Brand Identity & Visual Standards

Guidelines for creating UofL-branded marketing materials and websites

Brand History

The University of Louisville brand has a rich history stretching back to the 1800s. Below are major milestones in our brand timeline that have established significant visual changes.

Old university seal illustration


Minerva (University Seal)

The university’s seal depicting the Roman goddess of wisdom has been used since at least the early 1850s. The current version was designed by Victor Hammer (and also the seals of the City of Louisville and the Louisville Free Public Library) and reworked in 1992 by Steven Skaggs, professor of graphic design.

John Patterson


Mascot & School Colors Adopted

The wife of Liberal Arts dean (and eventual UofL president) John Patterson suggests the adoption of the state bird as the mascot for athletics department, as well as red & black school colors.

Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal Bird


First Mascot Appearance

Two female cheerleaders, along with fellow cheerleader T. Lee Adams create a cloth Cardinal head. Uniforms and merchandise use generic L in collegiate slab serif.

Early cardinal mascot illustration


Early Mascots

Early version of student-drawn mark.

Red Rage logo


Red Rage

Not an officially-adopted logo, but used primarily by the football team, under coach Vince Gibson, for several years in the late 1970s. Designed by Stewart Winner Inc.

Flower of Knowledge logo


The Flower of Knowledge

Commissioned under President Miller at a cost of $1,000, the mark (intended to compliment the university seal) was never fully adopted due to controversy.

Old monogram


First Academic Identity Program

First identity program released to complement the Minerva. Designed by Stewart Winner Inc., it included a monogram, one-line logo and stacked logo. Brand typography was established as Caslon 540 and Helvetica.

Old athletic mascot


Athletic Logos

The first effort at establishing official university athletic logos. Several additional sport-specific logos were illustrated by a student on the baseball team.

Late 1990s athletic mark


Athletic Rebrand

The department of athletics rebranded the mascot and logos during this time period. Created by the firm SME from New York City. The gothic L was introduced by football coach John L. Smith during this time as well.

2008 Its Happening Here mark


Complete Academic Rebrand

Complete overhaul of non-athletic brand and identity by SME. “It’s Happening Here.” tagline launched. Academic red changed to PMS 1797 and secondary palette remastered. Introduction of new primary logo, new monogram and new secondary logos. Regulations set on what university entities qualified for marks. Typefaces chosen were Helvetica Neue, Giovanni and Delta Jaeger.

One Line University Logo


Academic Brand Refresh

Added script typeface Brisa, a one-line version of the logo, removed icons for secondary logos, remastered all logos for consistency and partially retired the “It’s Happening Here.” tagline.

Louisville First Cards Forever


L1C4 and

Athletics changed website URL and launched a collection of promotional marks. Louisville First Cards Forever mark created. Athletic Red changed to PMS 200.

Current athletic logo


Athletic Brand Standards

First comprehensive brand standards manual for athletics. Bird head made primary mark (retiring winged bird). L1C4 and marks subverted. Established typefaces as Gotham, Mercury and Vitesse.

Blank, ignore


Academic Brand Refresh

Retirement of “It’s Happening Here.” tagline. New typefaces (Gotham, Mercury, Knockout), introduction of campaign typeface, new secondary color palette. Additional guidelines for digital, social, photography and merchandise also added.

Communications & Marketing

University of Louisville

2323 S. Brook St.

Louisville, KY 40208

(502) 852-6171