University Brand Guide

Our brand strategy focuses our narrative and brings out our strengths. These guiding fundamentals are the foundation for all brand communications and design. 

As the unparalleled leader in experience-based learning, the University of Cincinnati puts education into action by moving far beyond traditional classroom learning.

We believe experience-based learning puts education into action. We believe in collaboration — among disciplines, across borders and to solve our biggest challenges. We believe in connecting with the world, beyond our classrooms and our campus. We believe in inclusion, and that true learning requires an understanding of diverse points of view.

Our logo is dynamic and “unleashed.” It is both forward-thinking and established. It places priority on Cincinnati, conveying pride and strength of place. The UC logo must appear prominently on all communication.

The development and use of separate logos to represent the University of Cincinnati is prohibited. The only approved way for a unit or program to display its name as a logo is as part of a “lockup.” 


Primary Brandmark

The logo is staged on white, red, or black. When placing on photography, find quiet areas within the composition that provide contrast and legibility. 


University of Cincinnati primary logo

University of Cincinnati primary logo [black text and red monogram on a white field]

UC Logo on Red field

University of Cincinnati primary logo [white text and monogram on a red field]

UC logo on black field

University of Cincinnati primary logo [white text and red monogram on a black field]

Secondary Brandmark

The primary logo is preferred and should be used whenever possible. It best conveys the idea of “education unleashed.” The secondary logo is allowed for environments when the primary logo won’t work. Seek guidance from the Brand Review Committee.

In extreme situations, special use options are approved on a case-by-case basis by the Brand Review Committee.


UC logo illustrating proper safe space surrounding logo

Logo Safe Space

Proper incorporation of safe space protects the integrity of the UC logo. A clear area or “safe space” free of copy, graphic elements, inset imagery, or color must be maintained around the UC logo.

No visual elements may violate the safe space. An area around the UC logo equal to the height of the letter “C” is the minimum required safe space.


Incorrect Usage

Do not:

  • shift the logo elements
  • alter the fonts
  • alter the brand colors
  • place the logo or symbol alone in a line of text
  • skew, stretch or distort
  • add effects
  • place on complex backgrounds
  • add an outline
  • change proportion or alignment.


“Lockups” connect college names and other major units and programs to the university master brand. 

Lockups are not appropriate for every unit nor for every communication. Please review the following guidelines before considering a lockup.


Academic Units

Formal and informal lockups have been created for all colleges and are available for download and immediate use.

In most cases, the college-level lockup or the UC logo alone will be the most appropriate mark for all academic communication.

However, colleges are free to allow —or not allow— the use of departmental or smaller unit lockups. All such lockups must be approved by the appropriate college dean. It is strongly recommended that colleges seek guidance from their internal communications staff and/or the Brand Review Committee prior to proposing smaller unit lockups. 


Non-Academic Units

In most cases, the UC logo alone will be the most appropriate mark. Non-academic units should avoid using lockups.

Divisions and larger, umbrella units are free to allow —or not allow— the development and use of lockups, both at the division and smaller unit level. All non-academic lockups must be approved by the appropriate division head, VP or leadership team. In addition, it is strongly recommended that non-academic units seek guidance from the Brand Review Committee prior to proposing a unit lockup.

To determine whether a lockup is warranted, consider and be prepared to articulate the following: 

  • Is it meaningful and necessary to the target audience? How? Why?
  • Can identifying or acknowledging a particular service or program be accomplished through messaging?
  • What is gained —or lost— with a lockup over use of the UC logo alone?
  • Does the unit have a retail or commercial mission? 


Lockups Do's and Don'ts

It is never wrong to use the UC logo alone, with the unit name elsewhere in the communication.

  • If more than one unit needs to be acknowledged in the communication, use the UC logo alone. Do not use two lockups in the same communication.
  • Lockups must follow the prescribed template for font, type size, spacing and color.
  • Lockups replace all typographical arrangements for college names, even those previously approved. Seek guidance from the Brand Review Committee.
  • Lockups are not allowed on standard business communication such as letterhead, business cards and forms. Standard business communication uses the UC logo alone.


Our Colors

When used consistently, color is a powerful brand identifier. Our UC colors are bold, strong and attention-grabbing.

Flat Colors

Banner Red Flat
PMS 186C
RGB: 224.1.34
HSB: 350.92.80
Hex: #e00122

Beyond Black Flat
100% Black
RGB: 0.0.0
HSB: 0.0.0
Hex: #000000

Unwritten White Flat
0% Black
RGB: 255.255.255
HSB: 0.0.100
Hex: #ffffff


Use color expression to provide depth and dimension within a layout. The desired effect is a sense of movement and space.


Banner Red

Spot Color: 100% Black to 0% Black Gradient, Multiply, 20% Opacity, Over PMS 186C

Process Color: 100% Black to 0% Black Gradient, Multiply, 20% Opacity, Over Process Build: CMYK

RGB Color: 100% Black to 0% Black Gradient, Multiply, 20% Opacity, Over: RGB 224.1.34

Beyond Black

Spot Color: 75% Black to 100% Black

Unwritten White

Spot Color: 75% Black to 100% Black


Typography extends the visual expression of our brand character and supports our tone of voice in text form.


Preferred Fonts

Open Sans

  • Open Sans Light
  • Open Sans Regular
  • Open Sans Semibold
  • Open Sans Bold
  • Open Sans Extra Bold

Gentium Book Basic

  • Gentium Book Basic Regular
  • Gentium Book Basic Italic
  • Gentium Book Basic Bold
  • Gentium Book Basic Bold

In addition, Myriad and Minion remain acceptable for use. GT Eesti Pro Text Regular is preferred for lockups. Open Sans is the acceptable (free) substitute.


Outline Treatment

Emphasis on a word or phrase can be created using the outline treatment, creating a sense of space, dimension and interaction with the scene.

The outline treatment should be reserved for Open Sans Bold or Extra Bold. 


Secondary Assets

Our graphic elements and photography bring activity and dimension to our primary visual assets, further unleashing the UC brand. (Secondary assets are available for view by request.)


The Monogram

The monogram graphic is a highly identifiable derivative of the symbol. The monogram provides for a robust range of layering and depth.

University of Cincinnati monogram

University of Cincinnati monogram

The Monogram Collection (or “kit of parts”)

Shapes deconstructed from the monogram become layering elements to express multidimensionality. Using the collection allows for a greater level of expression and helps convey the active and dynamic nature of the university. 

Collection of graphic elements from the UC Kit of Parts

Collection of graphic elements from the UC Kit of Parts

College and Proprietary Graphics

A system of graphics has been created allowing each college and certain, few major units to “own” a visual element. Although based on architecture (to leverage a university differentiator), they are purposefully abstracted and not meant to be interpreted literally. Used properly, they:

  • underscore the dimensional and textured experience that is “education unleashed”
  • create a common visual thread among all communication • create unique shapes for photo, color and graphic placement
  • affect typography and photography in unexpected ways
College Graphic for the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning

An example of the College Graphics for the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning

Most non-academic units will NOT qualify for the creation of a separate, proprietary graphic and instead will use the monogram graphic and kit of parts to create a similar effect. However, proprietary graphics may be appropriate for certain major, non-academic units as determined by the Brand Review Committee. Criteria for approval includes:

  • Size/scope of the unit
  • Whether the unit is associated with a single, significant building
  • Historical considerations – e.g., the unit wants to transition away from a particular graphic or image it used consistently in the past

Non-academic units that meet the criteria described at left must first obtain approval for development of a graphic prior to any design work being done. The graphic must

  • be approved by the Brand Review Committee, prior to creation AND before distribution or publication
  • be based on architecture associated with the unit
  • adhere to the established style of the system
  • be created by UC Creative Services or by another professional source pre-approved by the Brand Review Committee


The University Seal

University of Cincinnati seal

University seal

The seal is an important pillar of our heritage.

The University Seal, adopted in 1904 from the City of Cincinnati insignia, is legally restricted for use on official documents of the university. Consequently, references to the seal in this guide apply only to reproductions or facsimiles of the seal.


Reproduction of the seal is restricted to presidential or Board-related purposes and in recognition of certain prestigious scholarly achievements such as a diploma. The seal is also appropriate for permanent markers, such as architectural elements produced in stone, metal or glass, and for regalia and class rings, subject to licensing approval. Use of the seal must be approved by the division of Governmental Relations and University Communications or by the Brand Review Committee.

The “Alternate Seal” is for use on plaques, clothing, gift items, and merchandise. Use is restricted for licensed goods. Its use is governed by the Office of Trademarks and Licensing.


C-Paw and Athletics Logos

University of Cincinnati C Paw logo

The “C-Paw” and athletics logos are approved for the Department of Athletics and on a case-by-case basis for athletics-related events.

The C-Paw is never permitted to represent academic or administrative units and programs of the university.

Further, staff not employed directly by the Department of Athletics are never permitted to use the C-Paw or athletics logos in their individual communication.


Official student organizations and clubs recognized by the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD) have access to the athletics marks, subject to approval by Trademarks and Licensing.

Merchandise and Licensed Goods

University of Cincinnati merchandise on display in the UC Bookstore

The university owns all trademarks, service marks, trade names, logos, seals, symbols, mascots, and slogans associated with or referring to the University of Cincinnati. The Office of Trademarks & Licensing protects and controls the use of our marks on merchandise and licensed goods, and oversees the quality and appropriateness of products, promotions, and sponsorships for which the marks are used.

All uses of UC’s name and trademarks on products require prior approval from the Office of Trademarks and Licensing, even if the proposed uses do not involve the sale of a product.

All products bearing UC’s trademarks must be produced from companies licensed by the University of Cincinnati through our agent, the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC). All uses of UC trademarks on products will incorporate the appropriate trademark designation symbols (i.e., ® or ™).

Additional information is available on the Office of Trademarks and Licensing website, 



A DAAP student works on a prototype for a car in a studio

Photography demonstrates education in action. Setting, lighting and activity express the concept of “unleashed.”

  • People are engaged in experiences. 
  • The scene feels natural, unscripted. 
  • Strong focus on the individual or on the group is evident. 
  • Models rarely face the camera directly