Voice and Tone

Updated: May 05 2017

Where Voice Fits In

Our message is what we say. It’s the content and information we’re trying to communicate. Our voice is the tone we use — whether spoken or written. It gives our message personality and makes us more approachable. A campaign is the big idea (with a tagline) that wraps our messages together. Campaigns change over time to reach new goals and audiences. But staying true to the brand’s voice across campaigns ensures we’re building recognition and trust.

Show Some Personality

We’re a community of hundreds of thousands. But just because our collective personality is complex, it doesn’t mean we can’t be consistent. Whenever anyone speaks or writes as the University of Arizona, keep our personality traits in mind: Show we’re progressive. Be confident. Sound open. Come off as rugged. Sound determined. Be inspirational. Use the first and second person (we and you) so that we’re speaking directly to the reader. Using these characteristics will help our voice stay consistent — no matter who writes the communication.

Tips: Communicating Boundless

Following are a few helpful tips for conveying the “Boundless” theme in copy. Note that the examples adhere to the brand voice, while also expressing a sense of urgency that reinforces our culture of innovation and exploration. 

  • We built the world’s largest telescope. And then got to work on something bigger.
  • We developed chest-compression-only CPR. So now your chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest are doubled.
  • We were the first public university to lead a NASA mission to Mars. And soon we’ll be the first to land on a near-earth asteroid.
  • You have the power, the duty, to make a difference. Or two.
  • Neither cuts nor competition can slow our progress. Nor our pursuit of bigger questions.
  • Imagine. And transcend boundaries.
  • We hold onto water. While we catapult careers.

Use words that capture the spirit of “Boundless” to categorize multiple thoughts into a single message.

  • Limitless ideas
  • Beyond outreach
  • Unbound innovation
  • Relentless curiosity
  • Infinite possibilities
  • Bold exploration
  • Endless talent
  • Take off
  • Without end
  • Endure
  • Wide open
  • Bigger questions start here.
  • Discover UA Engineering and design your future.

Use metaphors to show how “Boundless” is about reimagination.

  • Headline: “This is your canvas.” Photo: Desert scape.
  • Headline: “Here sits your window to the world” Photo: Telescope lens
  • Headline: “How do we heal the human brain? Turn up the Music” Photo: An older couple dancing with copy highlighting UA’s key research in soundhealing
  • Headline: “What makes for a perfect score? Preparation.” Photo: UA Dance with copy about UA’s test prep office
  • Headline: “Ace the MCAT.” Photo: UA Basketball dunk shot and copy about UA’s test prep office
  • Headline: “Cloud-based collaboration.” Photo: Rice fields with copy about UA’s iPlant Collaborative
  • Headline: “Unearth your place in the universe.” Photo: child playing in Zen garden with copy about UA Optics
  • Headline: “Where do Wildcats launch careers? The University ranked 16th globally for graduate employability” Photo: Student dressed in a business suit

Use future tense to communicate potential and possibility.

  • “Tomorrow, we will cure cancer.”
  • “This will change everything.”
  • “Look ahead: how we will solve the water crisis.”
  • “The world knows us. The universe will remember us.”
  • “Today we’re building the world’s largest telescope. Tomorrow we’ll prevent an Earth-asteroid collision.”


To support the “Boundless” theme, the following six words and phrases should be worked into your writing when warranted and when it’s natural to do so.



The University of Arizona was established as a land-grant university in 1885 to “teach agriculture, military tactics, the mechanic arts, and classical studies, so members of the working classes could obtain a liberal, practical education.” Today, our global reach allows us not only to serve the people of Arizona, but also the citizens of the world, to be a force for good at home and abroad.


It means that every graduate is ready to do a job, because every graduate has already done it. Students achieve readiness through experiential learning that’s tailored to their individual needs. In preparing students to more confidently enter the marketplace, we graduate leaders with the knowledge and skills to make an immediate impact, and to ultimately help solve the world’s grand challenges.


It’s not enough to want to be better, to want to be a force for good. A university must have the faculty, researchers, resources, and graduates to actually do it. From Nobel laureates to top–ranked programs across campus, we have all of this and more. Use proof points to tell the world that we’re more than a place of study; we’re a place of rigorous scholarship.


We are not content with simply teaching what’s known. We exist to make the unknown known, to create new knowledge, and then to share that knowledge with others so they can expand upon it to answer humanity’s most fundamental questions.


When telling our story, keep our status as a world-class university top of mind. It’s not enough to convey that we’re a state school, a land- or space-grant university, or even one of just 64 members of the Association of American Universities. We are truly a global university that’s highly ranked and well regarded the world over, both for what we’ve accomplished and what we’re capable of accomplishing.


Since our founding, we’ve lived the University’s original motto of Sursum (“Upwards”). So much so, that today, it’s more than a motto; it’s our mission, and one we fully embrace and consistently express in boundless ways.

Boundless Alternatives

Sometimes, you’ll want to express that something is boundless without actually using the word itself. Here are just a few alternate words and phrases to help bring the theme into your writing:

One “Boundless” word to avoid:
Border issues are a sensitive subject in the Southwest. Therefore, please refrain from using “border” (or “borders”) when expressing the Boundless theme.



Above and beyond


Beyond compare

Beyond measure

Beyond question

Can’t be confined

Can’t be contained









No barriers

No bounds

No end

No end to

No limits


Over and above














Without bounds

Without end

Without limits

University of Arizona Boilerplate

Established in 1885, the University of Arizona, the state’s super land-grant university with two medical schools, produces graduates who are real-world ready through its 100% Student Engagement initiative. Recognized as a global leader, the UA is also a leader in research, bringing more than $606 million in research investment each year, and ranking 21 among all public universities. UA is advancing the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships and is a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $8.3 billion annually.

Include in press releases, on the Web, and in publications.