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Brand Guide

Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices for Marketing and Communications

As a Catholic, Marianist institution, we embrace diversity as a gift of God's creation, and we are committed to honoring the intrinsic value and dignity of all people. As diversity, equity and inclusion are among our core values, we aim to accurately and intentionally cover and represent all forms of diversity in the UD community in our marketing and communications. This is even more important as the University works to increase diversity — from the boardroom to the student body.

In addition to amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups, truly inclusive marketing can deepen connections with our audiences and broaden the University's reach. A growing body of work also shows that racially diverse ads have a positive impact on all racial groups.

To support campus communicators, University Marketing and Communications has compiled best practices for creating inclusive communications:

Best Practices

Per the AP Stylebook, "Inclusive storytelling seeks to truly represent all people around the globe."

To effectively share multiple voices and perspectives, find and share content about people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. To do this, you may need to diversify the sources you use to find story ideas. Be mindful that people of color are featured for their accomplishments — not just for their diversity alone.

To make your copy as inclusive as possible, avoid assumptions and question what you know.

For additional tips, read "How to Make Your Writing More Inclusive."

In general copy, use pronouns like "they/them," "students," "Flyers" or "everyone,"  instead of "he/she," "mankind" or "guys." When referring to disabilities, use people-first language so individuals are not defined by their disability (e.g., use “person with a disability” vs. “disabled person”) unless the person indicates another preference.

When conducting a story interview, ask sources for their preference when referring to their race, ethnicity, religion and/or gender. (“They” is an acceptable gender-neutral singular pronoun.)

When responding to comments, posts or email, do not assume the person’s gender; simply address them by name.

Frequently refer to the AP Style Guide for information on appropriate phrasing and capitalization; this is a dynamic time for language, and style guidance is continually evolving. The sections on inclusive storytelling, race-related coverage, gender and sexuality, ages, disabilities, mental illness and religion may be especially useful.

University Marketing and Communications maintains a photo library, which is available to all UD employees. Stock photography should be avoided for many reasons, including that it often depicts gender and racial stereotypes. For more information on photography, including taking event photos, view the photo guidelines.

Representation of diversity should feel contemporary and have a strong alignment with the brand. Across materials, photos should represent diversity at an appropriately aspirational level, and diversity among people of color should be highlighted, as well. Consider pacing and composition to ensure diversity is not only represented but also prominently featured. Current campus demographics can be found on the institutional reporting site.

When selecting photos, be mindful of what the images may be inadvertently communicating. For example, images used to talk about financial aid and scholarships should feature students of all races to convey that all students may need — and have access to — financial support.
Publications, including all webpages, should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis. To remain current, and avoid overuse of images, photos of students should be no more than two years old.

When using people emojis, use the nongendered versions and the default yellow color. These variations are most inclusive when communicating with a universal audience. You should also keep diversity and inclusion in mind when using icons or illustrations of people. Consider not only race and ethnicity but also gender, religion, disability, age, etc.

Ensure that people with disabilities are able to access and engage with our content by following accessibility guidelines in your print and digital communications.

The social media community standards provide guidance on how people may engage on our social media channels. To create welcoming, inclusive social spaces, social media managers should follow our social media guidelines, to include removing posts that contain obscenity, profanity, racism or personal attacks.

Continue to engage in personal and professional development around diversity, equity and inclusion. This could include reading books and articles, following more diverse voices on social media, or attending workshops. You can find more resources through the Diversity and Social Justice Resources site, HR learning and development program and the Inclusive Excellence Academy.

When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, you’re not expected to know all the answers. If you’re not sure about something, ask before moving ahead. You can start by contacting University Marketing and Communications (, and someone will help answer your question or direct you to the appropriate office.


University Marketing and Communications

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Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1303