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CCS Editorial Guidelines

The Marketing & Communications Office is excited to share our style guide to help the entire CCS community become brand ambassadors. The following guide details the editorial styles that should be used.

This editorial style guide applies to all entities at the College for Creative Studies, including but not limited to academic departments, administrative offices, marketing, social media and the CCS website. For general editorial style issues not covered by this guide, please consult the most recent Associated Press Stylebook. 

Editorial – College Specific Guidelines

  • The correct and full designation of CCS is the College for Creative Studies (“the” not capitalized). CCS or the College is also acceptable after the first use of the full designation.
  • Avoid abbreviations: Jehuda Reinharz, who has a doctorate in modern Jewish history…
  • Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc.
  • There is no apostrophe in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science.
  • Use abbreviations such as B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. only when the need to identify many people by degree on the first reference would make the preferred method cumbersome; use the abbreviations only after a full name and set the abbreviations off with commas: Dorothee Kern, Ph.D., delivered a lecture on German Expressionism.

Spell out all acronyms and initialisms on the first reference with initials following in parentheses. Use the acronym or initialism on subsequent instances: The project was sponsored by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). The AIGA is the leading professional association for design.

Faculty, Staff, Students & Alumni
  • Capitalize the position title of faculty only when it precedes the person’s name or when it is taking the place of a proper noun: Associate Professor John Smith led the student group on a tour of the museum. The Chair went to Paris. (John Doe went to Paris.) John Smith, associate professor of English, led the student group.
  • Capitalize class cohort year only when referring to a particular, named student: Graphic Design Senior Jane Doe. The students, both of whom are freshmen, won an award.
  • Adjunct faculty should be referred to as Adjunct Instructors, which should be capitalized before the person’s name but not after.
  • The first reference to a person within a paragraph should include both first and last name. In the case of students, year (freshman, sophomore, etc.) should also be stated. Thereafter, the person may be referred to by last name.
  • When discussing alumni, use gender-specific designations only where appropriate and necessary: alumnus (male), alumna (female), alumni (plural, everyone), alum (gender-neutral, informal contexts).
  • Department titles should always be capitalized: Foundation, Fine Arts, Crafts, Product Design department, etc.
  • The word “Department” or “Office” should be capitalized only when it is taking the place of a proper noun: The Department won numerous prestigious awards.
  • Do not capitalize disciplines when used descriptively: Jane Doe’s graphic design project received an award from the AIGA.
  • Alumni graduate year and major, when not used descriptively in running text, should be formatted as: Jane Doe (’19, Transportation Design), John Smith (’20, Color and Materials Design).
Academic Courses
  • Do not italicize course titles or put quotation marks around them. Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters, and place a colon after the course code: DVC 200: Concepts and Methods of Visual Culture.
Non-Faculty Job Descriptions
  • Capitalize all corporate titles and functions: Jane Doe, President and CEO of XYZ Corporation, Director of Marketing.
Artistic Movements

Titles of art movements should be capitalized: Renaissance, Impressionism, Cubism, Conceptual Art, Relational Aesthetics.

Artwork Descriptions
  • For guidance on how to describe specific works of art, including dimensions and mediums, consult the Association of Art Editors (AAE) Style Guide.
Inclusive Language
  • Where possible, strive to use inclusive language. This is not an official policy or required practice. It does, however, reflect the College’s desire to create an inclusive and respectful community.
  • Use people-first language when possible (e.g., person/people with a disability vs. disabled; a transgender person vs. a transgender; person of color vs. colored or minority; Latino or Latinx vs. Hispanic, etc.) unless the person indicates another preference.
  • Never assume a person’s gender identity based solely on their name or their appearance – if you don’t know, use gender-inclusive pronouns or ask for their pronouns.
  • Use gender-inclusive language when speaking in generalities or about groups of people whose individual pronouns you do not know or can’t verify (e.g., everyone vs. ladies and gentlemen and they/them/theirs vs. he/him/his and she/her/hers).
  • Avoid referring to people using biological designations, such as male/female: man, woman, gender nonconforming, gender non-binary, etc.
Common CCS Terms and Usage

admissions counselor
Admissions Office
American Studio Glass Movement
application for admission
Blaauw kiln
Career Services Office
CCS Award
CCS Scholarship
Community Arts Partnerships program
CPAD (community+public arts: Detroit)
Drop/Add period
Fall semester
floor covering
Foley Stage
Foundation courses
Foundation department

Housing Office
Job Book
metro Detroit
mold making
mount room
non-matriculated student
Office of Admissions
Office of Financial Aid
Office of Student Life
pick-up warmers
Precollege and Continuing Studies
Resident Assistant (RA)
SmART Card

Student Success Center
30th Detroit International
Wine Auction
table top lighting
Tech Town
“The Stage” studio
tool kit
University Prep: Art & Design
Wacom tablet
wall covering
Winter semester
wood shop
work station

Editorial – General Guidelines

  • Always use Arabic figures, without st, nd, rd or th: March 4, not March 4th.
  • Spell out months used with a specific date: Fall Open House will be held on October 8.
  • When a phrase lists only a month and year, do not separate the month and the year with commas: The new website will launch in December 2007.
  • When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the day and the year with commas: January 15, 2008, was the first day of the semester.
  • Use en-dash to indicate ranges – e.g., July–September, 1998–2009, etc.
  • Cap semesters – e.g., Fall semester, Winter semester, etc., but not seasons: We met last spring.
  • Use the dollar sign and numerical figures (dollars only, no cents) up to $1 million. Do not use the word dollar: $15, $25,000, $900,000, NOT: 15 dollars or five dollars.
  • For amounts one million and above, use the word for million or billion: $5.5 billion, $300 million.
  • Round off, unless an exact figure is required: More than $900,000 (instead of $911,222).
  • Spell out the numbers one through nine. Use Arabic numerals for 10 and up. Always use Arabic numerals for ages and percentages, even for numbers less than 10. 7-year-old; 1 percent.
  • Spell out numbers that start a sentence. If the result is awkward, re-work the sentence: Seventy-five students attended the symposium yesterday. Yesterday, 635 seniors were awarded degrees. The exception to this rule is a sentence that begins with a calendar year: 2007 was a record-breaking year for fundraising.
  • In the case of proper names, use words or numerals according to the organization’s practice: 3M, Twentieth Century Fund, Big Ten.
  • Phone number format: 313.664.7425, 313.664.7495, 800.952.ARTS.
  • Use figures except for noon and midnight.
  • Use a colon to separate hours from minutes: 3:30 p.m.
  • At the top of the hour, do not include minutes: 3 p.m.
  • Spell out the names of cities and states.
  • When used with a city, set off the state with commas before and after: The students traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, to research their design project.

Identify the state along with the city with the exception of the following U.S. cities:


Las Vegas
Los Angeles
New Orleans
New York City
Oklahoma City

St. Louis
Salt Lake City
San Antonio
San Diego
San Francisco
Washington, D.C.


Identify the nation along with foreign cities with the exception of the following:

Hong Kong

New Delhi



United States

  • As a noun, use United States: The College for Creative Studies is one of the leading private art and design educational institutions in the United States.
  • As an adjective, use U.S. (periods, no spaces): A U.S. senator will speak at CCS tomorrow


  • For plural possessive nouns ending in s, add an apostrophe: the students’ grades, states’ rights.
  • For singular common possessive nouns ending in s, add ’s: the hostess’s invitation, the witness’s answer.
  • For singular proper names ending in s, use only an apostrophe: College for Creative Studies’ mission. HOWEVER, the possessive of the abbreviation CCS is ’s (i.e., CCS’s) as the S refers to the first letter of Studies and not the last.
  • For plurals of a single letter, add ’s: She received all A’s this semester.
  • Do not use ’s for plurals of numbers or multiple letter combinations: the 1960s, OEMs.


  • Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence: She promised this: The team will go to nationals this year.
  • A colon may be used before a list of items without capitalization: There were three issues with the project: expense, time and feasibility.


  • Do not put a comma (aka, the Oxford comma) before the conjunction in a simple series: Boston, Newton, Cambridge and Lexington. Exception: Use a final comma, if needed for clarity, in a long series.
  • Use commas to set off a person’s hometown and age: Jane Smith, 22, graduated yesterday.
  • Place commas on either side of non-essential statements within sentences: John, who loves cars, went to the auto show.


  • Use a hyphen for compound adjectives before the noun: well-known student, full-time job, 20-year sentence.
  • Do not use a hyphen when the compound modifier occurs after the verb: The student was well known. Her job became full time. He was sentenced to 20 years.
  • Do not use a hyphen with adverbial modifiers: BBDO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Omnicom.
  • Do not use a hyphen when describing U.S. ethnic groups: African American, Italian American, etc.


  • The temptation to use parentheses is a clue that a sentence is becoming contorted. Try to rewrite the sentence, putting the incidental information between commas or dashes, or in a separate sentence. If you must use parentheses, follow these punctuation guidelines:

Place a period outside a closing parenthesis if the material inside is not a sentence (such as this fragment).

If the material is an independent, complete sentence, place the period inside the parentheses. 


  • Use a single space after the period at the end of a sentence.
  • Do not put a space between initials: C.S. Lewis; J.K. Rowling.
  • If a URL falls at the end of sentence, you should use a period.

Quotation Marks

  • Periods and commas always go within quotation marks.
  • Dashes, semicolons, question marks and exclamation points go within the quotation marks when they apply to the quoted material. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence.
  • Use single marks for quotes within quotes: Smith said, “She told me, ‘I wish I had been accepted to CCS.’”


  • Use to separate independent, but related, clauses. Each clause should be able to stand on its own as a sentence: Rowena Reed Kostellow was a renowned educator and helped define the discipline of industrial design; her book is required reading for incoming students.
  • If a list of items is long and complex, or within clauses with intermediary punctuation, semicolons may be used in place of commas for the sake of clarity.
General Titles

Books, Computer Games, Movies, Operas, Plays, Poems, Albums, Songs, Radio and Television Programs, Lectures, Speeches and Works of Art

  • Capitalize the principal words; also capitalize prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Travels With Charlie.
  • Italicize titles of books, scholarly journals, websites, individual works of art, full-length albums, symphonies,
    operas and feature-length films: Journal of Consumer Culture,, Manet’s Olympia.

Exception: Do not italicize the Bible.

  • Put quotation marks around the titles of articles, essays, poems, short stories, pop songs, short films
    and TV shows: George Orwell’s “My Country Right or Left.”
  • Titles of exhibitions are italicized in uppercase and lowercase: e.g., Primitivism in Twentieth-Century Art.

Exception: Expositions, world’s fairs or recurrent shows, should be written in roman type, uppercase
and lowercase: Whitney Biennial, Documenta, North American International Auto Show, etc.
Newspapers and Magazines

  • Capitalize “the” in the name if that is the way the publication prefers to be known.
  • Lowercase “the” before names if listing several publications, some of which use “the” as part of the name
    and some of which do not: Time, Newsweek, the Washington Post and the New York Times.
  • Lowercase north, south, northeast, northern, etc. when they indicate compass direction: The cold front is moving east.
  • Capitalize compass points when they designate U.S. regions: A storm system that developed in the Midwest
    is spreading eastward.
  • With names of countries, lowercase compass points unless they are part of a proper name or are used
    to designate a politically divided nation: northern France, western United States, Northern Ireland.
  • Lowercase spring, summer, fall and winter, as well as derivatives like wintertime, unless part of a formal name: the Winter Olympics.
Technological Terms

Proper spelling and capitalization rules for some technological terms:

Google, Googling, Googled

IM, IM’ed, IMing, instant messaging
the Net (avoid)
social media

tweet, tweeted, retweet
web (as in, the web), webpage, webcast, webmaster, website
World Wide Web (avoid)