Verbal Language

The Narrative

The Narrative is not necessarily marketing language. Instead, it should primarily guide the spirit of future brand messaging. No matter what we’re writing, our voice should stay true to the heart of this narrative.

The future 
must be found.

Somewhere where beauty gets your hands dirty. Where you sculpt with code and engineer with sound, and life-changing discoveries are met with heartfelt joy. A place where tending to the earth is as much poetry as it is science.

Where signal separates from noise and research reads like a love song.

Where a seed of inspiration can turn into a lifelong passion that crafts careers and launches industries.

Wherever your story’s starting point, here — at Cal Poly Humboldt — your future is found.

Here, in the heart of the North Coast, our skyscrapers grow from the earth and drink the fog. We know the earth as well as we know ourselves, and we draw creativity from creation.

We love what we do, and it shows — every minute of it.

We hone our skills with practice, and we shape our world with conscience, and this makes an undeniable impact both here at home in California and across the globe.

Your possible futures wait for finding — and the road you take to get there is the one best traveled.

Futures are found at Cal Poly Humboldt.


Boilerplate content is meant to be a high-level, moderately voiced expression of who an institution is. This type of boilerplate can be used across digital media, including on the .edu’s “About” page as well as in bio sections on social media.

At Cal Poly Humboldt, bold hearts and open minds shape the future. 

Founded in 1913, Cal Poly Humboldt began as a small college for teachers. Today Humboldt has grown into a comprehensive university with rigorous science and liberal arts programs. Designated a polytechnic in 2022, Cal Poly Humboldt provides hands-on, impactful educational opportunities that lead to meaningful, measurable outcomes for the individual, for the state, and the world. 

Cal Poly Humboldt is proud to have nearly 6,000 students of all backgrounds spread across 61 majors, 13 graduate programs, and 4 credential programs — all of whom contribute passion and creativity within their fields and set the stage for a future grounded in equity and sustainability. Hands-on learning, inspired teaching, ground-breaking research, and thought-provoking creative activity happen daily at Humboldt. 

Finding a better future is a task for the bold and open, the down-to-earth and visionary. Cal Poly Humboldt strives to cultivate these qualities in leaders, innovators, and scholars in every field.

Elevator Pitch

Like boilerplate copy, the elevator pitch is meant to be a quick two-to three sentence answer to the question ‘Tell me about Cal Poly Humboldt’. It’s short but voiced and can be used both in casual conversation and online in more informal media.

Cal Poly Humboldt is where futures are found. 

Our shared commitment to better the world with our minds, hands, and hearts prepares us to take on the world’s most pressing challenges with practicality and passion.

The Humboldt Voice

The ‘unvoiced’ headline expresses a core idea using generic language, while the ‘voiced’ headline applies Humboldt’s unique voice to that same idea.

  • Unvoiced: Cal Poly Humboldt is solving STEM shortages.
  • Voiced: California have no fear — STEM careers are launching here.
  • Unvoiced: Humboldt supports students for success now and in the future.
  • Voiced: Student success. Transforming the world.
  • Unvoiced: Pursue a degree you’re passionate about and find a career you love at Humboldt.
  • Voiced: Grow a seed of inspiration into lifelong passion and find your future at Humboldt.
  • Unvoiced: Humboldt students are diverse and driven towards their goals.
  • Voiced: Wherever you come from, find your future here.



  • Use “Cal Poly Humboldt” in formal or professional contexts on first reference. Think print messaging or official communication. On second reference, “Humboldt” may be used.
  • Use “California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt” only when the full formal name is necessary for context. In most cases, simply “Cal Poly Humboldt” or “Humboldt” will suffice.



  • Use “CPH,” “Cal Poly,” “CSPUH,” or similar. There are no official acronyms for Humboldt, and the name should be shortened to “Humboldt” only.
  • Use “Cal Poly, Humboldt.” There is no comma.

Style Tips

We’re shaping the world. 

We should write like it.

Tip 1

Everything — the Humboldt Story.

Cal Poly Humboldt has a great story to tell, and that story is found in everything — email campaigns, blog posts, University news, campaign case statements and viewbooks. Every piece of content we create reflects a piece of that story, expressing it in a way that’s both unique and cohesive. 

Tip 2

Embrace a Spirit of Discovery.

Cal Poly Humboldt’s adventurous heart can’t be emphasized enough: exploring the unknown and embracing the discoveries of tomorrow are a crucial part of our identity. Finding how this curious spirit manifests across disciplines and carrying it forward into our stories is just one way to show verbally what makes this brand uniquely Humboldt.

Tip 3

Short Stories Have Long Impact.

People have always learned and remembered best through stories — from Aesop’s fables to DIY YouTube tutorials. Maintaining short, digestible stories that capture snapshots of the Humboldt experience and clearly speak to Humboldt’s identity and impact is a valuable way to build brand affinity on all levels.

Tip 4

Welcome the Unexpected and the Unknown.

As we begin to tell the story of Cal Poly Humboldt, we’re also defining a new story for the future of Humboldt County and Northern California more broadly. Appropriately, our verbal storytelling should welcome openly the unexpected and embrace the unknown, incorporating new media and new approaches as they arise.

Tip 5

Here — the Beginning of Everything.

These guidelines aren’t meant to be prescriptive, and we should never feel constrained by them — we should feel empowered. Our goal is to provide frameworks for storytelling, not the totality of the narrative itself, and these tips serve to probe and explore (not dictate). This isn’t
the story’s end, after all — it’s the beginning.