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MICA.edu Style Guide

MICA.edu is first point of contact for prospective students, their parents, and many other audiences with MICA. To help give a good first impression, our website has style rules in place to present a consistent, recognizeable experience. While many of these style rules are built into the website's core files, it's also important for you, the CMS user, to follow the guidelines and examples below.

This brief style guide provides some guidelines and best practices to help you use our content management system (CMS) to effectively and clearly communicate with your audience while observing MICA.edu's style rules.

AP Style

For most of MICA.edu, the College uses Associated Press Stylebook along with the following specific style rules.

Institutional Name and Address

MICA is the acronym for Maryland Institute College of Art. You may refer to MICA either way, without having to refer to its full name on first reference. When referring to MICA as an acroynm, please do not include any characters to mimic MICA's logo, i.e., the lines dividing each letter. When referring to MICA's full name, do not include a comma.


Correct: MICA

Incorrect: M|I|C/A

MICA's Official Address

You may refer to either MICA or Maryland Institute College of Art

Maryland Institute College of Art
1300 W Mount Royal Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21217-4143

Names of Academic Degrees, Centers, and Departments

The official names of MICA's academic degrees, research centers, and institutional departments follow.

Academic Degrees

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA);
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate;
  • Master of Professional Studies (MPS);
  • Master of Arts (MA);
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT);
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA);
  • Master of Business Administration/Master of Arts (MBA/MA);

Research Centers

MICA is home to several research centers. Their official names are:

  • Center for Social Design
  • Center for Design Thinking
  • Center for Race and Culture
  • Center for Art Education
  • Community Arts Convening

Institutional Departments

When referring to MICA's institutional departments, please refer to that department's full name on first reference. Acronyms and short-hand names, while common and acceptable, should only be used after the first reference to the full name of the department.

Institutional Divisions

MICA is comprised of divisions. When referencing a division, include the term "division" on first reference.

Example: MICA's Division of Technology Systems and Services supports the educational mission of MICA as well as its business, administrative, and electronic communication needs. Through planning, implementation, education, training, and support, TSS supports the college in using technology.


MICA's divisions are also made up of many departments. Many times, a department uses an acronym in common usage. Please use the full name of the department before referring to that department with an acronym.

Example: The Student Activities Office (SAO) is home to more than 50 student organizations. SAO hosts many events that enrich the MICA experience.

Alumni and Student References

When referring to alumni or current students, bold their full name and include their graduation or anticipated graduation year. If the alumnus/a has two degrees from MICA, list both years, earliest year first. After the first reference, you do not need to use bold or the graduation years. Also refer to the terminology and usage information below.

Example first reference:

Jane Johnson '12 recently won first place in a prestigious design competition. Johnson impressed the judge's panel, which was made up of many well-respected designers.

Terminology and Usage

alumna: singular female.

alumnus: singular male.

alumnae: plural female only.

alumni: plural male only; plural for coed.

alum or alums: incorrect, refrain from using.

Singular alumna alumnus
Plural alumnae alumni alumni


Using headings is an easy way to organize your content topically and clearly.

Heading Level 1

The page title, in this example "MICA.edu Style Guide" (above) uses our heading level 1 style. This style should only ever be used for page titles, which are automatically styled using heading level 1.

Heading Level 2

Heading level 2 is the highest level heading you should be using on your pages. Breaking up your content into headings at this level will help your audience quickly find high-level topics within your content.

Heading Level 3

Heading Level 4

Heading Level 5

Headling levels 3, 4, and 5 will look identical on most pages. Heading level 3 is very useful for organizing content areas within a higher-level area. If your content needs to use heading level 4, you should consider breaking up your content into separate pages.

Heading Level 6

Heading level 6 usually appears smaller than regular paragraph text and should never be used.

Text (Bold, Italic, Underline)

Styling text content appropriately can help you emphasize effectively. The Text Formatting toolbar buttons provide you with several options. Please follow these guidelines with formatting text:

Text Formatting buttons


Use bold to emphasize words and phrases in your text content. Do not use this to style headings—they have their own styles;


Italics can be used to emphasize specific words, e.g. words in another language or technical jargon.

Italics should also be used to denote a publication name, book title, radio or television show name, or album name, e.g.:

  • MICA's magazine, Juxtapositions;
  • Do Guns Make Us Free? Democracy and the Armed Society by faculty member Firmin DeBrabander;
  • Listen to Midday with Dan Rodricks on WYPR;
  • The Talking Heads released Fear of Music in 1979;


Underline should never be used. Links are automatically styled with an underline when you create them. Do not use underlines to reference publication or article titles either; use italics and quotation marks, respectively.

Incorrect: Dr. Jones recently published his article How to Make Great Art in The New York Times.

Correct: Dr. Jones recently published his article "How to Make Great Art" in The New York Times.


Strikethrough should never be used. Instead of denoting stricken text, delete it.


Superscript can be used to insert footnote references and mathematical powers.


You will likely find no reason to use subscript.

All Caps

  • Never use all caps for emphasis;
  • Never use all caps to create your own headings (Headings are pre-styled to have all caps when appropriate);

Appropriate usage for all caps:

  • Acronyms (e.g. MICA, AICAD, NASA, etc.);
  • Publications or groups have their name styled with all caps (e.g. UPPERCASE magazine);
  • Radio and television station call letters (e.g. WYPR, WJZ-13, WKRP, etc.);


  • Use ordered (numbered) lists for instructions and lists that require their items to be in a sequential order;
  • Use unordered (bulleted) lists for everything else;

Example: A Recipe for Pasta e Fagioli


  • 1 3/4 oz. pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small can diced tomatoes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • peperoncini (red pepper flakes)
  • 5 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 3 1/2 oz. ditalini (or other small pasta)
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (or both)


  1. Cook pancetta until light brown.
  2. Add onion, garlic, celery, and brown all.
  3. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and warm water, and bring to a boil.
  4. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
  5. In last 5 minutes, add beans and stir well.
  6. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with cheese.


The CMS provides five different types of links for you to use. Knowing what they are and when to use them will help your audience easily find what they are looking for.

Link Types

  • Internal: Use this when linking to pages that are part of www.mica.edu. Internal links should refer to an xID. Every page on the website, that exists in the CMS, has a unique xID. You can find a page's xID by either looking at the top of the page in Edit Form view if you are already working on that page, or by finding the page in the Site panel on the left side of the CMS and resting your mouse pointer over the page until its xID is revealed;
  • External: Use external links when linking to websites and pages that are not part of www.mica.edu. As part of best practices, always select "Open in new window (_blank)" from the Target drop-down menu in the Insert/Edit Link options window;
  • Document: Use this when linking to files such as PDF and MS Word documents;
  • Anchor: Use this option when linking to a specific location (that you've already created using the Insert/Edit Anchor button) on the page;
  • Email: You can use this if you'd like to link to an email address. When a user clicks on this type of link, their default email program is opened (e.g. Outlook or Mac Mail), regardless of whether they use it or not. It is not recommended to use email links for this reason and also because it can increase the likelihood of that email address receiving spam;

Formatting Links

MICA.edu already has styles in place for links, you do not need to apply styling to your links (e.g. underlines).

Link Text/Labels

Ideal text for links is descriptive and flows well within its context.


Use the name of the page, website, document, or email address as the text you link to;


Use "click here" or similar wording;


Incorrect: Please click here to learn more;

Correct: To learn more, visit Graduate Programs;

Incorrect: Download this file to learn more;

Correct: Download MICA's Graphic Identity Standards and Guidelines (PDF);


Image Storage Locations

  • Never upload your images to the root Images directory;
  • Always save your images in an appropriate sub-directory;
  • For example, if you were uploading an image from the Career Fair, you would:
    • Find and open the career_development folder within the Images folder; and
    • Click on the careerfair folder;
  • If you don't have an appropriate subfolder in your directory, create a new one;

Image File Names

To ensure your images appear on a as many devices and Web browsers as possible, please follow these guidelines:

  • Do not use spaces, dashes (-), punctuation (: ; !), or special characters (~ @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) = + / < > \ | { } [ ] " ' , etc.);
  • Use underscores ( _ ) in place of spaces and dashes;
  • any combination of numerals and capital and lower-case letters is fine;


Incorrect: our-group-photo-@theparty.jpg (Why not? It uses dashes and a special character, @);

Incorrect: our-group&their-group-photo(08/25/2015).jpg (Why not? It uses dashes and special characters, ( ) /);

Incorrect: our group photo:the party"outerspace"+after party{crazy!}.jpg (Why not? It uses spaces and special charcters, " + { } );

Correct: our_group_photo_party_20150825.jpg

Image Sizing

Image sizing will depend on where you plan to place the image within a specific page type (template).

Template / Page Type / SchemaCMS FieldDisplay LocationSize (pixels)
Flexible Content Images > Image Upper right corner, right of the page title. width: 480px
height: 210px and above
Body Copy Main content area, wherever you place it. width: 495px (max)
height: any
News Slide Show > Slide Main content area, right after page title. width: 960px
height: 400px
Images > Thumbnail Used by other pages, e.g. news landing pages. width: 153px
height: 115-120px
Body Copy Main content area, wherever you place it. width: 720px
: any
Profile Images > Body Image Main content area, upper left, before beginning of text. width: 272px
height: any
Images > Thumbnail Used by other pages, e.g. faculty list pages. width: 72px
height: 50px
Body Copy Main content area, wherever you place it. Will appear after image defined in Images > Body Image. width: 495px
height: any
Student Profile Images > Image Left-hand column, directly under name. width: 200px
height: 156px
Images > Thumbnail Used by other pages, e.g. on the right hand side of other Student Profile pages. width: 50px
height: 39px
Slideshow Images > Slide Top of center, main content, column. width: 495px
Body Copy Main content area, wherever you place it. Will always appear after slideshow area. width:495px
height: any


Document File Names

To ensure your documents are accessible on as many devices and Web browsers as possible, please follow these guidelines:

  • Do not use spaces, dashes (-), punctuation (: ; !), or special characters (~ @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) = + / < > \ | { } [ ] " ' , etc.);
  • Use underscores ( _ ) in place of spaces and dashes;
  • Any combination of numerals and capital and lower-case letters is fine;
  • Make the file names meaningful and structured;


Incorrect: Our-New-Policies-(8/25/15).pdf (Why not? It uses dashes and special characters, ( ) / );

Incorrect: Our New Policies & Procedures(1).pdf (Why not? It uses spaces and special characters, & ( ) );

Incorrect: Excited! About Our New "Policies & Procedures"{July 13, 2015}.doc (Why not? It uses punctuation, spaces, and special charcters, " & { } );

Correct: StudentAffairs_Policies_Procedures_20150825.pdf

Document File Formats

Unless you intend for your audience to be able to edit your document (such as a form that they can download and fill out on their computer before printing), we recommend that you do not use word processor-based file formats, e.g. Microsoft Word.

Use Adobe PDF instead.


Tables are clear and concise ways to present data. Ensuring that your table works well and follows MICA style standards will help you communicate effectively with your audience.

Table Guidelines

  • Never copy/paste or insert a table from Microsoft Excel or any other third-party product;
  • You will need to build your table manually using the CMS;
  • Do not manually style the table content or header rows, use the features of the CMS;
  • When creating a table:
    • Always set the width to 100% to ensure your table is mobile friendly;
    • Never set a value for height;
  • Include a header row to identify the table's data;

The following table is an example of a well-formatted table that follows these guidelines:

Largest U.S. States
RankStateArea (sq. miles)Capital
1 Alaska 663,267.26 Juneau
2 Texas 268,580.82 Austin
3 California 163,695.57 Sacramento
4 Montana 147,042.40 Helena
5 New Mexico 121,589.48 Santa Fe

To learn how to create well-formatted tables, visit the Tables Guide.

This page was last updated on 10/31/2016.