This section can help you create marketing materials that accurately depict your program and activities.
  • Use actual students and community members performing typical actions.
  • if possible, receive community members’ consent for photographs (see Community Member Consent Guidelines).
  • If possible, don’t use stock photography or hire models to replace students when photos of actual students are available, or it is possible to photograph actual students.
  • Don’t construct settings or stage events that would never occur. 

Effective Communication 

When possible, follow these guidelines to avoid confusion in your message.

  • Use photography of students performing topical actions. For example, an art student painting; a science student in a lab.
  • Use real or related environments. For example, use an actual class; have a student wear an appropriate outfit, such as a lab coat. Use students’ own words to describe the topic. A student describing a program as “life-changing” is more powerful than marketing copy.
  • Use students’ stories to tell your program’s story. Students’ journeys deserve to be heard, and they can be very effective at explaining programs.

Authentic Representation

Authentic representation is the intersection of your program’s values, UMass Lowell’s values and your actual community. Authentic representation balances what your program wants to be and what your program is. When representation is authentic, you depict your program’s vision while avoiding deceptive practices.

Observe the following guidelines. 

  • Inclusion is a practice, not a checklist. For example, never attempt to include one of every U.S. Census defined race in a photograph. 
  • Authenticity cannot be measured in numbers. For example, never attempt to represent your program’s statistical demographics in photography. Among other reasons, it is impractical, reductive of students’ identities and is not suggestive of how welcoming your program is or is not.
  • Authenticity cannot be manufactured. For example, avoid using stock photography whenever possible. (Note that there are some marketing instances where stock photography is permissible, such as Eventbrite registration or Hawki slides.)
  • Authenticity is not only visual. For example, include students with differing socioeconomic backgrounds or invisible disabilities.


Because your program values diversity, you might put extra time into recruiting students with disabilities as models. However, you would never ask a sighted student to hold a cane and wear sunglasses for your photo shoot. Beyond being unethical and in bad taste, the latter case literally demonstrates a preference for the appearance of diversity versus actual diversity.

We thank Pacific Oregon University for its Best Practices in EDI for Marketing, on which our guidelines are based.