University Brand Guide

At the University of Cincinnati, we originated the idea of experiential education. And today, we are continuing to innovate new methods of immersive, hands-on learning unlike anywhere else. We believe that the four walls of a classroom or lecture hall should never confine you or your idea of education. Here, our passion is the boundless pursuit of knowledge, and most important, experience. It is our currency and we seek it out no matter where it may be found. Our vibrant urban setting is a gateway that eagerly invites you to begin pushing out the edges of your own education. UC is where you can take ownership of activating your own unique set of experiences for an advantage that sets you apart and places you ahead of the rest. 

Brand Strategy

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

Brand Promise

Education in Action

Brand Positioning

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

Points of Difference

  • Leaders and innovators in career-ready education
  • Tangible value for money (ROI)
  • Bearcat Promise: graduate with a degree and a career plan
  • Proximity to vibrant urban core
  • Commitment to trans-disciplinary teaching and research

Points of Parity

  • Highly-ranked programs
  • Reputation for quality academics Extensive research activity
  • Variety of majors and degree programs 
  • Safe campus
  • Global presence

Brand Character

The visionary explorer who pursues limitless opportunity. 

Our Tone of Voice

  • Inspiring 
  • Confident 
  • Inclusive 
  • Expressive 
  • Engaging 
  • Optimistic


  • We believe learning is doing and doing is learning.
  • We believe every student should graduate with a degree in one hand and a résumé and career plan in the other.
  • 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.

Reasons to Believe

  • The University of Cincinnati is the global birthplace of cooperative education. The co-op program is currently the largest of its kind at any U.S. public institution.
  • Over 5,000 students placed annually and $50 million earned (2014).
  • Active learning opportunities via partnerships, service learning, clinical experiences. research, etc.
  • UC Forward consists of seven collaboratives, including the Niehoff Urban Studio and Community Design Center, Livewell Collaborative and PACE Global Design and Manufacturing Center

Primary Assets

Learning is different at UC — and our primary visual assets reflect that difference. These building blocks make up the look, tone, and feel of our narrative, and bring exciting new dimensionality to our communications.

The Logo

University of Cincinnati Logo

The UC logo includes both the symbol and the words “University of Cincinnati,” locked together as shown

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 only approved way for a unit or program to display its name as a logo is as part of a “lockup.” The logo is staged on white, red, or black. When placing on photography, find quiet areas within the composition that provide contrast and legibility.

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]

Logo: Secondary and Special Use

The primary logo is preferred and should be used whenever possible. It best conveys the idea of “education unleashed.”

University of Cincinnati secondary logo
University of Cincinnati secondary logo, square

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.


Logo: Safe Space

Proper incorporation of safe space protects the integrity of the UC logo.

UC logo showing appropriate safe space illustrations

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.

Logo: Scale

Maintaining the integrity of our mark is critical, and it must be legible in any instance of use.

The primary logo may not be scaled below 80 px width in digital applications or .75˝ width in print. The secondary logo may not be scaled below 80 px width in digital applications or 1˝ width in print.

This sizing applies to the UC logo portion of lockups and co-brand examples.



“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 Unit Lockups

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 Unit Lockups

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?


The University of Cincinnati may enter into strategic partnerships with external entities. Successful co-branding must always uphold the University’s brand standards and recognize external partners appropriately. A co-branded look, feel, identity and/or campaign is not always necessary. When it is determined that a co-brand is essential it must be developed by Marketing + Communications. This will be developed as a lockup, with the UC logo appearing in the leftmost position.




Unique requests for alternate solutions must be submitted through the brand review form, with final, written approval coming from the brand review committee.

Before any co-branded materials or assets can be developed, you must provide:

  1. explicit approval from the external partner(s) to use their logo
  2. the external partner logo in .eps format with fonts outlined (raster logos (.jpg, .png, .pdf, etc.) are not acceptable and cannot be used)
  3. the external partner brand guide
  4. explicit approval from the appropriate division head, VP or leadership team
  5. an outline including the partnership goals, future projects and opportunities and associated timelines

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.

Lockups are not permitted on digital platforms. Do not place lockups on landing pages, in email signatures, or in social media posts. Lockups may be used in digital ads.

Lockups must follow naming policy guidelines. Seek guidance from the Office of Planning + Design + Construction. Due to production limitations, lockups cannot be replicated on embroidered merchandise.

A special embroidery template exists. Seek guidance from Trademarks and Licensing.


Our Colors

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

Official UC 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

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

Our Colors: Gradations

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

Official UC Red Gradient

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


Spot Color: 0% Black to 20% Black

Our Colors: Expanded Palette

An expanded color palette helps marry hierarchy and accessibility. Secondary colors compliment our primary colors, and bring additional flexibility into our artwork. 

In particular, our secondary palette is recommended for data visualizations.

Calhoun Maroon
Hex: #890519
RGB: 137, 5, 25
CMYK: 28, 100, 98, 32
Steger Silver
Hex: #a7a5aa
RGB: 167, 165, 170
CMYK: 37, 31, 27, 0
Main Street Mist
Hex: #e0dfe3
RGB: 224, 223, 227
CMYK: 11, 9, 6, 0

Bearcat Black
Hex: #333333
RGB:51, 51, 51
CMYK: 69, 63, 62, 58
Gettler Gold
Hex: #d1b179
RGB:209, 177, 121
CMYK: 19, 28, 60, 0
Tangeman Tan
Hex: #eadbc1
RGB: 234, 219, 193
CMYK: 8, 11, 24, 0


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

Open Sans and Gentium Book Basic are preferred typefaces for the UC brand. They are free and web safe and can be accessed at All campus machines should have these fonts installed.


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 used for lockups.

Secondary Assets

Our graphic elements and photography bring activity and dimension to our primary visual assets, further unleashing the UC brand.

The Monogram

The monogram graphic is a highly identifiable derivative of the symbol.

The monogram provides for a robust range of layering and depth.

UC's interlocking "U" and "C" 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. 

Examples of UC's "Kit of Parts" designs

Examples of UC's "Kit of Parts" designs


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.

A University of Cincinnati architecture student works on a building model
A design student at the University of Cincinnati works on a concept car

Other Marks of the University: the 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 Marketing + 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.

Other Marks of the University: the C-Paw and Athletics Logos

University of Cincinnati CPaw 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

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,


Our visual and verbal assets give us the tools we need to break through the clutter, represent the university consistently, and differentiate from competition. Combined, our brand toolkit will elevate and amplify the UC brand, while still allowing for flexibility and adaptability. Use the following demonstrations as a helpful reference. 

Simple is good, simple is effective, and over-designed can be counter-productive. The following examples are grouped by level of complexity in execution.