Brand Identity & Visual Standards

Guidelines for creating UofL-branded marketing materials and websites

URL Policy

Approved Nov. 2006 / Revised Jun. 2018


In order to ensure that the mission and identity of the university are being appropriately supported, the University of Louisville controls the function and designation of the names of its web servers, domains and resources.

The University also controls the peripheral naming schemes associated with URLs, such as vanity URLs, short URLs and other redirects, for practical management of the University's collective digital presence and search engine optimization.

This policy applies to all administrative, academic and other organizational units of the University of Louisville, as well as any domain purchased using university funds.


(uniform resource locator) A World Wide Web address for locating a specific, web‐accessible resource. URLs are formulated by a standardized scheme of web server names, domain names, resource types, file paths, and file names.
URL structure where the traditional "www" prefix is replaced as the first part of the URL, e.g.
Vanity URL
A separate domain name purchased specifically to redirect internet traffic to a different web location, for the purposes of uniqueness, distinction and/or brevity.
Top-level domain
The root of all UofL websites is, and within a university setting, top-level domains are considered sites that are one file path extension immediately following. E.g.
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University of Louisville web domain names are managed and applied by Information Technology (IT).

The Office of Communications & Marketing (OCM) determines and assigns the university's domain. No URLs are assigned to this domain unless they directly support the University's marketing efforts.

No external URL (.com, .net, .org, et al.) may be purchased or used without prior written consent of OCM

IT and OCM may refuse or disable a URL that violates the intentions of this policy.

Appeal Process

Appeals may be directed to the Director of Web by emailing


Site names on the domain are established with the goal of being human-readable (no acronyms unless industry standard, e.g. HR) and optimized for search engine discovery. Following best practices established in the web industry, and knowing that over 50% of UofL web traffic begins from a web search (as opposed to direct navigation or redirection from another site), the following standard has been put forth:

  • All colleges, schools, board-approved centers/institutes, university-wide initiatives/services and all marketing initiatives are eligible to be awarded a top-level domain (
  • All faculty websites will be placed under
  • All research content will be placed under or else the organizational parent of the lab or research project, e.g.
  • All other URL requests will be reviewed by OCM for final assignment.
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Subdomains are solely reserved for functionally-required use and are approved by IT/OCM on a case‐by‐case basis.

Requests for subdomains must demonstrate functional or business‐critical purposes not otherwise addressable by university services.

Subdomain assignments must be requested prior to initiation of contracts, purchases, or other commitments for services not offered by the University of Louisville. Purchases or commitments made without prior consultation with IT or OCM will be ineligible for receiving subdomain accommodation.

Subdomains given prior to 2006 are permitted to be retained, however they must serve only as redirects to the appropriate top-level domain and must not be used in any marketing or promotional capacity. E.g. business.louisville.edumust redirect to

The prefix 'www' is no longer used (as of April 2009) and should not be used in any printed marketing materials, email signatures, social media profiles, etc.

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Vanity URLs

Occasionally a vanity URL (.com, .org, .me, et al.) may be approved by OCM based on the purpose or audience of the site. No vanity URLs may be purchased or obtained without prior approval by OCM.

Any vanity URL that is approved by OCM for purchase must include the purchase and installation of an SSL certificate, at additional cost to the purchasing unit.

All vanity URLs and associated SSL certificates for those domains should be registered through IT, so as to centralize billing and contact for the registration.

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Short URLs

The domain has been established as a marketing-driven URL shortening service for the University of Louisville. The purpose of this service, which is hosted by IT and operated by OCM, is to create brief, memorable URLs for sub-units, groups or events for marketing purposes that otherwise do not quality for top-level domains. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Printing of URLs on merchandise, publications or other collateral where space is of concern
  • Video, radio or television advertising where the audience is required to remember the URL


Requests for a short URL ( may be made through OCM via our form.


Use of the shortening service is at present restricted to UofL OCM. OCM awards shortened URLs in order to assure no conflict with existing URLs. To inquire if your unit has been granted an approved short URL, contact

Who is Eligible?

  • Departments, divisions, offices, degree programs, or other organizational units within the university who have not been granted a top-level domain ( address, or
  • Established university events (commencement, Welcome Week, Move-In Day)


  • Only domains may be shortened.
  • Existing top-level domains (e.g. do not qualify for shortened URLs as they already have brief web addresses.
  • Time-based shortening (for temporary news or promotion) is not permitted. E.g. shortening a web URL for sharing on social media. These requests should still utilize the service.
  • Approved addresses may only redirect to the home page (index) of the eligible entity. Shortening of supplemental content or other pages is not permitted.
  • Any entity granted a address is not eligible for additional redirection.


  • instead of
  • instead of
  • instead of


OCM reserves the right to terminate any previously awarded shortened URL if:

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Communications & Marketing

University of Louisville

2323 S. Brook St.

Louisville, KY 40208

(502) 852-6171