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Department Branding

Each unit at Stanford can help to protect and promote the university’s brand by adhering to Stanford guidelines.

Guidelines
Must-read guidelines and policy
Using a department signature
How-to and what you need
Department signature source files
Use these template files

Department signature guidelines

Stanford schools, academic departments, administrative units, institutes, centers and labs should use a department signature

A department signature is a formal combination of the Stanford name and emblems with an individual official unit’s name – this lockup functions as that unit’s logo. Using a department signature represents Stanford in a direct capacity, demonstrates official status and proper visual hierarchy within the university, and it unifies the experience for people interacting with Stanford.

Use the department signature system to keep our identity recognizable and effective. Unique unit logos create confusion for people interacting with Stanford and undermine our visual identity overall.

Should use a department signature

  • Schools
  • Academic Departments
  • Administrative Units
  • Institutes, Centers and Labs

Should not use a department signature

  • Individual People/Professors/Students/Staff (i.e. Stanford | Firstname Lastname)
  • Student Groups
  • Non-official Groups (i.e. Communities of Practice)

Special cases

Special events, initiatives & anniversaries

Official Stanford units may create short-term-use logos for special occasions such as annual events, campaigns and anniversaries. These logos can augment – but never replace – your department branding. They should not incorporate Stanford emblems, except where they modify your existing department signature. Before final approval and use, these marks should be reviewed.

We are available for review, clarity and feedback.

  • Example: Graduate School of Education Centennial

Limitations on use

To protect Stanford’s non-profit status and its teaching and research mission, Stanford’s logo and name may not be used to promote third-party organizations on websites, social media or marketing materials. Co-branding and other uses of Stanford’s identity by third-parties can imply a relationship that doesn’t exist, or may appear to endorse other organizations, their products or services.

If you have questions about a specific situation, contact us.

Relevant Policy

Unit Logos

At the request of the Office of the Provost, all logos and wordmarks developed by externally facing campus units require approval of the offices of University Communications and Trademark Licensing, with final approval by the Office of the Provost, as needed. For more information, please consult the Unit Logo Policy.

Unit Logo Policy

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Using a Department Signature

How-to guide for creating and using a department signature

There is more than one correct way to create a department signature

The signature depends on how many (or how few) levels you need to include, or how formal or informal you need to be (for example: including "Department of" or "Center for" or not). For units with long titles or donor names, you can use the smaller first line option to help everything fit.

There are many situations that can get complicated. If the proper levels to display are difficult to discern or there’s no practical way to simplify, the department signature system can accommodate multi-level lockups. We may need to talk through your situation case by case.

You should have multiple versions of your department signature

Create a cardinal version for light color backgrounds and a white version for dark color or image backgrounds. Save an EPS version of your logo (in CMYK color space) for print, and a PNG version of your logo (with transparency) for digital and web. Having vertical as well as horizontal versions will give you flexibility for different layouts. All these versions taken together will comprise a department signature system of 4-8 files.

Horizontal (Cardinal)

Horizontal (White)

Vertical (Cardinal)

Vertical (White)

Do

  • Use the department signature as a unit logo
  • Keep the department signature as simple as possible
  • Spell out the full name of the unit
  • Only use uppercase semibold source sans pro for school-level names
  • Only use italic source sans pro for relevant parent units
  • Create white and cardinal versions in EPS and PNG files (vertical versions optional) for a full department signature system

Don't

  • Don’t show too many levels of hierarchy because it will be more difficult to recognize your unit
  • Don’t use a tagline in your unit signature because it is not a part of your unit name
  • Don’t use acronyms in your unit signature because many people won't know what they mean (even if you're confident your current audience will)
  • Don’t change fonts, font sizes, or colors because we the unit signature pattern should stay consistent
  • Don’t move elements around or change alignment because we have already designed horizontal and vertical versions to fit different layouts
  • Don’t use other logos with a department signature because it dillutes your unit's brand and can confuse users
  • Don't use your department signature as a social media profile icon because we have a social media icon template for that

Common Mistakes

The graphics on these pages are a few examples of incorrect usage and alterations of unit signatures. Using the template files we provide and following our guidelines in this section will help avoid these mistakes.

Dont vertically center the wordmark next to unit names because the wordmark should align with the bottom of the unit name

Don't center unit names under the wordmark because the unit name should align left with the wordmark

Don't use a tagline in the department signature because it's not part of the unit name

Don't add space on either side of the vertical pipe

Don't use acronyms because they are not part of the unit name and it is often not clear what they mean

Don't use Cardinal Red on top of black or dark backgrounds (use the all white version instead)

Don't use uppercase semibold for anything but a school or university-wide initiative

Dont' use a second pipe to separate levels of hierarchy

Don't use your department signature as a profile icon because we have a social media icon template for that

Don't convert or save from CMYK for digital because the wordmark will turn magenta

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Use these template files

Download source files for creating a department signature

You will need Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator in order to customize these template files. All of these files are avialable in Adobe Photoshop .psd (for web and digital applications) and Adobe Illustrator .eps (for print and physical applications). You will also need to have the font Source Sans installed which can be downloaded from the Typography page. If you need help or feedback creating a department signature please reach out to us and we can assist.

Starting with our template files will be the simplest option, but if you need to create a department signature from scratch, use these technical reproduction notes.

Click to expand technical reproduction notes

These diagrams for academic signature configurations show element alignments, spacing and relative sizes. The point size specifications demonstrate both line spacing, leading and title size relationships. When signatures need to be either larger or smaller, the relative scale of elements should be observed. The configuration using all capital letters in Source Sans Pro semibold are reserved for our seven schools and a few select university-wide initiatives. Please contact us before using that option.

Signature configurations for schools and academic departments

First Tier
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 15 pt Source Sans Semibold, all capitals. Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.
Second Tier
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 15 pt Source Sans Semibold, all capitals, Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.
Second tier entities: 12 pt Source Sans Regular, capitals and lowercase, set kerning to optical.

Signature configurations for academic departments, administrative units, institutes and centers

First Tier – One line
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 12.75 pt Source Sans Regular, capitals and lowercase. Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.
First Tier - Two Lines
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 10.5/11.25 pt Source Sans Regular, capitals and lowercase. Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.
Second Tier – One Line
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 8.25 pt Source Sans Italic, capitals and lowercase. Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.
Second tier entities: 10.5 pt Source Sans Regular, capitals and lowercase, set kerning to optical.
Second Tier – Two Lines
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 8.25 pt Source Sans Italic, capitals and lowercase. Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.
Second tier entities: 10.5/11.25 pt Source Sans Regular, capitals and lowercase. Set kerning to optical.
Vertical Configuration
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 12.75 pt Source Sans Regular, capitals and lowercase. Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.

Horizontal layout options

Unit (1 line)

Unit (2 lines)

Unit (2 lines, big/small)

Unit + Level (1 line)

Unit (2 lines) + Level

School + Unit (1 line)

Alt School + Unit (1 line)

School + Unit (2 lines)

School Only

School + Unit + Level

Multidisciplinary (or long school name)

Vertical layout options

Unit

School

School + Unit

School + Unit + Level

You should end up with a flexible department signature system

At the end of creating a full department signature system you should have white and cardinal versions of both the horizontal and vertical department signature layouts. Each of these four options should be saved as an .eps file for print and as a .png file for digital applications. Altogether, you should have 8 files.

Layout Color For Print For Digital & Web
Horizontal Cardinal .EPS .PNG
Horizontal White .EPS .PNG
Vertical Cardinal .EPS .PNG
Vertical White .EPS .PNG

We are here to help

Branding situations can require extra context and you may not have access to or skill with the programs necessary to create a Department Signature. Please feel free to reach out to us for help with creating these.

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