Communications Toolkit

Editorial Style

There is an art and a science to developing good content. Consider this the sciencey part.

Remember when you learned how to use a semi-colon? We do! We’re kind of obsessed with it.

It’s OK if you’re not as pumped about writing styles and grammar as the communications team. We like it so much, we’re happy to proof read your writing. Like, really happy. Because no one wants to be told the left a participle dangling. Then you have to walk around pretending like you know what that even means.

Rules and Guidelines

Chicago style

We like your style, but when it comes to writing, MICA uses Chicago style for all publications and stories.

House style

Academic Program Names

Academic programs should always be identified by their full title in the first mention, when appropriate, a shortened version can be used in subsequent mentions.

For instance, the LeRoy E. Hoffberger School Painting MFA should be noted in full, followed by the Hoffberger School or Hoffberger afterward.

If only mentioned once, use the full academic title.

Other programs should always be identified by their full titles and should be identified by degree type, e.g. BFA in Game Design, Graphic Design BFA, MFA in Community Arts, etc.

Full list of undergraduate BFA programs:
•  Animation
•  Architectural Design
•  Art History, Theory, and Criticism
•  Ceramics
•  Drawing
•  Fiber
•  Film and Video
•  Game Design
•  General Fine Arts
•  Graphic Design
•  Humanistic Studies
•  Illustration
•  Interactive Arts
•  Interdisciplinary Sculpture
•  Painting
•  Photography
•  Printmaking
•  Product Design

Full list of graduate programs (acceptable second reference in parenthesis):
•  Art Education MA
•  Business of Art and Design MA (BAD)
•  Community Arts MFA
•  Curatorial Practice MFA
•  Design Leadership MBA/MA
•  Filmmaking MFA
•  Graphic Design MFA
•  Graphic Design MA
•  Illustration Practice MFA
•  Illustration MA
•  Information Visualization MA
•  LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting MFA (Hoffberger)
•  Mount Royal School of Art MFA (Mount Royal)
•  Photographic & Electronic Media MFA (PEM)
•  Rinehart School of Sculpture MFA (Rinehart)
•  Social Design MA
•  Studio Art MFA
•  Teaching MAT
•  UX Design MA

Administrative Office Names

Administrative divisions, departments and offices should be capitalized and identified by their full title, e.g. Division of Strategic Communications, Office of the President and Department of Exhibitions.

Full list of administrative divisions/departments/offices, (acceptable second reference in parenthesis):
•  Academic Affairs
•  Center for Identity and Inclusion
•  Center for Student Engagement (CSE)
•  Decker Library (Decker)
•  Department of Campus Safety (Campus Safety)
•  Department of Exhibitions (Exhibitions)
•  Department of Technology Systems & Services (TSS)
•  Division of Advancement (Advancement)
•  Division of Strategic Communications (Communications)
•  Division of Student Affairs (Student Affairs)
•  Human Resources (HR)
•  Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development (Career Center or JMCCD)
•  Learning Resource Center (LRC)
•  Office of Alumni & Parent Relations (Alumni Relations or Parent Relations)
•  Office of Enrollment Services (Enrollment Services)
•  Office of Graduate Admission (Grad Admission)
•  Office of Graduate Studies (Grad Studies)
•  Office of International Education
•  Office of Research (Research)
•  Office of the President
•  Office of Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid (Admission)
•  Student Accounts


Alumni Citations

MICA alumni are identified with their graduation year followed by a parenthetical including their program of study and degree type:
•  Jane Doe ’17 (LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting MFA)
•  John Doe ’16 (Animation BFA)
•  Jane Doe ’15 (Social Design MA)


Dates and Times

Dates and times should be written in order of day of the week, date, and time, as follows:
•  Friday, Sept. 22, 6 pm OR Tuesday, July 17, 4:30 pm.
•  When proceeded by a month, never use an ordinal (first, second, 25th) for the date.
•  When used in a complete sentence, months should be written in full.
•  In headers or other notes, months may be abbreviated as: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. March, April, May, June, and July should not be abbreviated.
•  Midnight is preferred to 12 am; noon is preferred to 12 pm. The redundant constructions "12 noon" or "12 midnight" should never be used.



When referring to a general type of degree, use lowercase:
bachelor’s degree
master’s degree
doctoral degree

Capitalize specific degree types and acronyms:
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Master of Arts (MA)



MICA uses the term “faculty member” rather than professor, instructor, or teacher.

Undergraduate programs have chairs, e.g. Allan Comport, BFA in Illustration chair.

Graduate programs have directors, e.g. Luca Buvoli, director of the Mount Royal School of Art MFA.



Livestream as one word is preferred to live stream or live-stream.


Locations and Building Names/Addresses

•  MICA’s primary address is 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave., which is the address for Main Building.
•  Compass points should be abbreviated in addresses.
•  Use the abbreviations for Ave., Blvd. and St. only with a numbered address: 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave.
•  Similar terms (road, circle, lane, alley, etc.) should always be written out and capitalized when used in an address.
•  Do not use superscript for numbered streets, e.g. 42nd St. should be 42nd St.

Full list of MICA buildings and addresses (acceptable second reference in parenthesis):
•  Annex Building (Annex)
116-118 W Lanvale St.
•  Main Building (Main)
1300 W. Mount Royal Ave.
•  Brown Center (Brown)
1301 W. Mount Royal Ave.
•  Fox Building (Fox)
1303 W. Mount Royal Ave.
•  Bunting Center (Bunting)
1401 W. Mount Royal Ave.
•  Dolphin Design Center (Dolphin)
100 Dolphin St.
•  Fred Lazarus IV Center for Graduate Studies (Lazarus)
131 W. North Ave.
•  Mt. Royal Station Building (Station)
1400 Cathedral St.
•  The Gateway (Gateway)
1601 W. Mount Royal Ave.
•  81 Mosher
81 Mosher St.
•  Art Tech Center (ArtTech)
1208 W. Mount Royal Ave.
•  MICA Place
814 N. Collington Ave.
•  15/15 Building (15/15)
1515 W. Mount Royal Ave.
•  MICA Store and Wellness Center
1501 W. Mount Royal Ave.



For specific punctuation, grammar, and usage questions, consult a copy of the latest Chicago Manual of Style. Here are a few of the most commons questions about punctuation.

Commas and semicolons
MICA uses the serial comma—also known as the Oxford comma—before a conjunction when listing items in a sequence. For instance, “I bought milk, eggs, and bread.”

In a sequence of listed items that is separated by semicolons, a semicolon should be used before the final and in the series. For instance, “I have lived in Springfield, Worcester, and Boston in Massachusetts; Providence and Warwick in Rhode Island; and Albany, Rochester, and Utica in New York.”

Em and en dashes
Em dashes are in running text. En dashes are used in ranges of time (e.g. Monday–Friday). There should be no space between the dash and the proceeding or following words.

Use only one space between a period and the start of a new sentence.



MICA students should be referred to by their projected year of graduation.

When possible, identify students by their program of study, e.g. “Jane Doe ’20 (Painting BFA) was awarded a scholarship.”



Titles of creative works should be italicized, e.g. Starry Night

Titles of collective works such as anthologies, magazines, newspapers, exhibitions, etc. should be capitalized and italicized.

Titles of articles and other pieces of larger works should be capitalized and set in quotation marks.

Consult the Chicago Manual of Style for specific examples.


Web Addresses

When including a web address in running text, it should be written without “https://” or “www.”

For instance, “Visit for more information.”


Inclusive language

MICA strives to be an inclusive community that is open to all individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, size, veteran status, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. 

MICA has core values of diversity, community and respect. We value and appreciate the differences that our community represents. Our inclusive language policies reflect the diversity of our community and establish guidelines for representing the many voices at MICA.


Gender, Sex and Sexuality

Gender is an individual’s internal sense of feeling like a woman, man, both, or neither. Sex comprises biological and physiological characteristics, including reproductive organs, and hormones. Sex is assigned at birth and is not synonymous with gender.

Use gay or lesbian when describing people who are attracted to members of the same sex. People who identify as transgender have a gender identity or expression that differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. 

People who identify as gender nonconforming have a gender identity or expression that does not conform to the traditional gender binary.


Personal Pronouns

MICA respects a person’s chosen personal pronoun. Some people identify as he, she or they. Some identify as male, female, both or neither.

When writing about non-specific persons, use the plural whenever possible to avoid using the generic he, she, or he-or-she constructions. This avoids excluding nonbinary individuals while keeping the grammar sticklers happy.*

Pronoun examples:
•  they, them, their, themself
•  Ze, hir, hirs, hirself
•  she, her, hers, herself
•  he, him, his, himself

*Fun fact: grammar sticklers are never happy.



LGBTQIA is the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual. 


Gender-Inclusive Titles or Terms

Avoid using gendered terminology, opting instead for gender-inclusive titles and terms, such as:
•  Anchor not anchorman
•  Artificial not manmade
•  Astronaut not spaceman
•  Business executive not businessman
•  Camera operator not cameraman
•  Chair not chairman
•  Fire fighter not fireman
•  Guard or staff not man (verb)
•  Humanity not mankind
•  Layperson not layman
•  Police officer not policeman
•  Spokesperson not spokesman
•  Workforce not manpower



Style questions? Contact us at