Artwork Do's and Don'ts

Below is a list of examples of artwork do's and don'ts when using the University's logos and marks. The do's and don'ts are provided as guidelines for artwork design. They are not representative of everything you can and cannot do. Please contact the Trademarks & Licensing Office if you have specific questions about artwork design or visit the University's Brand Guide, linked below.

Artwork Do's

  • Review the Branding Standards Manual before beginning the design process.
  • Use either a (R) or TM next to all University logos and word marks.
  • Keep safe space around all University logos.
  • Officially registered student organizations through the Office of Student Activities & Leadership Development have access to the University's spirit marks when appropriate.
  • When possible, departments and colleges should include the University's institutional logo in the design.  When space does not allow for the use of the institutional logo, the "University of Cincinnati" should be used in text.
  • When using a spirit mark, the organization's name must appear next to the logo.
  • Officially registered student organizations through the Office of Student Activities & Leadership Development can create their own logo.  In the logo, they can use "University of Cincinnati", "Cincinnati", or "UC" in text.  Use of the University's logos and of the word "Bearcats" is not allowed.  See the Student Organization Logo Guidelines (LINK) for more information.
  • If you are using the University's brand in conjunction with a third party's brand, receive permission in writing from both the University and the third party prior to production.  See the Endorsement Policy for more details.
  • Submit a Student Organization Request Form once you have completed your artwork design and have selected a vendor.
  • Contact the Trademarks & Licensing Office if you have any questions about artwork design.

Artwork Don'ts

  • University departments do not have permission to use spirit marks. Spirit marks may not be used to represent academic or administrative units of the University. These marks are approved for use only by the Athletics Department and on a case-by-case basis registered student organizations.
  • Do not combine institutional logos with spirit marks.
  • Do not alter any of the University's logos.
  • Do not replace a letter or letters in a word with one of the University's logos.
  • Do not use the logos on a busy background
  • Do not use a flag in the design.  See the Flag Policy for more details.
  • Do not use the name, numbers and/or images of a University of Cincinnati student athlete in the design
  • Do not create a design that promotes discrimination in any way.  See the Discrimination Policy for more details.
  • Do not use the University's brand on products that are risky or may be harmful to the mission or image of the University.  See the Risky Products Policy for more details.
  • Do not claim copyright or trademark any design that utilizes the University's brand.  All rights belong to the University.


Do not replace letters in a word with a logo or add a logo to part of a sentence or headline.

Do not place logos over photos, textures, or colors that make the logo difficult to read.

Do not attach text to a logo while not preserving the safe space. Safe space is equal to the height of the C in 'Cincinnati'. 

Do not alter the logo in any way, including modifying the type, adding elements to the logo, not preserving the proportions, or changing the color.

Do not apply a drop shadow to any logos. 

Do not use a logo more than once on a document or item.

Do not mix spirit marks and University logos on the same document or item. 

Do not use the secondary logo without approval. The secondary logo should only be used when there are space limitations.