.
  • People are entitled to their opinions. 
  • Books and nobility are titled.
faculty (n., pl.) Collective noun. For singular reference, use faculty membermember of the faculty.
  • ✅ Do: The professor recently joined the ASU faculty.
  • ✅ Do: ASU has three Nobel laureate faculty members.
  • ✅ Do: The school’s faculty are expected to hold office hours each week.
FAFSA See Abbreviations and acronyms.
fall, autumn Not capitalized unless it is part of a proper noun. See Times, days, months, seasons, years.
FAQ See Abbreviations and acronyms.
Fear the fork® See Trademarks and licensing.
Federal Work-Study Capitalize and hyphenate. See Capitalization, Punctuation and symbols.
First-year student

Use first-year student(s) instead of freshman or freshmen since it’s gender-neutral and more inclusive.

See Language and tone, Inclusion guidelines, Punctuation and symbols.

flyer, flier
  • flyer is an aviator or a handbill. 
  • Use flier in the phrase take a flier, meaning to take a big risk.
formal titles See Titles.
foreword Introduction to a book. 
  • 🚫 Don't: forword 
  • 🚫 Don't: forward
Fork ’em See Trademarks and licensing.
Fork ’em Devils See Trademarks and licensing.
Forks up® See Trademarks and licensing.
forward (adj.) ✅ Do: forward

🚫 Don't: forwards
Foundation Professor See Academic titles.
free Avoid using this word when referring to ASU programs. See Language and tone.
freshman (n., singular; adj.), freshmen (n., pl.) Use first-year student(s) instead of freshman or freshmen. See also, First-year student.
front line (n.), front-line (adj.) 

See Punctuation and symbols.
Fulbright There are two types of Fulbright programs at ASU. 
  • Fulbright Scholars are faculty members, scholars and professionals. 
  • Fulbright student awards allow students to study abroad. It is not correct to refer to these students as Fulbright Scholars. Fulbright Student Award winners is a more accurate collective term.
full time (adj.), full-time Hyphenate only when used as a compound modifier.
  • ✅ Do: Doctoral students are required to commit full time to the program.
  • ✅ Do: He has a full-time job.
See Punctuation and symbols.
  • Refers to a Gameday celebration.
  • Capitalize and use one word. 
game watching Use two words.
global warming See also, climate change.
Go Devils See Trademarks and licensing.
  • Uppercase, without periods in all references including first reference.
  • Include two decimal places: 2.00 GPA.
 See Punctuation and symbols, Numerals.
grades Place the letter between quotation marks, with its grade point value in parentheses: “A” (4.00)
  • This is an exception to not using quotation marks to call attention to words or letters. 
See Punctuation and symbols.
halftime One word in sports copy. half-time (adj.), half time (n.)
health care Two words.
headlines See Language and tone.
his/hers/hehis or her Do not use these practices to indicate alternatives. Rewrite the statement using more precise writings. 

See Inclusion guidelinesPunctuation and symbols.
historic, historical Precede with the article a, not an. (Note: A historic event is one that stands out in history; any occurrence in the past is a historical event.)
homeless people, people without housing, people without homes ✅ Do: homeless people, people without housing, people without homes

🚫 Don't: the homeless.
homepage One word.
honors thesis No apostrophe.

It means that is. It is followed by a comma.

See Punctuation and symbols.

Indigenous Capitalize.
InfernoFest One word. Capitalize "Inferno" and "Fest."
initialism See Abbreviations and acronyms.
institutes See Abbreviations and acronymsCapitalization.
interdisciplinary Connotes cooperation between disciplines. Use transdisciplinary to connote transcending the boundaries of disciplines.
iPOS, POS See Abbreviations and acronyms.
international visas Visa types should be hyphenated, such as J-1. Refer to relevant .gov websites for capitalization and punctuation of other immigration and international student-related terms.
internet Always lowercase.
It’s Time™ See Trademarks and licensing.
leading edge (n.), leading-edge (adj.) Considered trite. Avoid if possible. See also, cutting edge.
Learn to thrive® The endorsed and only tag line of the ASU brand. Presented in sentence case, no punctuation as a headline or when used as a graphic element. See Trademarks and licensingTag line.
Links  See Formatting.
living and learning communityliving-learning Not capitalized.

See Punctuation and symbols.
lock down (v.), lockdown (n., adj.)
  • ✅ Do: When the mayor declared it was necessary to lock down the city, the citizens protested.
  • ✅ Do: The lockdown was lifted by the government.
loginlogonlogoff (n.), one word. log inlog onlog off (v.), two words.
  • ✅ Do: I forgot my login sequence.
  • ✅ Do: Please log off when you are finished.
  • ✅ Do: Your login ID and password are required.
lower division (n.), lower-division (adj.) Hyphenate when used as a compound adjective.
major maps Two words. Not capitalized.
majors See Capitalization.
Mayo Clinic Do not use the before Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic and ASU Alliance for Health Care

Do not use a hyphen. Health Care is two words:

  • 🚫 Don't: Mayo-ASU Alliance
  • 🚫 Don't: HealthCare
me3 A mobile app for eAdvisor. Do not capitalize, even to begin a sentence.
  • ✅ Do: Students use me3 to explore college degree programs that align with their interests, which helps them plan the courses to take that will best prepare them for success at the university.
  • ✅ Do: me3 is an online tool that can help middle and high school students prepare for college.
midnight See Times, days, months, seasons, years.
more than
  • Use more than or greater than in numeric references. 
  • Use over in spatial relationships. (AP Stylebook variance)
  • ✅ Do: There are more than 500 students attending the event.
  • ✅ Do: The plane flew over the city.
Mountain America Stadium

Formerly known as Sun Devil Stadium, the venue has been renamed Mountain America Stadium, Home of the Sun Devils


  • ✅ Do: On all references, use Mountain America Stadium
My ASU Two words. See also, ASURITE. See Abbreviations and acronyms.
multidisciplinary Connotes cooperation between disciplines. Use transdisciplinary to connote transcending the boundaries of disciplines.
NASA See Abbreviations and acronyms.
New American University This term may be preceded by athe or this. The article is capitalized only to begin a sentence or when the phrase stands alone:
  • ✅ Do: A New American University.
  • ✅ Do: ASU is a New American University.
See Language and tone.
New American University Scholars See also, scholarships.
Nobel laureate
  • A person who has been awarded a Nobel Prize. 
  • Also a Nobel Prize winner.
non- See Punctuation and symbols.
  • ✅ Do: nondegree-seeking student
  • 🚫 Don't: non-degree seeking, non-degree-seeking
  • Midday, specifically 12 o’clock at midday. 
  • Use instead of 12 p.m. in text. 
  • In tables, event announcements and invitations, 12 p.m. is acceptable. 
  • Avoid redundancy.
    • 🚫 Don't: 12 noon.
o’clock See Times, days, months, seasons, years.
Off track Students who do not meet critical requirements are notified they are off track.
  • Off-track status is displayed on My ASU student pages.
See Punctuation and symbols.
older adult, older adults, older person, older people ✅ Do: older adult, older adults, older person, older people is preferred for general phrases that do not refer to specific individuals.

🚫 Don't: senior citizens, seniors or elderly.
online One word. No hyphen.
  • The title of the new-student event for first-year students is ASU New Student Orientation
  • Other orientation programs at the university are capitalized only in their full titles. 
  • Use lowercase for orientation in subsequent references.
  • Refers to spatial relationships. 
  • Use more than or greater than in numeric references. (AP Stylebook variance)
  • ✅ Do: The plane flew over the city.
  • ✅ Do: Their salaries went up more than $20 a week.
PDF See Abbreviations and acronyms.
Pac-12 The athletic conference should be referred to as:
  • ✅ Do: Pac-12 or Pac-12 Conference
  • 🚫 Don't: Pacific-12 ConferencePAC-12 Conference.
Lowercase a and c unless the entire name is uppercase: PAC-12 CONFERENCE.
part time (n.), part-time 

(adj.) Hyphenate only when used as a compound modifier.
  • ✅ Do: Students working part time may prefer evening programs.
  • ✅ Do: That is a part-time position.
See Punctuation and symbols.

One word. Lowercase except when used to describe Sun Devil Rewards Pitchforks used to redeem merchandise and event tickets.

  • ✅ Do: The crowd cheered when Sparky raised his pitchfork.
  • ✅ Do: Using her Sun Devil Rewards account, she redeemed Pitchforks for tickets to the show.
p.m.a.m. Lowercase with periods and a space following the number: 
  • ✅ Do: 10:15 a.m.
  • Avoid redundancy.
    • 🚫 Don't: 10 p.m. tonight. 
See Times, days, months, seasons, years.
policymakerpolicymaking One word. No hyphen.

See Punctuation and symbols.
Polytechnic Polytechnic campus is not synonymous with The Polytechnic School which is one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, though that school is located on the Polytechnic campus.

See ASU boilerplate text.
POSiPOS See Abbreviations and acronyms.
post- See Punctuation and symbols.
pre- See Punctuation and symbols.
President’s Professor See Titles.
price Do not mention price or cost when referring to ASU programs, or position them as free.

See Language and tone. See also, free
problem-solving Use hyphen.

See Punctuation and symbols.
professor See Titles.
professor of practice See Titles.
P.S. See Abbreviations and acronyms.
re- See Punctuation and symbols.
Regents Professor See Titles.
Registered trademark symbol ® See Punctuation and symbols, Trademarks and licensing.
renown, renowned
  • Renown means fame. 
  • Renowned means famous.
requester  ✅ Do: requester, per AP style.

🚫 Don't: requestor.
residential college, Residential College A residential college is a division of a university that places academic activity in a community setting of students and faculty, usually at a residence and with shared meals, the college having a degree of autonomy and a federated relationship with the overall university.

Lowercase for general reference. Capitalize as part of an official university name. 

See Capitalization.
residential community Use this phrase when referring to a group of people living in a residential hall.
resume For the career document, not résumé.
RSVP See Abbreviations and acronyms.
says (rather than said) 

When quoting, put a speaker’s words in present tense (AP style variance for ASU branding) when there is not a precise time element in the sentence to express a sense of ongoing present.

If a quote or reference is date- or time-specific, use past tense.
scholarships Most ASU merit-based awards are part of the New American University Scholarship and Financial Assistance program.

See also, New American University Scholars.

Refer to the ASU scholarship site for the current list of awards.
SDG See  Abbreviations and acronyms.
semester hours Preferred term is credit hours.
Sky Harbor International Airport
  • Use the complete name in the first instance.
  • Subsequent mentions: Phoenix Sky HarborSky Harbor.
Skysong Innovations® See Trademarks and licensing.
SkySong®, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center  See Trademarks and licensing.
spring See Times, days, months, seasons, years.
smartphone One word, lowercase.
smartwatch One word, lowercase.
Social Security Capitalized. When referring to the number, “number” is not capitalized: Social Security number.
startup One word (n. and adj.) to describe a new business venture. 

An exception to Webster's New World College Dictionary preference.
state of Arizona State is not capitalized.
statewide No hyphen.
summer See Times, days, months, seasons, years.
Sun Devil® See Trademarks and licensing and Sun Devil Athletics spellings and abbreviations.
Sun Devils® See Trademarks and licensing and Sun Devil Athletics spellings and abbreviations.
Sun Devil Stadium

The venue has been renamed Mountain America Stadium, Home of the Sun Devils



  • ✅ Do: On all references, use Mountain America Stadium

Transfer Admission Guarantee. Spell out on first reference; abbreviate in subsequent references. Do not show the acronym in parentheses after the first reference.


See Abbreviations and acronyms.

tag line The name of the branding tool is two words.
TGen On first reference, use Translational Genomics Research Institute.
The Mayo Clinic Do not use the before Mayo Clinic. See also, Mayo Clinic.
theater Use this spelling unless part of a proper name containing the word “Theatre.”
Thunderbird® See Trademarks and licensing.
temperature See Numerals.
time See Times, days, months, seasons, years.
titled, entitled
  • People are entitled to their opinions.
  • Books and nobility are titled.
top 10 list
  • No hyphen. 
  • Capitalize this in a formal name; lowercase in casual reference. 
  • Follow the spelling rules for numerals.
  • ✅ Do: The Top 100 Graduate Degree Producers.
  • ✅ Do: Finished in the top 10. 
See NumeralsPunctuation and symbols.
top tier (n.), top-tier (adj.) See Punctuation and symbols.
toward ✅ Do: toward

🚫 Don't: towards
transdisciplinary Connotes transcending the boundaries of traditional disciplines.
Trademark symbol See Punctuation and symbols, Trademarks and licensing.
TTY See Abbreviations and acronyms.
  • Means “the only one of its kind,” and is commonly used incorrectly. 
  • Use with caution, or use the more broad — and usually more accurate — distinct.
  • Cannot be modified with an adjective. 
Universal Learner® See Trademarks and licensing.
Universal Learning See Trademarks and licensing.
university See Abbreviations and acronyms and Capitalization.
universitywide No hyphen.
upper-division (adj.), upper division (n.) Hyphenate when used as a compound adjective before a noun; no hyphen elsewhere in the sentence, with the individual words in normal order:
  • ✅ Do: upper-division coursework.
  • ✅ Do: course work in the upper division.
See Punctuation and symbols.
U.S., US

See Addresses and U.S. statesAbbreviations and acronyms.


See also, USA.

U.S. News & World Report Use periods, ampersand. See Company names, RankingsPunctuation and symbols.
USA No periods. See Abbreviations and acronymsPunctuation and symbols.
Valley of the Sunthe Valley Refers to metropolitan Phoenix. See Abbreviations and acronyms.
versus See Abbreviations and acronyms
VR Virtual reality. VR may be used in subsequent references to virtual reality. See Abbreviations and acronyms
virus’s (pl.) The singular possessive form of virus. 
  • ✅ Do: virus’s
  • 🚫 Don't: virus’
WashingtonWashington, D.C.
  • The nation’s capital is not abbreviated. 
  • Use state of Washington or Washington state and Washington, D.C., or District of Columbia when context requires distinction between the state and the federal district. 
See Addresses and U.S. states.
web (n.) Short form of World Wide Web. Do not capitalize.
webcam, webcast, webform, webinar, webisode, webmaster, webpage, website (n.) Web-related nouns are single, lowercase words.

Exceptions: Web address, Web feed, Web host, Web style.
Web feed, web hosting (v.) Web-related verbs are capitalized and shown as two words.
well-being Use hyphen.
well-known Use hyphen.
“Whitewashing the ‘A’” Use Echo from the Buttes. See Inclusion guidelines.
winter (season) 

Use lowercase unless it is part of a proper noun. See Times, days, months, seasons, years.
workbook, workday, workforce, workhorse, workout, workplace, workstation, workweek One word as a noun.
world-class Hyphenated compound adjective. Considered trite and vague. Avoid if possible. See Punctuation and symbols.
world-renowned Means “known to the entire world.” Use carefully. See Punctuation and symbols.
yearlong, yearslong One word as an adjective.
year-round (adj. and adv.) Use hyphen for both.