Style guide

This is Uniarts Helsinki’s style guide that includes spelling and style instructions for website content production.

Tone and style

Write in active voice

Whenever possible, use the active voice instead of the passive voice. Prefer the “we” pronoun and address the reader directly by using the “you” pronoun. Avoid long and complex sentences, cut out unnecessary filler words and use plain language that is easy to understand.


Do not say: The admissions results will be announced in May. Cleaning measures will be enhanced in our locations.

Say: We will announce the admissions results in May. We are cleaning our facilities with enhanced measures.

Do not say: Uniarts Helsinki offers high-quality education. Students can apply for the degree programme until the end of May.

Say: We offer high-quality education. You can apply to the degree programme until the end of May.

How to use the names of Uniarts Helsinki and its academies

Finnish use

When you mention the name of the academy for the first time in an article, use the official form of the name that includes the name Uniarts Helsinki, such as Uniarts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy. After this, you can refer to the academy by only mentioning the name of the academy, e.g. Theatre Academy.

Do not use the abbreviated forms of the academy names in external communications. Also consider whether it is necessary to repeat the name of the academy several times or if instead, you might be able to improve the flow of the text and make it less organisation-driven by using the “we” pronoun.


Do not say: KuvA teachers are distinguished art professionals. The core of KuvA teaching is the student’s own artistic work.

Say: Academy of Fine Arts teachers are distinguished art professionals. The core of our teaching is the student’s own artistic work.

English use

Spelling in English: Uniarts Helsinki, Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts, Uniarts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy, Uniarts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy. Do not write a definite article (the) before these names. When you mention the name of the academy alone without the name Uniarts Helsinki, write a definite article before the name.

Furthermore, (the) Academy of Fine Arts of Uniarts Helsinki, (the) Sibelius Academy of Uniarts Helsinki and (the) Theatre Academy of Uniarts Helsinki are also correct. In full sentences, add a definite article (the) in front of the name of the academy. However, when signing e-mails or similar list-type contexts, do not add ‘the’ if the name of the academy appears independently and not as part of a sentence.

Swedish use

Spelling in Swedish: Konstuniversitetet, Konstuniversitetets Bildkonstakademi, Konstuniversitetets Sibelius-Akademi, Konstuniversitetets Teaterhögskola. When you mention the name of an academy without Uniarts Helsinki, the name of the academy will end in the letter n to signify the definite form.

Use of the name Open Campus

In Finnish, Avoin kampus is a proper noun written with a capital letter. In English, the unit is called Open Campus, and in Swedish, the name is Öppet campus. In Finnish, avoin yliopisto is considered a common name, which is why it is not capitalised. In English, both words are capitalised, and the name is Open University.

Other organisational units

In Finnish and Swedish, the names of degree programmes and units are not capitalised. In English, all of the words in these names are capitalised. So the correct forms in Finnish and Swedish are “musiikkikasvatuksen aineryhmä” and “ämnesgruppen för musikpedagogik”, but in English, the correct form is Department of Music Education.


  • Department of Music Technology: use capitals in all contexts when department name is written in its entirety.
  • My department is very welcoming.
  • I study music technology.
  • Open University: use capitals in all contexts.
  • The Degree Programme in Acting doesn’t admit new students this year. 
  • I study acting. (Fields of study are written in lower case.)
  • All students in this degree programme speak Swedish. 
  • I graduated as a Bachelor of Arts (Theatre and Drama) in 2020. (Official title of the degree, thus capitals.)
  • I have a bachelor’s degree in theatre. (Not an official title of a degree.)

Names of other educational institutions

When writing about educational institutions located in non-English-speaking countries, use the official English names of the institutions or the original names, if no official translation is available. If no official English name is available, some kind of explanations about the country or institution may be useful in the context.


  • Susan studies at an Italian conservatoire named Conservatorio di Musica G.B. Martini.
  • Mia completed her master’s degree at an arts institution named Haute école des arts du Rhin (HEAR) in France.

General language rules

Capitalisation of job titles

When you are talking about a position, never capitalise the first letter of the word in Finnish, Swedish or English.

However, if the position is referred in the context of introducing a person who holds the position, then do capitalise the job title. For example: “may I introduce Professor N. N.”, but “the person appointed to the position of professor in contemporary art may teach in Finnish and/or English.”

Gender-neutral terms

Always favour gender-neutral terms when it is possible. For example, use the word chair instead of chairman.

In English, use the gender-neutral pronoun “they” when you are not referring to a specific individual or when this is a specific person’s preferred pronoun.

In Swedish, use the gender-neutral pronoun “hen” when you are not referring to a specific individual or when this is a specific person’s preferred pronoun.

Use the gender-neutral form alum in singular in English. In plural, use the form alumni.


Always spell out abbreviations. This rule applies to all languages used on the website.

Naming files

If you are uploading a file on the website (content type: document), name the file using lowercase letters in words and adding a hyphen (-) between the words. It is important that the name of the file states what the file contains in plain language. Use full words instead of abbreviations, for example: “annual-report-of-uniarts-helsinki-2018.pdf”.

Make sure that all files that you upload on the website meet the general accessibility requirements.

Formatting text

Headings and lead paragraphs

Each page on the website must have a heading and a lead paragraph. They are important elements that make the page more accessible and clearer and increase its search engine visibility.

The maximum number of characters in the lead paragraph is 140. Make the most of the character limit by including the most important content for the reader and search engines. Do not start a lead paragraph with the name of an organisation or an organisational unit, because it eats up the character limit and does not provide the reader with any necessary additional information about the content of that particular page.


Divide the text on the page into short paragraphs by using subheadings. Subheadings increase the usability of a page and allow the reader the possibility to scan the content. This way they don’t need to read each paragraph for no reason if they are looking for a specific piece of information.

Use the automatic heading styles of the website editor for subheadings in descending order (the main heading on the page is H1, all other headings are usually H2. Never skip heading styles in this descending order as this could be very confusing for a person using a screen reader.

Headings Guides

When you use the content type “Guides” it is best to include a verb in the heading and subheadings. Use verbs that relate to the matter at hand in the instructions. “How to create your teaching portfolio” is an example of a good heading, not “Teaching portfolio”.

Bold, italics and capital letters

Use italics only in the names of works.

It is not necessary to use bold in any of the content on the website. Therefore, when something is important in a text, do not use bold to highlight it. Instead, mention it in the heading of the page or in the subheading of a paragraph. This way, it is also highlighted for people using screenreaders.

Do not use bold to highlight people’s names in articles on the website.

Do not write entire words in capital letters, not even in headings, although the heading style on the website looks to be in capital letters.

Formatting lists

Use the list feature of the website editor to format lists instead of your own formatting like adding arbitrary dashes and bullets.

Always write a short introduction to make it clear what the listed things are.

Usually, the listed things are written in lowercase letters and there is no full stop at the end, because the listed points are not full, independent clauses. If you use full sentences in your list, take a moment to reflect on whether a list is the most effective way of presenting your matter.

Quotation marks

On our website, direct quotes should be marked with double quotation marks (“-”), not with a quotation dash.

Link texts refer to the words that are in a text and contain a link to a new page. Always write a link text that gives the reader an understanding of where the link leads to, even when read completely out of context of the surrounding text. Do not simply write “read more” or “click for more information”, and instead, provide more details: “read how to create good online content” or “read a blog post by our student”. This helps for example blind people navigate different links on the page.

A call-to-action link, i.e. cta link, is a link that appears as a lime green call-to-action button on the page. Always use the imperative mood when phrasing a cta link and do not end it with a full stop.

If the link is internal and directs the reader to another page on the website, do not make it open in a new window. You can choose to make the link open in a new window only if the link is external. If the link opens in a new window, it breaks the visitor’s previous visit path, and they cannot go back by clicking on the browser’s back button.

Give feedback on our style guide

Give feedback on our style guide or suggest updates by sending an email to