Brand Identity & Visual Standards

Guidelines for creating UofL-branded marketing materials and websites

Email Signatures & Avatars

One of the most-used and personal means of conveying our brand is through email. Whether we are communicating with prospective students, donors, colleagues at other universities or one another, we must make an effort to strike the appropriate balance between function and personality when crafting a digital signature.

At all times, our primary aim when sending an email should be clear, effective communication. Graphic artwork should be confined to simple brand acknowledgement so as not to distract from the messaging.

Email Signatures

Some do's and don'ts:


  • Provide several ways to be contacted.
  • Put emphasis on the content, not the visuals.
  • Use visual hierarchy to make your signature easy to read.
  • Use brand-approved typefaces.
  • Use brand-approved color (selectively).
  • Keep logos small and high quality (no pixelation).
  • Be sure any linked content (e.g. social media links) are large enough to be comfortably interacted with on touch-based devices.


  • Do not use quotes, lyrics or other inspirational messages.
  • Do not list details in excess. Be selective when choosing social media accounts, etc.
  • Do not list a URL outside of the domain.
  • Do not use decorative typefaces.
  • Do not use non-brand colors.
  • Do not use non-academic logos.
  • Do not use background graphics.



Email Signatures

UofL offers an email signature wizard to create a personalized, on-brand signature for use in Outlook:


When creating email signatures in Microsoft Outlook, consider your audience. Consider modifying your preferences so that email signatures are not automatic, but rather a manual addition. This will allow you to choose if the person you are contacting needs either a specific version of your signature (e.g. a more simplified version for frequent contacts) or perhaps no signature at all (e.g. for co-workers who know you personally and work in a close context).

Additionally, if you serve the university in more than one professional context (titles, offices, etc.), rather than create one signature that captures all of that information, for clarity and brevity it is recommended to have separate signatures to best address the particular audience of any given email exchange.

example email signature
example email signature
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Email Avatars/Profile Photos

University digital platforms such as Outlook 365™ that offer the ability to customize an avatar or profile photograph should be utilized with professionalism and an understanding that you are representing the university.

The preferred avatar would be a professional studio portrait or headshot. If you are in need of having a new or updated headshot taken, contact the Office of Communication & Marketing at 502.852.6171.

Professionalism should be of primary concern when implementing a digital avatar. Select artwork that respectfully represents yourself and your university.

Some do's and don'ts:


  • Provide immediate visual recognition of who you are.
  • Be sure that the artwork has a copyright license you are permitted to use.
  • Be tasteful and professional.
  • Utilize high-quality artwork or photography.
  • Utilize brand-compliant artwork if not using a headshot.


  • Do not utilize illegitimate or sub-brand logos.
  • Do not use abstract illustrations, personal photos etc.
  • Do not use outdated academic or athletic UofL logos.
  • Do not use an uncropped personal photo.
  • Do not crop or obscure UofL logos.

Recommended Profile Photo Configurations

  1. Professional studio portrait or headshot (cropped to be visible at small sizes)
  2. Default platform placeholder, e.g. initials (no action required)
  3. Monogram against a transparent or solid background
  4. Primary athletic mark (cardinal bird) against a transparent or solid background


Similar to social media, icon conventions for other digital platforms use a mix of circle and square formats. These images are small in dimension, and in the context of desktop or mobile email clients (e.g. Outlook), the primary purpose is immediate visual recognition.

  • 649x649 pixel maximum size
  • 72 dpi resolution
  • RGB color format
  • JPG (photos) or PNG/GIF (logos)
example email profile placement

General, brand-compliant UofL avatars are available to UofL faculty, staff and students for use without modification.


Service Accounts

Service email accounts (sponsored accounts) should use non-personal profile photos. Users interacting with a service email account expect to be in conversation with someone who represents a group/service, not an individual person. As such, the avatar should be an appropriate institutional logo.

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Communications & Marketing

University of Louisville

2323 S. Brook St.

Louisville, KY 40208

(502) 852-6171