Brand Identity & Visual Standards

Guidelines for creating UofL-branded marketing materials and websites

Frequently Asked Questions


What's the difference between a brand and a campaign?
Our brand is a macro expression of who we are. When we speak of the UofL core brand, we mean the broad collection of traits and guiding principles that define our identity.
  • Long-term, enduring manifestation of who we are
  • Broadly applicable across the university, to all audiences
  • Inspires all levels of communication and action; what we say and do
Campaign is a micro expression of our brand that serves a specific purpose. We create campaigns to meet strategic and tactical communication goals.
  • Shorter-term, focusing on timely goals, trends
  • Focused on specific audiences, but can serve as a rallying cry for many
  • Focused on outputs: ads, collateral, social media
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What is the Brand Evolution Initiative?
The Brand Evolution Initiative is a way for UofL to evolve its culture and how we outwardly express who we are and what we stand for (our “why”); and ensure the experience we provide to our students and other constituents aligns with that “why.” It is a powerful tool to help us to reinvigorate a sense of pride and optimism across our campuses, and to tell our story to the world.
There are two parts to the evolution: 1) establishing brand positioning and a communication framework for our core brand; 2) launching the “Here & Beyond” campaign (Launching January 2022).
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How do I write on brand?
Making an emotional connection with your audience is the key to getting them interested in learning more and taking action. Resources are available to assist you in the creation of branded messaging content.
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How did we determine our messaging, personality, voice, tone and pillars?
We conducted market research in 2018 and again in 2020 to help us determine our “why”, who we are and our core values. Then we followed a clear path set forth for us in UofL’s strategic plan and our Cardinal Principles. All that combined led to our brand framework. This foundation was used to inform our guidance on messaging, personality, voice, tone and pillars.
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Do I have to use only red and black?
Red and black are what we are known for, so the dominant colors—those most easily seen upon first glance—should always be red and black. That being said, they're bold colors and a little can go a long way. Use common sense and make sure that you're paying attention to legibility in what you're creating.
If you are unsure, you can email us at for a quick check.
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I want my stuff to look different. Can I use the secondary palette instead?
Our secondary palette exists as a supporting player in the cast, to help soften the bold spirit of our primary palette. The secondary colors should never be the dominant colors in what you create, as they are not identifiably UofL.
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What is CMYK and RGB? Why are our reds different?
In general, CMYK is a color space used for printing. RGB is a color space for screens. Because our red is pretty fierce in print (publications, merchandise, etc.), that doesn't make for the best viewing experience on back-lit screens (web, presentations, email signatures, etc.)—it can be pretty harsh. We darken the red values in our RGB palette, so please be aware when creating things on-brand. And be sure that you're using the correct version of the logo for your application (CMYK or RGB).
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Can my [department, office, committee, etc.] have a logo?
With a brand as large and complex as ours, you can imagine there are qualifications for eligibility for sub-brand marks. Schools, colleges, board-approved centers/institutes are awarded logos due to their need to compete in the marketplace. We follow a standard model of brand architecture and have restricted who is awarded sub-brands.
Check the qualifications, and if you're still unsure you can contact us to find out if you qualify.
In general, if you work in an office, department, lab, committee, or other administrative unit, your marketing and advertising will use the main UofL logo.
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Can I use the bird (or Minerva, Gothic L, older cardinal birds, etc.)?
It depends. We love our mascot, but using the correct mark is important.
The Cardinal Bird by itself is our primary athletic logo, and is not appropriate for non-athletic entities to use (this applies to the Gothic L and all athletic marks). The primary signature of the university combines the bird head with our wordmark and may be used without modification by non-athletic units.
The Minerva is very special to us, and (like almost all other universities) we also protect the use of it to preserve that. Read more about how the seal is used.
Older marks (e.g. old versions of the cardinal bird, monogram, etc.) should not be used except for very special projects and only with permission.
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Where can I get logos?
High-resolution PDFs of main university marks (excluding athletic marks, the university seal or college/school marks) are available for UofL faculty, staff and students. More information can be found in our public brand portal.
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Can I use a UofL logo on [insert object or project]?
We hope so! We love when people represent UofL. But with any brand as widely-known as ours, there are policies and procedures in place to protect it. Check out our licensing information to learn about what restrictions there are when using our marks.
 Fill out the artwork request form
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Can I just use the fonts on my computer?
If you're working on a document, presentation, etc. that will only be seen by audiences on campus, yes. However, if you're creating something that is meant to be seen or used by outside audiences (brochures, merchandise, websites, publications), you should use our brand fonts.
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My unit would like to purchase the brand fonts. How do we do this?
The Office of Communications and Marketing is able to get a volume discount for brand fonts. Let us know how many seats (users) you need and we can purchase the typefaces for you at a greatly reduced rate, without additional charge.
 Fill out the font request form
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Can I use the brand fonts on our website? PowerPoint? Word?
Yes! (sort of). The Office of Communications and Marketing has integrated our the brand fonts into many Plone web templates, but not all. Since the university is moving to a new CMS in the near future and templates being redesigned, be sure to join the WebGuides community to stay up to date on those coming changes including brand font integration on the web. For your office documents, you are able to use the brand fonts if you have purchased a license. Many of our branded assets and templates offer support for these. However, be advised that depending on the software you are using and the file format you are sharing (e.g. PDF vs .docx), the fonts may not be viewable to collaborators and peers due to license restrictions. Fallback/system fonts would be used for those individuals upon opening the file.
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General application of the brand

How do I find someone to make my [insert project]?
The Office of Communications & Marketing has marketing liaisons that serve a portion of the university community. For those interested in checking the availability of OCM, start with our creative brief form. Additionally, UofL has two outside agencies that specialize in marketing, advertising, design and web development that are available for hire.
For more information, please contact us.
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How do I get UofL-branded files?
Our downloads section has a wide selection of pre-made assets and templates to download, for use in both Microsoft and Adobe software. Many items are available to the general public, but publication templates are targeted to UofL faculty, staff and student use.
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I'm interested in selling [insert product] with UofL's logo, how do I do that?
Make sure that you're up to date on our licensing and merchandise information. If you'd like to begin the process of becoming an CLC-licensed vendor in order to sell your products with a UofL logo on them, check out CLC's website.
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How do I create a UofL website?
Filling out a request form (login required) will start the process. Once approved, a staged (for building purposes) site will be created and you can choose the theme and focus on creating your content. Once ready to go live, simply revisit your request form and indicate that you're ready to start the launch process. Your site will go through a brief review process (for brand compliance and 508 adherence). Once everything is in shape your site will be published under the address for your project. Instructions on the site request tool.
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Can I design my own website for my [department, lab, etc.]?
Visual consistency is a signifier of a brand's success. Beginning in 2019, UofL websites must use the official university templates for new projects. Read more about this.
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Can I buy a .com address?
It isn't appropriate to use a commercial (.com) domain extension for an educational entity who is not-for-profit in status. We're also stronger in numbers. Generally speaking, from a search standpoint you will fare much better (higher search ranking) for your site with it under the domain due to the immensity of our web footprint. Read more about this.
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How do I get photos to use?
The Office of Communications and Marketing uses a digital asset management system to store and organize university photography. OCM offers accounts for select campus use, but are limited in number. For more information see the photography section of this site.
In the meantime, a selection of photos can always be found on the UofL Flickr account and our public brand portal.
Communications & Marketing

University of Louisville

2323 S. Brook St.

Louisville, KY 40208

(502) 852-6171