Visual identity


In addition to the logos, wordmarks, colors and typography, the brand includes photo treatments and graphic elements that can be used alone or together to create a recognizable, powerful and unique visual identity for the university.


Gradients are a useful tool when you want to put text on top of images that are busy, or when you want to emphasize Illini colors in your design. When adding gradients to images, a slight diagonal gradient creates a more dynamic layout. You can also create slightly different effects by adding blend modes to the gradient.

Gradient maps

Gradient maps are useful applications for a variety of scenarios:

  • When you want to layer text on top of a photo (the preferred color versions work best for this).
  • When you have a stand-alone message that you want to emphasize, while still incorporating photos.
  • When the photo you need to use isn’t very high quality, when the photo’s colors are dull, or when you want to incorporate more U of I colors in the photo and/or design.

Split background

The split background, which further-emphasizes the hero concept, is a custom effect intended to inspire designers on campus. It starts with a strong, full-color photo that features a single subject in the foreground. The same photo is used again with a gradient map applied. In the final application, the subject should always be in full color and should be “facing” the side of the background that is also in full color. (Think: The future is bright and colorful for U of I students.)


These fingerprint-like graphics are a visual nod to the brand’s focus on the individual and the tailored experience the university offers students. The fingerprint pattern can be used on its own or layered on top of photos (with an “overlay” blend mode). Line thickness, direction and color can all be changed to best fit your application.

Word clouds

Word clouds help communicate brand messages in a visual and subtle way. The general, university-wide word cloud we’ve created can be used on its own (always with a similar background color – ie: two tones of orange or two tones of blue) or on top of photos for a dynamic look. Look for opportunities in the future to have unit-specific word clouds created for you.