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Hennepin County Design System

County word list and terms

Hennepin County terms

625 Building

Note capitalization.

701 Building

Note capitalization.


Lowercase when used by itself (the board). Capitalize only when part of of the official name (Hennepin County Board; Hennepin County Board of Commissioners).

county board

Note lowercase.

Hennepin County Board

Note capitalization.

Hennepin County Board of Commissioners

Note capitalization. After the first reference, use lowercase (the board; the commissioners).

board of commissioners

Note lowercase.

Commissioner / commissioner

Capitalize this term when used before a name (Commissioner Jane Brown). On further references, use the commissioner (note lowercase) or Brown (only last name is needed on second reference). Lowercase when used without a name or when listed after a name (Jane Brown, commissioner).

  • When designating a commissioner district, use the capitalized term District followed by a numeral (Commissioner Jane Brown, District 1).


The board elects a chair, not a chairmanchairwoman or chairperson. Capitalize the term when used with the full title, preceding a name (Hennepin County Board of Commissioners Chair Jane Brown). Lowercase in other situations (the chair, board chair, etc.).

committees and boards

When writing for the public, generally avoid including the names of committees or boards, and instead describe the work being done. If you must specify the committee or board, only capitalize when naming the full, official name (For example: Human Services Committee). After the first reference, simply use the committee or the board (note lowercase).


Lowercase when not preceded by Hennepin.


One word, no hyphen when used for an internal audience. If writing for a public audience and referring to a geographic region, use throughout the county instead.


Visit Court terms.

departments and offices

When writing for the public, generally avoid including the names of departments or offices. Instead, use terms like the county or program (note lowercase). If you must specify the department or office, only capitalize when naming the full, official department or office name (For example: Land Information and Tax Services Department, Office of Budget and Finance). Capitalize Department and Office when part of the official title.


Capitalize the word district only when including the commissioner or legislative district number (For example: District 2, District 5, Fourth Judicial District Court).

divisions and programs

When writing for the public, generally avoid including the names of divisions and programs and instead describe the work being done. If you must specify the division or program, use lowercase. The only reason to capitalize is if a division or program name is non-descriptive or if it has been branded with capitalization to a large audience.

Fourth Judicial District Court

Visit Court terms.


For most audiences, you should avoid using Hennepin without CountyHealth, or Healthcare (Hennepin County, Hennepin Health, Hennepin Healthcare). If communicating to employees only, you can use Hennepin on the second reference if the context is clear.

Hennepin County Library

When describing branches, include the phrase Hennepin County Library followed by a dash then the location (For example: Hennepin County Library — Maple Grove, Hennepin County Library — Eden Prairie, etc.). Do not capitalize the word library when used by itself.

Hennepin Healthcare

The integrated system of care, including hospital and clinics, formerly known as HCMC.

Hennepin-University Partnership

Note the hyphen. In most cases, avoid using the acronym HUP unless you are sure your audience understands and expects it. After the first reference, use the partnership.

job titles

Capitalize formal job titles when used immediately before a name, but lowercase when used alone or in constructions that set them off from a name by commas. Use lowercase at all times for terms that are job descriptions rather than formal titles.

  • County Board Chair Jan Jones (formal title before a name)
  • Jan Jones, board chair (title separated by a comma)
  • The director (formal title used alone) 


Lowercase, unless using the full, official title. See "Hennepin County Library" above.

locations / facilities

Capitalize the official name of the building / facility, then use the terms the buildingthe facility, etc. on further references (Adult Corrections Facility > the facility).

  • Government Center: The official name is the Hennepin County Government Center. Use capitalized Government Center on further references.
    • Towers and levels in the Government Center — Capitalize only the first letter of the tower or level (For example: Administration tower, C-tower, A-level).
    • skyway level (note lowercase)
  • Service centers: Only capitalize when including the location (For example: Ridgedale Service Center). On second reference use service center.
  • Correctional facilities / jails: refer to each by its official capitalized name instead of using the term jail to avoid confusion between the facilities.
    • Adult Corrections Facility
    • Adult Detention Center — there are two downtown Minneapolis locations, but they are treated as one facility
    • Juvenile Detention Center
  • City Hall / courthouse: The official name is the Municipal Building. On second reference use the building.
  • Rooms — In most instances, use lowercase  (meeting room A404, employee training room).
    • If a room is named after a person, capitalize the name only (Mark E. Johnson conference room)
  • For libraries, see "Hennepin County Library" and “Library” above.

NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center

Note capital “P” in NorthPoint and the ampersand. It's fine to use NorthPoint on second reference.  

Sheriff’s Office

Note capitalization of both words. On second reference it is fine to use the office. Note: Only the elected Hennepin County Sheriff is referred to as sheriff. Other officers are referred to as deputy / deputies. The term sheriff is only capitalized when used as a formal job title immediately preceding the name of the current county sheriff.

Veterans Services

Capitalized with no apostrophe.

Court terms

There are 10 district courts in Minnesota, with the Fourth Judicial District Court serving all of Hennepin County. Within the fourth district there are divisions for civil, conciliation, criminal and traffic, family, housing, juvenile, and probate / mental health court.


For public audiences, capitalize the full proper names of courts at all levels, but lowercase shortened references. The national Supreme Court is always capitalized, even if U.S. is dropped.

  • Capitalize:
    • Fourth Judicial District Court
    • Fourth Judicial District Family Court
  • Lowercase:
    • district court
    • family court
    • juvenile court


These respectful forms of address (the Honorable Jane Doe, the First Lady) may be used in ceremonial contexts and should be capitalized. However, avoid them in most other instances.

judge / justice

Capitalize these titles when used immediately before a name, but lowercase when used alone or in constructions that set them off from a name by commas. Only judges who serve on a Supreme Court are referred to as Justice.

  • Judge Jane Jones (formal title before a name)
  • Associate Justice John Jones (formal title before a name)
  • Jane Jones, judge (title separated by a comma)
  • The judge released the court transcript (formal title used alone)

Exceptions – In ceremonial contexts, such as event programs, titles can be capitalized even when following a name.

Do not use the word court as part of a person’s title unless it would be confusing without it:

  • No court in the title:
    • Fourth Judicial District Judge John Jones
    • U.S. Circuit Judge Jane Jones
  • Court needed in the title:
    • Juvenile Court Judge John Jones
    • Criminal Court Judge John Jones
    • Supreme Court Chief Justice Jane Jones