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Creating on-brand design in three easy steps

October 6, 2020
Design

Since releasing the campus-wide brand standards in July, our team has been working hard to improve and expand the guidance and resources available through our website. We know there are still some areas that could use additional clarity. I want to take a minute to share how designers can apply our current standards to create on-brand visual design for anything – from direct mail pieces to scarves.  

Use these three questions as a litmus test to check if any layout or design you have created is on-brand:

1. Do I violate the rules for unit wordmark and logo placement?

2. Do I use any fonts besides those listed in the typography standards?

3. Do I use any colors outside of our official color palette?

If you answer 'no' to all three questions, then your design is on-brand – bonus points for incorporating some of the visual elements and styles from the graphics section. Let's look at an example:

Winter is coming, and your unit wants to order 100 scarves to hand out to students who attend your socially distant, outdoor informational session on upcoming research opportunities. Without specific guidelines on apparel or branded products (which are coming soon!), let's apply the three questions above to determine whether these scarf designs are on-brand: 

Do I violate the rules for unit wordmarks and logo placement?

Yes. The block I logo should not be grouped with any text or visual elements outside of an official unit wordmark.

Do I use any fonts besides those listed in the typography standards?

No. Source Sans is an approved font.

Do I use any colors outside of our official color palette?

No. The scarf is navy, and the design uses our brand orange and white.

Do I violate the rules for unit wordmarks and logo placement?

No. The Block I has proper clearance and is not grouped with the unit name. 

Do I use any fonts besides those listed in the typography standards?

No. Source Sans is an approved font.

Do I use any colors outside of our official color palette?

Yes. While the imprint is our brand orange and white, the teal color of the scarf is not in our color palette. Select an on-brand product color. 

Do I violate the rules for unit wordmarks and logo placement?

No. The Block I has proper clearance and is not grouped with the unit name.

Do I use any fonts besides those listed in the typography standards? 

No. Source Sans is an approved font.

Do I use any colors outside of our official color palette?

No. The scarf is orange, and the design uses our brand navy and white.

These same criteria can be applied to just about any situation to test if a design is on-brand. Use them when designing your next t-shirt, pull-up banner, or social media ad. If you have any questions, please reach out and someone from our team would be happy to help you out.